blog navigation

AgricultureArtsBehind the ScenesBusinessEducationEngineeringHealthHumanitiesLawLife SciencesPhysical SciencesSocial SciencesVeterinary Medicine

blog posts

  • Group portrait of researchers Wawrzyniec Dobrucki, Zhongmin Zhu, Viktor Gruev, Zuodong Liang, Steven Blair and Shuming Nie.

    Mantis shrimp-inspired camera provides second opinion during cancer surgery

    Some of the world’s greatest innovations, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machine, owe their strength and elegance to natural design. Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have returned their gaze to the natural world to develop a camera inspired by the mantis shrimp that can visualize cancer cells during surgery.

  • Photo of Michael LeRoy, an expert in labor law and labor relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

    Paper: Work-refusal safety laws serve employees poorly during pandemic

    Current work-refusal laws are out-of-step with modern workplaces and provide meager benefits to employees who decline to work when faced with risks involving chemicals, radiation and other microscopic or invisible hazards such as COVID-19, says research from Michael LeRoy, a professor of labor and employment relations at Illinois.

  • Portrait of researchers.

    Previously unrecognized tsunami hazard identified in coastal cities

    A new study found overlooked tsunami hazards related to undersea, near-shore strike-slip faults, especially for coastal cities adjacent to faults that traverse inland bays. Several areas around the world may fall into this category, including the San Francisco Bay area, Izmit Bay in Turkey and the Gulf of Al-Aqaba in Egypt.

  • Image of a board game with cards, instruction manual and dice

    Anti-racist framework created by Illinois art professor helps identify racialized design

    The Racism Untaught framework is used in the classroom and in workshops for universities and corporations to identify design that perpetuates racism.

  • Researcher sits on a desk with readouts on computer monitors surrounding him and a magnetic resonance imaging device in the background.

    Team builds better tool for assessing infant brain health

    Researchers have created a new, open-access tool that allows doctors and scientists to evaluate infant brain health by assessing the concentration of various chemical markers, called metabolites, in the brain. The tool compiled data from 140 infants to determine normal ranges for these metabolites.

  • A portrait of researcher Christopher Tessum

    People of color hardest hit by air pollution from nearly all sources

    Various studies show that people of color are disproportionately exposed to air pollution in the United States. However, it was unclear whether this unequal exposure is due mainly to a few types of emission sources or whether the causes are more systemic. A new study that models peoples’ exposure to air pollution – resolved by race-ethnicity and income level – shows that exposure disparities among people of color and white people are driven by nearly all, rather than only a few, emission source types.

  • Headshots of Bin Jiang, Yi Lu and William Sullivan

    Study finds green spaces linked to lower racial disparity in COVID-19 infection rates

    A new study is the first to examine the relationship between the supply of green spaces and reduced racial disparity in infectious disease rates.

  • Photo of Gillen D'Arcy Wood

    Illinois English professor awarded Carnegie Fellowship

    Gillen D’Arcy Wood, whose work is in environmental humanities, has been awarded a 2021 Carnegie Fellowship.

  • Photo of U. of I. political science professor Gisela Sin.

    Is it time to get rid of the filibuster in the US Senate?

    Although it’s been weakened over the years, the mere threat of a legislative filibuster in the U.S. Senate still provides swing-vote senators with a number of tactical advantages in the form of leverage, bargaining power and media attention, said U. of I. political science professor Gisela Sin.

  • Photo of rusty patched bumble bee on a bee balm flower.

    Spring forest flowers likely a key to bumble bee survival, Illinois study finds

    Losses of springtime flowers in wooded landscapes likely undermine bumble bee health and survival, researchers report.

  • 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.

  • Portrait of the researcher.

    Geographies of death: Study maps COVID-19 health disparities in Greater Santiago

    People up to age 40 living in economically depressed municipalities in the Greater Santiago, Chile, metropolitan area were three times more likely to die as a result of the infection than their counterparts in wealthier areas, researchers report in the journal Science.

  • 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.

  • Portrait of lead author, Junghwan Kim

    COVID-19 mobility restrictions effective for short duration, study finds

    Attempts at restricting people’s mobility to control the spread of COVID-19 may be effective only for a short period, researchers said. A new study examines people’s mobility for seven months during the pandemic in the United States using publicly available, anonymized mobile phone data.

  • Young woman sits on a fallen tree in the woods.

    Pondering a university's ecological impact

    Earth Day has one science writer pondering how much research conducted at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has direct ecological implications.

