blog navigation

All Results

blog posts

  • U of I virtual test assesses bioengineering students' laboratory skills

    When COVID-19 forced the U. of I. to go to online-only instruction last spring, a team led by bioengineering professor Karin Jensen created a test to remotely assess students' ability to culture cells in the laboratory.

  • Cicada-inspired waterproof surfaces closer to reality, researchers report

    A multidisciplinary group that studies the physical and chemical properties of insect wings has demonstrated the ability to reproduce the nanostructures that help cicada wings repel water and prevent bacteria from establishing on the surface. The new technique – which uses commercial nail polish – is economical and straightforward, and the researchers said it will help fabricate future high-tech waterproof materials.

  • Paper: Congress must clarify limits of gene-editing technologies

    How the next Congress decides to handle the issue editing human sperm and eggs will affect the science, ethics and financing of genomic editing for decades to come, said Jacob S. Sherkow, a professor of law at Illinois who studies the ethical and policy implications of advanced biotechnologies.

  • Illinois announces changes to spring academic calendar

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is adjusting its 2021 spring calendar to help maintain instruction during the pandemic. Classes will start a week later than scheduled and while there will be no spring break, three days without classes will be added. Students planning to attend classes in person will be required to return early for COVID-19 on-campus testing.

  • Concert series celebrates Altgeld Chimes' centennial

    A special concert on the 100th anniversary of the Altgeld Chimes’ dedication will feature music from that first performance.

  • Exercise and nutrition regimen benefits physical, cognitive health

    Researchers studied the effects of a 12-week exercise regimen on 148 active-duty Air Force airmen, half of whom also received a twice-daily nutrient beverage that included protein; the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA; lutein; phospholipids; vitamin D; B vitamins and other micronutrients; along with a muscle-promoting compound known as HMB. Both groups improved in physical and cognitive function, with added gains among those who regularly consumed the nutritional beverage, the team reports.

  • Octopus-inspired sucker transfers thin, delicate tissue grafts and biosensors

    Thin tissue grafts and flexible electronics have a host of applications for wound healing, regenerative medicine and biosensing. A new device inspired by an octopus’s sucker rapidly transfers delicate tissue or electronic sheets to the patient, overcoming a key barrier to clinical application, report researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and collaborators.

  • Finding one elusive bird

    It’s hot and my shirt is sticking to my back. I part scrubby marsh vegetation with one hand and shield my face with the other. Hiking along the margins of Illinois’ only open-water quaking bog, I’m carrying five liters of swamp water in bottles in my backpack, my samples sloshing with each step.

    Collecting wetland water samples is far from glamorous. My feet are wet, my legs caked in mud, and I frequently swat at hordes of mosquitoes as I hike, sometimes with as much as 10 liters of water in my pack. I’m not interested in the water; rather, if all goes well, I will find my samples contain the DNA of mysterious marsh birds, called rails, that breed and migrate through Illinois wetlands.

  • Prominent documentary filmmakers featured in Ebert Symposium

    Three prominent documentary filmmakers who’ve tackled subjects ranging from biography and history to sexual assault and hip-hop will be featured guests for an online Ebert Symposium discussion, “Documentary Film and Social Change,” on Oct. 22. Kirby Dick, Sacha Jenkins and Dawn Porter have had films aired or streamed on CNN, HBO, Netflix, PBS and Showtime, among other venues. Three documentary filmmakers on the Illinois faculty will also be on the panel.

  • Distracted learning a big problem, golden opportunity for educators, students

    Experts say media multitasking negatively impacts learning, but many students believe they're immune to these effects because they're good multitaskers, according to a review paper by U. of I. professor Shelly J. Schmidt.

  • Illinois professor part of Latino baseball project and book for Smithsonian

    Baseball is as central to Latino culture as it is to the broader American culture, and Adrian Burgos Jr. helps document that history as a co-author of a book for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Burgos is a history professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who specializes in the history of sports, in particular the role of Latinos and African Americans in baseball.

  • Unearthing a fossorial snake

    To the naked eye, it might appear as though I’m standing in a prairie oasis. Pockets of bright yellow goldenrod bring vibrancy to the sea of towering grasses. There’s not a soul in sight to spoil the serenity. A lone red-tailed hawk scouring the landscape from the top of a dead oak tree is my only companion. It’s not hard to imagine the entire region looking like this prior to European settlement, expanding miles and miles without interruption. I made the two-hour drive from Champaign to this tiny, fragmented prairie to search for an uncommon snake.

  • Should the Senate conduct Supreme Court hearing amid pandemic, election season?

    There is no election-year exception to the process the Constitution creates for the nomination of individuals to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, says Jason Mazzone, the Albert E. Jenner Jr. Professor of Law and the director of the Program in Constitutional Theory, History, and Law at the College of Law at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Study finds fungal disease of snakes in 19 states, Puerto Rico

    In a collaborative effort between scientists and personnel on U.S. military bases in 31 states and Puerto Rico, researchers surveyed for an infection caused by an emerging fungal pathogen that afflicts snakes. The effort found infected snakes on military bases in 19 states and Puerto Rico, demonstrating that the fungus is more widely distributed than was previously known. The team reports the findings in the journal PLOS ONE.

