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  • Kinesiology graduate student Brett Burrows standing outdoors wearing a dark shirt

    Culturally adapted exercise program helps Hispanic older adults be more active

    A study of 565 Hispanic older adults found that a culturally adapted exercise program improved physical functioning among a population who believe that being sedentary and in poor health is inevitable in later life.

  • Professor Erik Nelson and graduate student Liqian Ma.

    Cholesterol metabolite causes immune system to attack T cells instead of breast cancer, study finds

    In breast cancer tumors, a molecule produced when the body breaks down cholesterol hijacks the myeloid immune cells that normally arm T cells to fight cancer, a new study in mice found. Instead, the hijacked myeloid cells disarm the T cells and even tell them to self-destruct.

  • Portrait of Jessica Brinkworth, standing facing the camera and smiling. She is outdoors on the U. of I. campus.

    Cell-autonomous immunity shaped human evolution

    Every human cell harbors its own defenses against microbial invaders, relying on strategies that date back to some of the earliest events in the history of life. Understanding this “cell-autonomous immunity” is essential to understanding human evolution and human medicine, researchers report.

  • 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.

  • Portrait of Thomas O'Rourke. He is wearing a dark red shirt and smiling.

    Will a coronavirus vaccine be a cure-all?

    Global health authorities are frantically pursuing a vaccine against the novel coronavirus in the hope that it will allow everyone to get back to a pre-COVID-19 reality ASAP. Thomas O’Rourke, a professor emeritus of community health, says those expectations are probably overblown.

  • Illinois validates saliva-based test for COVID-19

    The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign is now performing its new rapid, saliva-based COVID-19 test on all students, faculty members and staff.

  • Photo of Ian Brooks, the director of the Center for Health Informatics

    Where does the U.S. withdrawal leave the World Health Organization?

    A global response, such as that organized by the World Health Organization, is needed to control the COVID-19 pandemic, says Ian Brooks, a research scientist whose focus is global health informatics.

  • Dean of the Grainger College of Engineering Rashid Bashir.

    Training neural circuits early in development improves response, study finds

    When it comes to training neural circuits for tissue engineering or biomedical applications, a new study suggests a key parameter: Train them young.

     

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • Photo of food science and human nutrition professor M. Yanina Pepino

    Virtual scientific event to teach public about COVID-19-related loss of smell, taste

    "The Nose Knows About COVID-19,” a virtual scientific event, will help the public get to know their senses of smell and taste better, and how these senses are often affected when people contract the coronavirus.

  • Photo of food science and human nutrition professor M. Yanina Pepino and postdoctoral research associate Maria Belen Acevedo standing in their lab

    Sweet-taste perception changes as children develop

    Children and adults differ significantly in their sensitivity to the sweet taste and in the intensity of sweetness that they prefer, a new study found.

  • Holly Tuten and graduate student Erica Hernandez stand in a prairie with drag cloths attached to poles over their shoulders. They are smiling and looking at the camera.

    Lone Star ticks in Illinois can carry, transmit Heartland virus

    Researchers have confirmed that Heartland virus, an emerging pathogen with potentially dire consequences for those infected, is present in Lone Star ticks in two Illinois counties hundreds of miles apart. Lone Star ticks were first detected in Illinois in 1999 but had not been found to be infected with Heartland virus in the state.

  • Photo of Dolores Albarracin, a professor of psychology and marketing at Illinois and the director of the Social Action Lab.

    Paper: Mundane behavioral decisions, actions can be ‘misremembered’ as done

    Mundane behaviors such as taking a daily medication can eventually create false memories of completing the task, said Dolores Albarracin, a professor of psychology and marketing at Illinois and the director of the Social Action Lab.

  • Patricia Cintora stands in front of a series of white columns at the front of a campus building. She is smiling.

    Intimate partner violence, history of childhood abuse worsen trauma symptoms for new moms

    A study assessed the interaction of new and old relationship traumas among women three to 18 months after the birth of their child – one of the most challenging periods of their lives. The study found that new experiences of sexual, emotional and physical abuse at the hands of a romantic partner during this period are associated with increasing symptoms of trauma such as anxiety, depression, self-harm and sleep disorders. It also found that having experienced abuse in childhood appears to worsen the impact of current abuse on those symptoms.

  • Photos of professors Julie Bobitt and Hyojung Kang

    Beliefs about cannabis influence older adults' choice of treatments for chronic pain

    Pain levels and quality-of-life issues have little influence on older adults’ decisions to treat chronic pain and other long-term diseases or conditions with cannabis or opioids, a new U. of I. study found.

  • U. of I. professor of comparative biosciences Jodi Flaws and her colleagues reviewed dozens of studies exploring the relationship between exposure to environmental contaminants, the gut microbiome and human and animal health.

    Environmental contaminants alter gut microbiome, health

    Scientists review the research linking dozens of environmental chemicals to changes in the gut microbiome and associated health challenges.

  • Photo of University of Illinois graduate student Dandan Tao, lead author of a study on text-mining in food research.

    Scientists text-mining social media for data on food-related topics

    With millions of users daily, social media offer researchers a wealth of textual data to investigate food-, health-related issues, U. of I. food scientists report.