  • Sociology professor Ilana Redstone with her arms folded, leaning against a wall outdoors

    How are social media changing higher education?

    Fear of reprisals from outraged parties on social media and unspoken rules about acceptable discourse on college campuses constrain what faculty members teach, research and discuss, says sociology professor Ilana Redstone.

  • An upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case will be a major test of the First Amendment rights of K-12 public school students as well as the authority of school administrators to discipline students for cyberbullying, according to Benjamin Holden, a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign journalism professor and media law scholar who studies free speech issues.

    Expert: Public school speech case is potential watershed moment for cyberbullying

    An upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case will be a major test of the First Amendment rights of K-12 public school students as well as the authority of school administrators to discipline students for cyberbullying, according to Benjamin Holden, a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign journalism professor and media law scholar who studies free speech issues.

  • Female student in classroom with face covering taking notes.

    K-12 Shield Playbook offers guidance for reopening schools amid ongoing pandemic

    A new resource is available to help guide teachers and school administrators as they reopen schools amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, assembled by researchers and experts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The K-12 Shield Playbook is based on the SHIELD Illinois program used to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic at the university.

  • Portrait of professor Gary Parker at the Sangamon River in Mahomet, Illinois.

    Channel migration plays leading role in river network evolution, study finds

    Satellite views of Earth’s major river systems reveal their familiar treelike drainage patterns. The pattern – called dendritic – and its prevalence suggests that it may be the optimal state in which rivers exist. Challenged by the knowledge that numerical models of drainage evolution have yet to substantiate this assumption, researchers are now thinking of rivers as existing in a persistent reorganizational state instead of being in a set, stable configuration. Understanding this has implications for land use and infrastructure management decisions.

  • Headshots of Retika Adhikari Desai, Juliet Larkin-Gilmore and Bobby Smith II

    Three Illinois researchers receive ACLS Fellowships

    Bobby Smith II, a professor of African American studies; Retika Adhikari Desai, a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Asian American Studies; and Juliet Larkin-Gilmore, a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in American Indian Studies, are 2021 ACLS Fellows.

  • University of Illinois sociology head and professor Tim Liao

    Social comparisons with similar people determine income's effect on happiness

    It’s the ability to compare ourselves with people of similar backgrounds who earn more and others who earn less that determines our level of happiness in states that have high wealth inequality, U. of I. sociologist Tim Liao found.

  • Mina Raj smiles at the camera, wearing a tan blazer over a blue top.

    Young adults may provide care for older relatives much more frequently than thought

    Young adults and teens may provide care for adult relatives much more often than previously thought, according to a new study, though they worry about detriments to educational or career goals and would like more training and support. 

  • Headshot of Kevin Mumford

    Illinois history professor awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

    History professor Kevin Mumford has been awarded a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship. Mumford studies race, politics and sexuality in America.

  • Portrait of the researchers outside. Daniel Clark is holding a nest and egg.

    Team cracks eggs for science

    Avian brood parasites lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species, forcing the hosts to do the hard work of raising the unrelated young. A team of scientists wanted to simulate the task of piercing an egg – a tactic that only a minority of host birds use to help grasp and eject the foreign eggs. Published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, the study offers insight into some of the physical challenges the discriminating host birds face.

  • Photo of an infant in the IKIDS program seated on her mother’s lap. The infant has a sticker on her forehead that allows an eye-tracking instrument to orient to her eyes.

    Study links prenatal phthalate exposure to altered information processing in infants

    Researchers have found evidence linking pregnant women’s exposure to phthalates to altered cognitive outcomes in their infants.

  • Portrait of postdoctoral researcher Pengcheng Sun

    New 3D microbatteries stand up to industry standard thin-film counterparts

    The thin-film lithium-ion batteries used in microdevices such as portable and medical electronics may supply a good amount of power relative to their mass, but do not provide enough power for many devices due to their limited size. Researchers have introduced a fabrication process that builds microbatteries with thick, 3D electrodes using lithography and electrodeposition – and seals each unit in a gel electrolyte-filled package. The new prototype shows the highest peak power density of any reported microbatteries, the researchers said.

  • An artist’s conception shows the brilliant light of two quasars residing in the cores of galaxies in the chaotic process of merging. The gravitational tug-of-war between the two galaxies stretches them, forming long tidal tails and igniting a firestorm of star birth.

    Hubble Space Telescope spots double quasars in merging galaxies

    NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is seeing double, uncovering two very close pairs of quasars that existed 10 billion years ago. The objects are close together because astronomers believe they resided in a pair of merging galaxies.

