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  • An N95 mask in a multicooker with a towel.

    Electric cooker an easy, efficient way to sanitize N95 masks, study finds

    Owners of electric multicookers may be able to add another use to its list of functions, a new study suggests: sanitization of N95 respirator masks.

    The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign study found that 50 minutes of dry heat in an electric cooker, such as a rice cooker or Instant Pot, decontaminated N95 respirators inside and out while maintaining their filtration and fit. This could enable wearers to safely reuse limited supplies of the respirators, originally intended to be one-time-use items. 

  • Study links mobile device addiction to depression and anxiety

    Is cellphone use detrimental to mental health? A new study from the University of Illinois finds that high engagement with mobile technology is linked to anxiety and depression in college-age students.

  • The cats were fitted with radio collars and tracked over two years. Some of the collars also had devices that continuously monitored the cats' every move. This un-owned cat was one of those tracked.

    Researchers track the secret lives of feral and free-roaming house cats

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers (and some cat-owners) wanted to know: What do feral and free-roaming house cats do when they're out of sight? A two-year study offers a first look at the daily lives of these feline paupers and princes, whose territories overlap on the urban, suburban, rural and agricultural edges of many towns.

  • Researchers were surprised to find a rare, wild alligator snapping turtle in a creek in southern Illinois, the first found in the state since 1984.

    Team finds first wild alligator snapping turtle in Illinois since 1984

    Researchers report the first sighting in 30 years of a wild alligator snapping turtle in Illinois. The discovery may be a sign of hope for this state-endangered species, or the animal could be the last of its kind to have survived in Illinois without human intervention, the researchers say.

  • Erik Procko is a professor of biochemistry at Illinois.

    Decoy receptor neutralizes coronavirus in cell cultures

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, scientists and health care providers are seeking ways to keep the coronavirus from infecting tissues once they’re exposed. A new study suggests luring the virus with a decoy – an engineered, free-floating receptor protein – that binds the virus and blocks infection.

  • Study adds to evidence that viruses are alive

    A new analysis supports the hypothesis that viruses are living entities that share a long evolutionary history with cells, researchers report. The study offers the first reliable method for tracing viral evolution back to a time when neither viruses nor cells existed in the forms recognized today, the researchers say.    

  • Lung tissue from mice with pulmonary fibrosis that were infected with corisin-secreting bacteria showed signs of acute exacerbation and lung tissue death.

    Bacterial protein fragment kills lung cells in pulmonary fibrosis, study finds

    A bacterial protein fragment instigates lung tissue death in pulmonary fibrosis, a mysterious disease affecting millions of people worldwide, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Mie University in Japan.

  • An Asian tiger mosquito prepares to feed on a human hand.

    Asian tiger mosquito gains ground in Illinois

    Researchers report that the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, has become more abundant across Illinois in the past three decades. Its spread is problematic, as the mosquito can transmit diseases – like chikungunya or dengue fever – to humans.

  • Psychology professor Eva Pomerantz and her colleagues found that middle school students’ stereotypes about adolescence influence their own behavior.

    Study: Countering stereotypes about teens can change their behavior

    In many societies, teenagers are repeatedly told – by adults, peers and popular media – that teens are more likely than younger children to take risks, ignore their parents, skip schoolwork and succumb to bad influences. But stereotypes are not destiny, a new study of Chinese middle school students suggests.

  • New research reveals that the bacterium Sulfurihydrogenibium yellowstonense thrives in harsh environments with conditions like those expected on Mars.

    'Fettuccine' may be most obvious sign of life on Mars, researchers report

    A rover scanning the surface of Mars for evidence of life might want to check for rocks that look like pasta, researchers report in the journal Astrobiology.

    The bacterium that controls the formation of such rocks on Earth is ancient and thrives in harsh environments that are similar to conditions on Mars, said University of Illinois geology professor Bruce Fouke, who led the new, NASA-funded study.

  • 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.

  • University of Illinois graduate student Douglas A. Becker and his colleagues found that U.S. counties with more trees and shrubs tended to have lower Medicare costs.

    Counties with more trees and shrubs spend less on Medicare, study finds

    A new study finds that Medicare costs tend to be lower in counties with more forests and shrublands than in counties dominated by other types of land cover. The relationship persists even when accounting for economic, geographic or other factors that might independently influence health care costs, researchers report.

  • Professor Jason Pieper

    Antibiotic-resistant infections in pets: What now?