  • With his colleagues, U. of I. chemistry professor Liviu Mirica developed a compound that effectively targets several molecular culprits associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

    Molecule reduces multiple pathologies associated with Alzheimer’s disease

    When tested in brain cells and in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, a new compound significantly reduced the number of amyloid plaques in the brain, lessened brain inflammation and diminished other molecular markers of the disease.

  • An artist's rendering of a nanostimulator attached to a fat-derived stem cell in damaged muscle tissue.

    Nanostimulators boost stem cells for muscle repair

    In regenerative medicine, an ideal treatment for patients whose muscles are damaged from lack of oxygen would be to invigorate them with an injection of their own stem cells.

    In a new study published in the journal ACS Nano, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign demonstrated that “nanostimulators” – nanoparticles seeded with a molecule the body naturally produces to prompt stem cells to heal wounds – can amp up stem cells’ regenerative powers in a targeted limb in mice.

  • Photo courtesy ISTC

    Could Legionnaires' bacteria lurk in idled buildings?

    Many businesses are closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and some building managers have shut off water and air conditioning to conserve resources. Unfortunately, warmth and lack of clean water flow can contribute to the growth of potentially dangerous microbes, including the bacteria that contribute to Legionnaires’ disease. Illinois Sustainable Technology Center chemist and industrial water treatment specialist Jeremy Overmann spoke with News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about the problem and potential solutions.

  • U. of I. psychology professor Dolores Albarracín has spent much of her career studying how people respond to public health messages asking them to change their behavior.

    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.

  • Electrical and computer engineering professor Brian Cunningham co-led a multi-institutional team to demonstrate an inexpensive and rapid smartphone-based pathogen testing device designed to ease pressure on testing laboratories during pandemics such as COVID-19.

    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.

  • Professor of food science and human nutrition M. Yanina Pepino standing in her laboratory

    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.

     

     

  • Social work professor Tara Powell

    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.

  • New research from engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shows how oxygen transfer is altered in diseased lung tissue.

    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.

  • Sheldon H. Jacobson

    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.

  • 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.

  • In this computer simulation, DNA in a serum sample interacts with a crumpled graphene surface.

    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.

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign social work professor Karen M. Tabb and Brandon Meline, the director of maternal and child health management at Champaign-Urbana Public Health District

    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.

  • 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.

  • Photo of U. of I. alumna Carli Liguori, a recent master's student in food science and human nutrition

    Using technology during mealtime may decrease food intake, study finds

    Being distracted by technology during mealtime may decrease the amount of food a person eats, nutrition scientists suggest in a new study.

  • An avocado a day improves the ability to focus attention for overweight or obese adults, Illinois researchers found in a new study.

    Study: Daily avocado consumption improves attention in persons with overweight, obesity

    A diet including daily avocado consumption improves the ability to focus attention in adults with overweight and obesity, a new randomized control trial found.

     

  • llinois researchers used a suite of imaging methods to create the first holistic picture of peripheral artery disease recovery. Pictured: postdoctoral student Jamila Hedhli and professor Wawrzyniec Dobrucki.

    Study maps landmarks of peripheral artery disease to guide treatment development

    Novel biomedical advances that show promise in the lab often fall short in clinical trials. For researchers studying peripheral artery disease, this is made more difficult by a lack of standardized metrics for what recovery looks like. A new study from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers identifies major landmarks of PAD recovery, creating signposts for researchers seeking to understand the disease and develop treatments.

  • University of Illinois professor Christopher Brooke.

    What are the novel coronavirus health risks?

    The novel coronavirus that first broke out in Wuhan, China in late 2019 has now spread to 111 countries. As the first case of possible community spread has been reported in the United States, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign discusses how the virus spreads and what makes it a public health concern.

  • Researchers determined key molecular events that lead to heart abnormalities in myotonic dystrophy. The team included, from left, bioengineering professor Lawrence Dobrucki, postdoctoral fellow Jamila Hedhli, biochemistry professor Auinash Kalsotra, graduate student Sushant Bangru, research scientist Chaitali Misra and graduate student Kin Lam.

    Team deciphers how myotonic dystrophy generates lethal heart dysfunctions

    Roughly 80% of people with myotonic dystrophy – a common form of muscular dystrophy – experience dangerous heart ailments, and heart rhythm defects are the second-leading cause of death in those with the condition. In a new study, researchers traced the molecular events that lead to heart abnormalities in myotonic dystrophy and recreated the disease in a mouse model. 

  • Illinois researchers demonstrated a CRISPR gene-editing technique that slowed the progression of ALS in mice. Pictured, from left: graduate student Colin Lim, professor Thomas Gaj, graduate student Michael Gapinske, professor Pablo Perez-Pinera.

    New CRISPR base-editing technology slows ALS progression in mice

    A new CRISPR gene-editing method can inactivate one of the genes responsible for an inherited form of ALS, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign report in a new study. The novel treatment slowed disease progression, improved muscle function and extended lifespan in mice with an aggressive form of ALS.

