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  • 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.

  • Spinal cord gives bio-bots walking rhythm

    Miniature biological robots are making greater strides than ever, thanks to the spinal cord directing their steps.

  • Virus-infected honey bees more likely to gain entrance to healthy hives

    Honey bees that guard hive entrances are twice as likely to allow in trespassers from other hives if the intruders are infected with the Israeli acute paralysis virus, a deadly pathogen of bees, researchers report.

    Their new study, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, strongly suggests that IAPV infection alters honey bees’ behavior and physiology in ways that boost the virus’s ability to spread, the researchers say.

  • Illinois computer scientist, physicist elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign computer science professor Sarita V. Adve and physics professor Philip W. Phillips have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest honor societies in the nation.

  • Holistic approach best for tackling nonmedical drug use, study finds

    Health practitioners are constantly developing new ways to help those with drug and alcohol addictions wean themselves from their substance of choice. Most such programs have limited success, however. A new study finds that interventions that take a multidimensional approach – tackling the biological, social, environmental and mental health obstacles to overcome while also addressing a person’s substance use – work best for those hoping to stop using drugs.

  • Are bats to blame for the coronavirus crisis?

    Horseshoe bats in China are a natural wildlife reservoir of SARS-like coronaviruses. Some health experts think wildlife markets – specifically in Wuhan, China – led to the spillover of the new coronavirus into human populations. Though not confirmed, the hypothesis has given bats around the world a bad rap, and public fears of exposure to bats are on the rise. Illinois Natural History Survey wildlife biologist Tara Hohoff, the project coordinator of the Illinois Bat Conservation Program, spoke to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about bat biology and conservation, and the flying mammals’ role in human health.

  • Inexpensive, portable detector identifies pathogens in minutes

    Most viral test kits rely on labor- and time-intensive laboratory preparation and analysis techniques; for example, tests for the novel coronavirus can take days to detect the virus from nasal swabs. Now, researchers have demonstrated an inexpensive yet sensitive smartphone-based testing device for viral and bacterial pathogens that takes about 30 minutes to complete. The roughly $50 smartphone accessory could reduce the pressure on testing laboratories during a pandemic such as COVID-19.

  • What's new with the plague? More than you might think

    Pandemics of the past are getting new attention, among them the plague of the 14th century. Known as the Black Death, it was medieval, European, bubonic and spread by rats – at least that’s what most of us think. Much of that needs adjustment, however, in large part due to discoveries of the past decade, says Carol Symes, a professor of medieval history at Illinois.

  • Illinois professor examines storytelling artistry of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    Illinois professor of Slavic languages and literatures Richard Tempest has written a new book about the literary artistry of Russian novelist and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

  • Dehydrating plant proteins at the speed of sound

    Food scientists at the University of Illinois devised an energy-efficient, cost-effective method for drying plant proteins using high-frequency ultrasound.

  • What drives us to blame the marginalized for epidemics?

    There’s a long history of scapegoating marginalized people in epidemics, and of seeing difference in the way those of different races respond to disease, says Rana Hogarth, a U. of I. professor who studies the history of both medicine and race, and the connections between.

  • Study: Cultural variables play important role in perceptions of status, power

    Cultural variables play an important role in perceptions of status and power in business, according to research co-written by Carlos Torelli, a professor of business administration and the James F. Towey Faculty Fellow at the Gies College of Busines at Illinois.

  • Loss of senses of smell, taste could identify COVID-19 carriers

    M. Yanina Pepino of the U. of I. is on a global team of experts investigating the abrupt loss of the senses of smell and taste with COVID-19 infection.

     

     

  • How can researchers predict social behavior during pandemics to enhance public health policies?

    Eunice E. Santos, the dean of the School of Information Sciences, studies how computational models can help explain social behaviors and the factors that influence decision-making during pandemics.

  • Study reveals unique physical, chemical properties of cicada wings

    Biological structures sometimes have unique features that engineers would like to copy. For example, many types of insect wings shed water, kill microbes, reflect light in unusual ways and are self-cleaning. While researchers have dissected the physical characteristics that likely contribute to such traits, a new study reveals that the chemical compounds that coat cicada wings also contribute to their ability to repel water and kill microbes.