    Rates of antibiotic-resistant infections in companion animals are rising at an alarming rate. An Illinois veterinarian discusses what can be done about it.

  • According to a new study of bicycle enthusiasts, potatoes make a savory alternative to sweetened commercial gels used by athletes for a quick carbohydrate boost during exercise.

    Potato as effective as carbohydrate gels for boosting athletic performance, study finds

    Consuming potato puree during prolonged exercise works just as well as a commercial carbohydrate gel in sustaining blood glucose levels and boosting performance in trained athletes, scientists report.

  • The fossil was uncovered in the Araripe Basin, in northeast Brazil, in a limestone layer called the Crato Formation.

    Scientists find world’s oldest fossil mushroom

    Roughly 115 million years ago, when the ancient supercontinent Gondwana was breaking apart, a mushroom fell into a river and began an improbable journey. Its ultimate fate as a mineralized fossil preserved in limestone in northeast Brazil makes it a scientific wonder, scientists report in the journal PLOS ONE.

  • Fresh look at burials, mass graves, tells a new story of Cahokia

    A new study challenges earlier interpretations of an important burial mound at Cahokia, a pre-Columbian city in Illinois near present-day St. Louis. The study reveals that a central feature of the mound, a plot known as the “beaded burial,” is not a monument to male power, as was previously thought, but includes both males and females of high status.

  • A new study reconfigures the elephant family tree, placing the giant extinct elephant Palaeoloxodon antiquus closer to the African forest elephant, Loxodonta cyclotis, than to the Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, which was once thought to be its closest living relative.

    Genetic study shakes up the elephant family tree

    New research reveals that a species of giant elephant that lived 1.5 million to 100,000 years ago – ranging across Eurasia before it went extinct – is more closely related to today’s African forest elephant than the forest elephant is to its nearest living relative, the African savanna elephant.

  • Molecular model of ErSO, an anticancer compound

    New approach eradicates breast cancer in mice

    A new approach to treating breast cancer kills 95-100% of cancer cells in mouse models of human estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancers and their metastases in bone, brain, liver and lungs. The newly developed drug, called ErSO, quickly shrinks even large tumors to undetectable levels.

  • Chemistry professor Prashant Jain is one of eleven Illinois faculty members on the Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list, 2018.

    Eleven Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential

    Eleven faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2018 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list.

  • A new study suggests taking brief mental breaks improves performance on a prolonged task.

    Brief diversions vastly improve focus, researchers find

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - A new study in the journal Cognition overturns a decades-old theory about the nature of attention and demonstrates that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one's ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods.

  • University of Illinois plant biology professor Ray Ming and his colleagues will find the sex determining regions on the papaya's three sex chromosomes, then use that information to produce a true-breeding hermaphrodite plant.

    Researchers to perform sex change operation on papaya

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - The complicated sex life of the papaya is about to get even more interesting, thanks to a $3.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The NSF grant will fund basic research on the papaya sex chromosomes and will lead to the development of a papaya that produces only hermaphrodite offspring, an advance that will enhance papaya health while radically cutting papaya growers' production costs and their use of fertilizers and water.

  • The insect now known as Kaikaia gaga represents a new genus and species of treehopper.

    Grad student names new treehopper species after Lady Gaga

    According to Brendan Morris, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, treehoppers are the wackiest, most astonishing bugs most people have never heard of. They are morphological wonders, sporting bizarre protuberances that look like horns, gnarled branches, antlers, fruiting fungi, brightly colored flags or dead plant leaves.

    To draw attention to this group, Morris named a newly discovered treehopper species after Lady Gaga, a musical performer who has her own flamboyant, shape-shifting style.

  • Fred Kummerow, a professor of comparative biosciences at the University of Illinois, reports that LDL cholesterol results from a simple dietary deficiency.

    'Bad cholesterol' indicates an amino acid deficiency, researcher says

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad cholesterol" that doctors consider a sign of potential heart disease, is merely a marker of a diet lacking all of the essential amino acids, says University of Illinois comparative biosciences professor Fred Kummerow, 99, a longtime opponent of the medical establishment's war on cholesterol.

  • Jacob Allen, left, Jeffrey Woods and their colleagues found that exercise alters the microbial composition of the gut in potentially beneficial ways.