  • Photo of food science and human nutrition professor M. Yanina Pepino and postdoctoral research associate Maria Belen Acevedo standing in their lab

    Some bariatric surgery patients don't sense heightened blood alcohol levels

    A study of 55 women found that Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy weight-loss surgeries may dramatically change patients’ sensitivity to and absorption of alcohol.

  • Illinois researchers added infrared capability to a standard optical microscope, enabling digital biopsies like this one – computational “stains” without adding any dyes or chemicals to the tissue sample.

    Hybrid microscope could bring digital biopsy to the clinic

    By adding infrared capability to the ubiquitous, standard optical microscope, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hope to bring cancer diagnosis into the digital era.

  • U. of I. psychology professors Sanda and Florin Dolcos explore emotional-regulation strategies that promote psychological health.

    Focus on context diminishes memory of negative events, researchers report

    In a new study, researchers report they can manipulate how the brain encodes and retains emotional memories. The scientists found that focusing on the neutral details of a disturbing scene can weaken a person’s later memories – and negative impressions – of that scene.

  • New research led by professor of food science and human nutrition M. Yanina Pepino, left, suggests that just tasting the artificial sweetener sucralose may affect an individual's response on glucose tolerance tests. Graduate student Clara Salame was a co-author of the study.

    Study: Tasting no-calorie sweetener may affect insulin response on glucose tolerance test

    Simply tasting or consuming sucralose may affect blood glucose and insulin levels on glucose tolerance tests, scientists at the University of Illinois found in a new study.

  • Leyi Wang, a virologist and professor of Veterinary Medicine.

    What is the coronavirus spreading across the globe?

    The first case of a novel strain of coronavirus has been confirmed in the United States. Virologist Leyi Wang, a professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois, discussed the outbreak of the new strain with News Bureau biomedical sciences editor Liz Ahlberg Touchstone.

  • Researchers including, from left, Valeria Sanabria Guillen, Jung Soon Hoon Kim, Kathy Carlson, John Katzenellenbogen, Yvonne Ziegler, and Benita Katzenellenbogen developed new drug agents to inhibit a pathway that contributes to cancer. The compounds killed cancer cells and reduced the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice.

    New compounds block master regulator of cancer growth, metastasis

    Scientists have developed new drug compounds that thwart the pro-cancer activity of FOXM1, a transcription factor that regulates the activity of dozens of genes. The new compounds suppress tumor growth in human cells and in mouse models of several types of human breast cancer.

  • Professor Huimin Zhao led a team that achieved the highest reported efficiency of inserting genes into human cells with CRISPR-Cas9.

    For CRISPR, tweaking DNA fragments before inserting yields highest efficiency rates yet

    University of Illinois researchers achieved the highest reported rates of inserting genes into human cells with the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing system, a necessary step for harnessing CRISPR for clinical gene-therapy applications.

    By chemically tweaking the ends of the DNA to be inserted, the new technique is up to five times more efficient than current approaches. The researchers saw improvements at various genetic locations tested in a human kidney cell line, even seeing 65% insertion at one site where the previous high had been 15%.

  • Photo of, from left, nutritional sciences professor Manabu T. Nakamura; Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia, director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences; and animal sciences professor Jan E. Novakofski.

    Caffeine may offset some health risks of diets high in fat, sugar

    A new study in rats suggests that caffeine may offset some of the negative effects of an obesogenic diet by reducing lipid storage, weight gain and the production of triglycerides.

  • Illinois researchers developed a method to detect cancer markers called microRNA with single-molecule resolution, a technique that could be used for liquid biopsies. From left: postdoctoral researcher Taylor Canady, professor Andrew Smith, graduate student Nantao Li, postdoctoral researcher Lucas Smith and professor Brian Cunningham.

    Single-molecule detection of cancer markers brings liquid biopsy closer to clinic

    A fast, inexpensive yet sensitive technique to detect cancer markers is bringing researchers closer to a “liquid biopsy” – a test using a small sample of blood or serum to detect cancer, rather than the invasive tissue sampling routinely used for diagnosis.

    Researchers at the University of Illinois developed a method to capture and count cancer-associated microRNAs, or tiny bits of messenger molecules that are exuded from cells and can be detected in blood or serum, with single-molecule resolution.

  • In this computer simulation, a portion of a protein moves through an aerolysin nanopore.

    Nanopores can identify the amino acids in proteins, the first step to sequencing

    A new study demonstrates that nanopores can be used to identify all 20 amino acids in proteins, a major step toward protein sequencing.

  • Photo of research fellow Sylvia L. Crowder and U. of I. professor of food science and human nutrition Anna E. Arthur

    Study: Healthy diet may avert nutritional problems in head, neck cancer patients

    Head and neck cancer patients who eat a healthy diet prior to treatment may be less likely to have nutrition impact symptoms up to a year after diagnosis, according to a recent study led by U. of I. researchers.

  • 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.

  • In an artist's rendering, star-shaped DNA binds onto a dengue virus and lights up to detect the virus in a blood test.

    Structurally designed 'DNA star' creates ultrasensitive test for dengue virus

    By folding snippets of DNA into the shape of a five-pointed star, researchers have created a trap that captures dengue virus as it floats in the bloodstream.