  • Many responders in emotional distress one year after hurricane in Puerto Rico, study finds

    Responders who assist people after disasters are at increased risk of mental health problems, and interventions are needed to support them, a study found.

  • Two Illinois professors named Guggenheim Fellows

    Illinois professors Janice N. Harrington, English, and David Sepkoski, history, received 2020 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships.

  • New study shows how oxygen transfer is altered in diseased lung tissue

    A multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed tiny sensors that measure oxygen transport in bovine lung tissue. The study – which establishes a new framework for observing the elusive connection between lung membranes, oxygen flow and related disease – is published in the journal Nature Communications.

  • Rohit Bhargava: My path to Illinois

    I grew up in Jaipur, India, a city that is well-known for its architecture. My father is an architect, and I grew up helping him, looking at plans and making blueprints. I was always interested in building things.

  • Fungus application thwarts major soybean pest, study finds

    The soybean cyst nematode sucks the nutrients out of soybean roots, causing more than $1 billion in soybean yield losses in the U.S. each year. A new study finds that one type of fungi can cut the nematodes’ reproductive success by more than half.

  • What messages best influence public health behavior?

    Dolores Albarracín, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has spent much of her career studying how people respond to public health messages asking them to change their behavior. She speaks about the special challenges of the present moment.

  • How should we talk about our relative risk for COVID-19?

    A key message coming through about COVID-19 is that older folks face much greater danger, but what does that suggest to the young? Cabral Bigman, a communication professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, talks about the challenge of “social comparison frames” in an epidemic.

  • Will Schneider: My path to Illinois

    Social work professor Will Schneider examines trends in child maltreatment and suggests that interventions for child neglect overlook the most likely cause.

  • How to foster children’s learning while sheltering at home

    Parents sheltering at home with their kids sometimes struggle to foster their children’s continued engagement with learning. Eva Pomerantz, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studies the factors that promote children’s motivation and achievement at school. She spoke to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about her research on the topic and her own efforts to keep her children academically engaged while at home.

  • Patrick Earl Hammie: My path to Illinois

    Patrick Earl Hammie is a professor of painting and sculpture whose work explores the body in visual culture, black experiences, cultural identity and family.

  • For stroke survivors, light physical activity linked to better daily function

    Stroke survivors who engage in a lot of light physical activity – taking leisurely walks or attending to nonstrenuous household chores, for example – also report fewer physical limitations than their more sedentary peers, new research shows.

  • Paper: Timely preventative efforts better than mitigation during early stages of outbreak

    Epidemics such as COVID-19 are characterized by resource constraints due to sudden and unprecedented demand shocks for health care facilities and services, making the initial prevention of disease spread through testing, identification and quarantine activities more important than mitigation or curative efforts, according to research co-written by Ujjal Kumar Mukherjee, a professor of business administration at the Gies College of Business at Illinois who studies innovation in health care.

  • Physical force alone spurs gene expression, study reveals

    Cells will ramp up gene expression in response to physical forces alone, a new study finds. Gene activation, the first step of protein production, starts less than one millisecond after a cell is stretched – hundreds of times faster than chemical signals can travel, the researchers report.

  • Is it safe to fly during the coronavirus pandemic?

    Sheldon H. Jacobson discusses the risks of air travel during the pandemic and what preventive measures airports and passengers can take.

  • Can relationships flourish through tech alone?

    Technology can be our friend in sustaining relationships now lacking in face time due to COVID-19, but it depends on how we use it, says John Caughlin, a communication professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • When warblers warn of cowbirds, blackbirds get the message

    This is the story of three bird species and how they interact. The brown-headed cowbird plays the role of outlaw: It lays its eggs in other birds’ nests and lets them raise its young – often at the expense of the host’s nestlings. To combat this threat, yellow warblers have developed a special “seet” call that means, “Look out! Cowbird!”

    In a new study, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign report that red-winged blackbirds respond to the seet call as if they know what it means.