    Exercise changes gut microbial composition independent of diet, team reports

    Two studies – one in mice and the other in human subjects – offer the first definitive evidence that exercise alone can change the composition of microbes in the gut. The studies were designed to isolate exercise-induced changes from other factors – such as diet or antibiotic use – that might alter the intestinal microbiota.

  • Three U. of I. professors are recipients of Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowships this year.

    Three Illinois professors named Sloan Research Fellows

    Three Illinois scientists are among 126 recipients of the 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. According to the foundation, the awards “honor early career scholars whose achievements mark them as among the very best scientific minds working today.” Winners receive a two-year $65,000 fellowship to further their research.

  • U. of I. veterinary clinical medicine professors Ashley Mitek and Jim Lowe discuss the traits of viruses that can be transmitted between animals and humans.

    Veterinary infectious disease expert weighs in on coronavirus threat

    Influenza, SARS and COVID-19 are all zoonotic diseases, readily transmitted from animals to humans. The viruses that cause these diseases also share traits that allow them to quickly mutate, infect widely and spread around the world.

    In a new podcast, a veterinarian and expert in zoonotic diseases offers insights into the special characteristics of the new coronavirus that make it more like influenza and less like SARS or the virus that causes the especially lethal Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome.

  • Neuroscience graduate student Sara Schmidt and speech and hearing science professor Fatima Husain conducted a study that found that tinnitus patients have differences in the region of the brain called the precuneus, which cause the brain to stay more at attention and be less at rest.

    Ringing in ears keeps brain more at attention, less at rest, study finds

    Tinnitus, a chronic ringing or buzzing in the ears, has eluded medical treatment and scientific understanding. A new study by University of Illinois researchers found that chronic tinnitus is associated with changes in certain networks in the brain, and furthermore, those changes cause the brain to stay more at attention and less at rest.

  • Plant biology professor Donald Ort is one of seven U. of I. researchers on the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list for 2015.

    Seven Illinois researchers rank among the world’s most influential

    Seven University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list for 2015. The list includes “some of the world’s most influential scientific minds,” according to a statement from Thomson Reuters.

  • Aerial view of the U. of I. campus.

    U of I to lead two of seven new national artificial intelligence institutes

    The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture are announcing an investment of more than $140 million to establish seven artificial intelligence institutes in the U.S. Two of the seven will be led by teams at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

    The USDA-NIFA will fund the AI Institute for Future Agricultural Resilience, Management and Sustainability at the U. of I. Illinois computer science professor Vikram Adve will lead the AIFARMS Institute.

    The NSF will fund the AI Institute for Molecular Discovery, Synthetic Strategy and Manufacturing, also known as the Molecule Maker Lab Institute. Huimin Zhao, a U. of I. professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of chemistry, will lead this institute.

  • Pollinator habitat program spreads bad seeds with the good

    Weed scientists in at least two Midwestern states have been reporting for years that a conservation program meant to provide habitat for pollinating insects is sowing bad seeds – including seeds of the potentially devastating agricultural weed Palmer amaranth – along with the good. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois have traced the weed seeds to at least one source: pollinator habitat seed sold by a company in the Midwest.

  • U. of I. kinesiology and community health professor Neha Gothe explores the relationship between physical activity and cognitive aging.

    Experts review evidence yoga is good for the brain

    Scientists have known for decades that aerobic exercise strengthens the brain and contributes to the growth of new neurons, but few studies have examined how yoga affects the brain. A review of the science finds evidence that yoga enhances many of the same brain structures and functions that benefit from aerobic exercise.

  • From left, nutritional sciences graduate student Joseph Beals, kinesiology and community health professor Nicholas Burd, kinesiology graduate student Sarah Skinner and their colleagues found that eating whole eggs after resistance exercise boosted muscle building and repair significantly more than eating egg whites with an equivalent amount of protein.

    Whole eggs better for muscle building and repair than egg whites, researchers find

    People who consume 18 grams of protein from whole eggs or from egg whites after engaging in resistance exercise differ dramatically in how their muscles build protein, a process called protein synthesis, during the post-workout period, researchers report in a new study. Specifically, the post-workout muscle-building response in those eating whole eggs is 40 percent greater than in those consuming an equivalent amount of protein from egg whites, the team found.

  • Former University of Illinois graduate student Neha Gothe and colleagues found that 20 minutes of yoga significantly improved participants' reaction time and accuracy in tests of cognitive function. Gothe is now a professor of kinesiology at Wayne State University.