  • Image of Jupiter String Quartet performing on stage with their bows in the air.

    Illinois composer's new work, performed by the Jupiter String Quartet, depicts pandemic experience

    Illinois music professor Stephen Andrew Taylor writes music that represents scientific data, including some of the coronavirus proteins.

  • Photo of sea lions gathered on the breeding beaches of one of the Channel Islands

    Connecting a virus to cancer – in sea lions

    I distinctly remember the first day I saw the images proving our hypothesis about the connection between a herpesvirus and urogenital cancer in wild California sea lions. Our research team was the first to use a revolutionary technique to probe preserved cancerous tissue from marine mammals as we looked for signals of specific viral genes.

    And we found them: Wherever there was tumor, there also was a strong signal of multiple cancer-promoting viral genes, called oncogenes. There were no viral genes in the adjacent cancer-free tissue. This meant that the virus clearly played a role in cancer development and was not merely a bystander in the animals’ reproductive tracts.

  • Communication professor JungHwan Yang standing in front of marble columns with his arms folded across his chest.

    Partisan media sites may not sway opinions, but erode trust in mainstream press

    A study of 1,037 internet users during the 2018-19 U.S. midterm election found that partisan media don't change readers’ politics but can undermine their trust in the mainstream press.

  • Book cover for "What Though the Field Be Lost"

    Illinois poet's new work uses Gettysburg battlefield to reflect on race, national identity

    English professor Christopher Kempf examines how history gets remembered and reproduced through art.

  • A new paper co-written by business professors Ujjal Kumar Mukherjee and Sridhar Seshadri shows that rapid bulk-testing for COVID-19 along with other standard mitigation measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing were the keys to successfully reopening college campuses during the pandemic.

    Study: Rapid bulk-testing for COVID-19 key to reopening universities

    A new paper co-written by business professors Ujjal Kumar Mukherjee and Sridhar Seshadri shows that rapid bulk-testing for COVID-19 along with other standard mitigation measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing were the keys to successfully reopening college campuses during the pandemic.

  • Group portrait of researchers Manuel Hernandez, Rachneet Kaur and Richard Sowers.

    Machine learning helps spot gait problems in individuals with multiple sclerosis

    Monitoring the progression of multiple sclerosis-related gait issues can be challenging in adults over 50 years old, requiring a clinician to differentiate between problems related to MS and other age-related issues. To address this problem, researchers are integrating gait data and machine learning to advance the tools used to monitor and predict disease progression.

  • Group photo of Beckman Institute director Jeffrey Moore, left, postdoctoral researcher Hai Qian and materials science and engineering head Nancy Sottos

    Fast-acting, color-changing molecular probe senses when a material is about to fail

    Materials that contain special polymer molecules may someday be able to warn us when they are about to fail, researchers said. Engineers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have improved their previously developed force-sensitive molecules, called mechanophores, to produce reversible, rapid and vibrant color change when a force is applied.

  • Information sciences professor J. Stephen Downie, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts associate director for marketing Maureen Reagan and information sciences professor Michael Twidale.

    Illinois researchers to digitally preserve history of live musical performances, including Krannert Center events

    The digital scholarship project involving University of Illinois and U.K. researchers will work with materials from Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

  • A new report from labor and employment relations professors Richard A. Benton, right, and Eunmi Mun shows women and nonwhite minorities remain largely underrepresented as corporate board members in the state of Illinois relative to the state’s demographics and their respective industries, but also highlights several promising policies and practices that firms can adopt to help reduce the disparity.

    Women, minority representation on Illinois corporate boards lags, study says

    A new report from labor and employment relations professors Richard A. Benton and Eunmi Mun shows women and nonwhite minorities remain largely underrepresented as corporate board members in the state of Illinois relative to the state’s demographics and their respective industries, but also highlights several promising policies and practices that firms can adopt to help reduce the disparity.

  • Photo of researchers standing in an exercise laboratory.

    More protein doesn't mean more strength in resistance-trained middle-aged adults

    A 10-week muscle-building and dietary program involving 50 middle-aged adults found no evidence that eating a high-protein diet increased strength or muscle mass more than consuming a moderate amount of protein while training. The intervention involved a standard strength-training protocol with sessions three times per week. None of the participants had previous weightlifting experience.

  • Mariam Bonyadi Camacho stands with arms crossed.

    How does COVID-19 affect the heart?