  • Teresa Cardador: My path to Illinois

    The concept of “meaningful work” isn’t something that’s found or discovered. It’s created over time through people and organizations with similar values to create meaning over time, said U. of I. labor expert Teresa Cardador in a presentation to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

  • Survey of US academic libraries documents COVID-19 pandemic responses

    An online survey is tracking the responses of academic libraries to the COVID-19 pandemic and providing data on their actions in real time.

  • Girish Chowdhary: My path to Illinois

    I was born in Mumbai, India, to parents who worked full-time. My mother, who was the first woman to work as an officer in the Maharashtra Civil Services, came in at a time when parental leave did not exist. Because of this, I spent my early years with my grandparents in Kumta, India. My grandfather was a university physics professor and instilled in me an interest and respect for science – particularly astrophysics.

  • What challenges are professors and college students facing with the migration of classes online?

    School of Information Sciences instructor Melissa Wong offers suggestions for how professors and college students can adapt to online learning.

  • What protections do no-show workers have during a pandemic?

    The U.S. government can take measures to ensure that essential workers such as health care workers report to their jobs, but forced labor isn’t allowed under the Constitution, says U. of I. labor expert Michael LeRoy.

  • Computational human cell reveals new insight on genetic information processing

    Researchers have developed the first computational model of a human cell and simulated its behavior for 15 minutes – the longest time achieved for a biological system of this complexity. In a new study, simulations reveal the effects of spatial organization within cells on some of the genetic processes that control the regulation and development of human traits and some human diseases.

  • Could the social distancing of COVID-19 revolutionize online learning and higher education?

    Professors Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope, who teach only online courses and develop learning technologies, discuss the potential impact of social distancing on postsecondary distance learning.

  • 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.

  • Crumpled graphene makes ultra-sensitive cancer DNA detector

    Graphene-based biosensors could usher in an era of liquid biopsy, detecting DNA cancer markers circulating in a patient’s blood or serum. But current designs need a lot of DNA. In a new study, crumpling graphene makes it more than ten thousand times more sensitive to DNA by creating electrical “hot spots,” researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found.

  • How can parents help children cope with COVID-19 disruptions?

    Professor of human development and family studies Kelly Tu discusses ways parents can help children cope with the changes and uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Esther Ngumbi: My path to Illinois

    I grew up on the Kenyan coast, in a town called Mabafweni, in Kwale County. My parents were teachers, but their income was not enough to sustain us and send us to school. So, we also farmed. I got up early every day to work on the farm before school.

    When I was a young person working on my family farm, I saw every year that halfway through the growing season, insects would come and take away much of our food. And then drought would come and take much of what was left. This had a big influence on me.

  • Emotions play key role on social media during outbreaks, study suggests

    The role of social media in motivating people to assess their risk and alter their behavior in a disease outbreak is little-understood, but a recently published study of South Koreans during a 2015 MERS outbreak – led by Sang-Hwa Oh at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – suggests emotions might play a key part.

  • Smoking prevalent among pregnant women enrolled in Illinois WIC program, study finds

    Despite public-awareness campaigns about the potential health risks of smoking while pregnant, more than 15% of low-income women in Illinois may be lighting up anyway, a new study suggests.

  • Two hormones drive anemonefish fathering, aggression

    Two brain-signaling molecules control how anemonefish dads care for their young and respond to nest intruders, researchers report in a new study. Because there are many similarities in brain structure between fish and humans, the findings offer insight into the fundamental nature of parental care, the scientists say.

  • 2020 Roger Ebert’s Film Festival canceled

    This year’s Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, or “Ebertfest,” has been canceled due to concerns related to the coronavirus.

  • What do Russians hope to gain from U.S. elections interference?

    Russia is trying to sow disruption and division around the U.S. presidential election in order to promote its own geopolitical interests.

  • Is the US ready for the 2020 census? And what's at stake for Illinois?

    A demographer who’s followed the 2020 census praises outreach and education efforts, but also raises concerns about budget delays and testing – and notes that though the count in Illinois can be challenging, it needs to be accurate to avoid losing “a lot of green” in the form of federal dollars.

  • 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.

  • Does lack of paid sick time make US susceptible to global health crisis?

    Lack of paid sick time makes the U.S. acutely susceptible to a global health crises like COVID-19, and is part of the larger problem of tying health care to employment, says U. of I. labor expert Robert Bruno.