    A 20-minute bout of yoga stimulates brain function immediately after

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Researchers report that a single, 20-minute session of Hatha yoga significantly improved participants' speed and accuracy on tests of working memory and inhibitory control, two measures of brain function associated with the ability to maintain focus and take in, retain and use new information. Participants performed significantly better immediately after the yoga practice than after moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for the same amount of time.

  • Top and bottom views of a microfluidic cartridge

    Study: Portable, point-of-care COVID-19 test could bypass the lab

    In a new study, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign researchers have demonstrated a prototype of a rapid COVID-19 molecular test and a simple-to-use, portable instrument for reading the results with a smartphone in 30 minutes, which could enable point-of-care diagnosis without needing to send samples to a lab.

  • The small sensor connects to an embeddable wireless transmitter that lies on top of the skull.

    Tiny electronic implants monitor brain injury, then melt away

    A new class of small, thin electronic sensors can monitor temperature and pressure within the skull – crucial health parameters after a brain injury or surgery – then melt away when they are no longer needed, eliminating the need for additional surgery to remove the monitors and reducing the risk of infection and hemorrhage.

  • People with cystic fibrosis are missing a protein in the lining of the lung that releases bicarbonate, a key infection-fighting agent. The drug amphotericin can form channels to release bicarbonate in lung tissue, restoring the airway surface liquid’s antibiotic properties.

    Potential new cystic fibrosis treatment uses 'molecular prosthetic' for missing lung protein

    An approved drug normally used to treat fungal infections could also do the job of a protein channel that is missing or defective in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis, operating as a prosthesis on the molecular scale, says new research from the University of Illinois and the University of Iowa.

    Cystic fibrosis is a lifelong disease that makes patients vulnerable to lung infections. There are treatments for some but not all patients, and there is no cure. The drug restored infection-fighting properties in lung tissue donated by human patients as well as in pigs with cystic fibrosis. It has potential to become the first treatment to address all types of cystic fibrosis, regardless of the genetic mutation that causes the protein deficiency.

  • Plant biology professor Lisa Ainsworth is one of eight Illinois faculty members on the Clarivate Analytics / Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list, 2016.

    Eight Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential

    Eight University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters / Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list for 2016. The list identifies scientists “whose research has had significant global impact within their respective fields of study."

  • Illinois Natural History Survey conservation biologist Mark Davis and his colleagues found declines in genetic diversity in the remaining populations of greater prairie chickens in Illinois.

    Greater prairie chickens cannot persist in Illinois without help, researchers report

    An iconic bird whose booming mating calls once reverberated across “the Prairie State” can survive in Illinois, but only with the help of periodic human interventions, researchers report.

  • University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An found that people who increased their consumption of plain water by 1 percent decreased the number of calories they consumed, as well as the amounts of sugar, sodium, fat and cholesterol they took in daily. The findings were consistent across race/ethnicity, income levels and body weight status, according to the study, published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

    Drinking more water associated with numerous dietary benefits, study finds

    In a new study of more than 18,300 U.S. adults, U. of I. researcher Ruopeng An found the majority of people who increased their consumption of plain water reduced their total daily calorie intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.

  • American bittersweet, left, has red berries encased in orange capsules, while oriental bittersweet, right, has red berries encased in bright yellow capsules.

    Many Midwestern retailers sell mislabeled invasive vines

    Gardeners hoping to celebrate the beauty of American bittersweet – a native vine that produces orange berries in the fall and is used for wreaths – may be unwittingly buying an invasive bittersweet instead. That’s because many Midwestern retailers are selling oriental bittersweet with labels misidentifying it as the native plant, researchers report. These sales are occurring in stores and online.

  • Brain activity reflects differences in types of anxiety

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - All anxiety is not created equal, and a research team at the University of Illinois now has the data to prove it. The team has found the most compelling evidence yet of differing patterns of brain activity associated with each of two types of anxiety: anxious apprehension (verbal rumination, worry) and anxious arousal (intense fear, panic, or both).

  • 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.

  • Illinois researchers found that the shape of a tumor may play a role in how cancer cells become primed to spread. From left: materials science and engineering professor Kristopher Kilian, graduate student Junmin Lee and veterinary medicine professor Timothy Fan.

    Shape of tumor may affect whether cells can metastasize

    Only a few cells in a cancerous tumor are able to break away and spread to other parts of the body, but the curve along the edge of the tumor may play a large role in activating these tumor-seeding cells, according to a new University of Illinois study.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.