    While many think of COVID-19 as primarily a respiratory disease, its effects on the heart contribute to nearly 40% of deaths – and can strike even healthy children and athletes, says Mariam Bonyadi Camacho, a student in the medical scholars program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Camacho co-wrote a recent report on the coronavirus’ cardiac effects, both short- and long-term. She discussed the risks to heart health and possible treatments in an interview.

     

  • A student wearing a mask gives a thumbs-up signal as a nurse applies a bandage to his arm.

    Vaccine study now open for student enrollment

    Students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 can enroll in a study to help understand the effectiveness of vaccines in reducing the spread of the coronavirus. Participants will be paid and could receive the vaccine as soon as April 1.

  • 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.

  • Image of book cover for “Tree of Pearls: The Extraordinary Architectural Patronage of the 13th-Century Egyptian Slave-Queen Shajar al-Durr,” showing a closup of mosaic tile.

    Biography of Egyptian queen shows her influence on Cairo's architecture

    Book uses female sultan’s story to examine the cultural history of medieval-era Cairo and the influence of women in the Islamic world.

  • A new book from a team of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign legal scholars considers the unlikely intersection of environmental law and psychology. Arden Rowell, right, and Kenworthey Bilz are co-authors of “The Psychology of Environmental Law,” which explores and analyzes the theoretical and practical payoffs of pollution control, ecosystem management, and climate change law and policy when psychological insights are considered.

    New book studies intersection of psychology, environmental law

    A new book from a team of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign legal scholars considers the unlikely intersection of environmental law and psychology. Arden Rowell, right, and Kenworthey Bilz are co-authors of “The Psychology of Environmental Law,” which explores and analyzes the theoretical and practical payoffs of pollution control, ecosystem management, and climate change law and policy when psychological insights are considered.

  • Professor Brian Cunningham

    Microscope that detects individual viruses could power rapid diagnostics

    A fast, low-cost technique to see and count viruses or proteins from a sample in real time, without any chemicals or dyes, could underpin a new class of devices for rapid diagnostics and viral load monitoring, including HIV and the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Headshots of Gabriel Solis and Glen Worthey

    Illinois researchers awarded grants through new NEH-UK joint digital scholarship program

    The projects aim to advance digital scholarship and find new ways of sharing culture.

  • Camera-trap closeup of a puma walking through a dark forest.

    Study: Black bears are eating pumas' lunch

    A camera-trap study in the Mendocino National Forest in Northern California reveals that black bears are adept at finding and stealing the remains of adult deer killed by pumas. This “kleptoparasitism” by bears, as scientists call it, reduces the calories pumas consume in seasons when the bears are most active. Perhaps in response to this shortage, the pumas hunt more often and eat more small game when the bears are not in hibernation.

  • Photo of three researchers standing in a field of sorghum.

    Not just CO2: Rising temperatures also alter photosynthesis in a changing climate

    A new review explores how increasing temperatures influence plant growth and viability despite the higher concentrations of atmospheric CO2.

  • A group photo of Illinois researchers, standing outdoors and socially distanced.

    'Hunker down' stress genes boosted in women who live in violent neighborhoods

    The chronic stress of living in neighborhoods with high rates of violence and poverty alters gene activity in immune cells, according to a new study of low-income single Black mothers on the South Side of Chicago.  

    The changes in stress-related gene expression reflect the body’s “hunker down” response to long-term threat. This has implications for health outcomes in communities of color and other marginalized populations, said researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and collaborators.

  • New research co-written by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign experts Tatyana Deryugina and Benjamin M. Marx finds that charitable giving in the aftermath of catastrophic tornadoes doesn’t necessarily crowd out donations to other altruistic causes.

    Paper: Personal charitable donation budgets flexible in aftermath of deadly storms

    New research co-written by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign professors Tatyana Deryugina and Benjamin M. Marx finds that people’s “altruism budget” for charitable giving is flexible and can expand.

  • Portrait of David Strauser

    Study compares discrimination claims of younger and older Americans with cancer

    Researchers assessed the employment discrimination claims made by younger and older American adults with cancer and found substantial differences in the nature – and outcomes – of their claims.

  • U. of I. graduate student Nathan Tanner standing outdoors next to a building's windows on the university campus

    'Whiteness' undermines efforts to address systemic racism in public education

    Few educational leaders emerge from college and professional development programs fully prepared to address the systemic racism they encounter in public education, according to a study by U. of I. scholar Nathan Tanner.