  • Genomic study reveals evolutionary secrets of banyan tree

    The banyan fig tree Ficus microcarpa is famous for its aerial roots, which sprout from branches and eventually reach the soil. The tree also has a unique relationship with a wasp that has coevolved with it and is the only insect that can pollinate it. In a new study, researchers identify regions in the banyan fig’s genome that promote the development of its unusual aerial roots and enhance its ability to signal its wasp pollinator.

  • Maryland university president featured in inaugural 'A Great Conversation'

    Freeman Hrabowski, the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a national leader in academic innovation and inclusive excellence, will join University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Robert J. Jones on Oct. 12 for the first of a planned series of public conversations with prominent figures from multiple disciplines to discuss critical societal issues and solutions.

  • Multi-institutional team extracts more energy from sunlight with advanced solar panels

    Researchers working to maximize solar panel efficiency said layering advanced materials atop traditional silicon is a promising path to eke more energy out of sunlight. A new study shows that by using a precisely controlled fabrication process, researchers can produce multilayered solar panels with the potential to be 1.5 times more efficient than traditional silicon panels.

  • 2020 Ebert Symposium to explore changing times in film, media

    Films and the media industry in changing times will be the subject of this year’s online Ebert Symposium, on Oct. 8 and two later dates, with filmmakers, media professionals and academics part of the discussion. Participants will explore the effects of the pandemic, the racial justice movement and other factors on the media industry, documentary filmmaking and media representation.

  • Repurposed anti-malarial compounds kill diarrheal parasite, study finds

    A class of compounds used for malaria treatment also kill the intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium, a leading global cause of diarrheal disease and death in children that has no cure, a multi-institution collaboration of researchers found in a new study.

  • Paper: Lawful discrimination by businesses creates 'customer caste'

    Judicial rulings on the leading civil rights laws have created a “customer caste” in which people of color are subject to legal, daily discrimination in retail stores, restaurants and other places of public accommodation, says Suja A. Thomas, the Peer and Sarah Pedersen Professor of Law at Illinois.

  • Gene expression altered by direction of forces acting on cell

    Tissues and cells in the human body are subjected to a constant push and pull – strained by other cells, blood pressure and fluid flow, to name a few. The type and direction of the force on a cell alters gene expression by stretching different regions of DNA, researchers at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and collaborators in China found in a new study.

  • How is campus adjusting HVAC systems during the coronavirus pandemic?

    As temperatures drop and more people gather indoors, concerns about coronavirus particles floating in the air are on the rise. Officials at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have made adjustments to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to provide adequate ventilation, says Mohamed Attalla, the executive director of Facilities and Services. He spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about the proactive measures taken to assure that campus HVAC systems are operating correctly and supplying fresh outdoor air to buildings.

  • Celebrating our diversity

    NOTE: This post describes events prior to the coronavirus epidemic.

    It is snowing again, and I turn to look through the bus window as it slowly pulls into the final stop. I hide my face in my scarf, hoping to stop the cold air sneaking in. It has been almost six years since I moved to the Midwest from Taiwan, but I still cannot deal with winter and snow. Once off the bus, I follow footprints to the Wildlife Veterinary Epidemiology Laboratory and push open the glass door.

     

  • 'Pressing Issues' at Krannert Art Museum shows WPA printmakers' thoughts on social justice

    An exhibition of WPA prints shows how artists addressed social issues that remain relevant today.

  • Following the sounds of prairie cicadas

    When I arrive at the Loda Cemetery Prairie Nature Preserve, Katie Dana is already out there. She’s wearing knee-high boots to ward off chiggers and ticks, and she’s carrying an insect net. Dana is on the prowl for cicadas: the loudest insects on the planet. On this hot summer day, they do not disappoint. The males are in full chorus.

  • Today's immigration policies rooted in long history, author says

    No matter how one feels about current U.S. immigration policies, they did not come out of the blue but are based in a long history, says A. Naomi Paik, an Asian American studies professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She lays out aspects of that history in a new book.

  • Do-it-yourself COVID-19 vaccines fraught with public health problems

    “Citizen scientists” developing homemade COVID-19 vaccines may believe they’re inoculating themselves against the ongoing pandemic, but the practice of self-experimentation with do-it-yourself medical innovations is fraught with legal, ethical and public health issues, says a new paper co-written by University of Illinois law professor Jacob S. Sherkow.

  • Most homemade masks are doing a great job, even when we sneeze, study finds

    Studies indicate that homemade masks help combat the spread of viruses like COVID-19 when combined with frequent hand-washing and physical distancing. Many of these studies focus on the transfer of tiny aerosol particles; however, researchers say that speaking, coughing and sneezing generates larger droplets that carry virus particles. Because of this, mechanical engineer Taher Saif said the established knowledge may not be enough to determine how the effectiveness of some fabrics used in homemade masks.

  • Campus to host communal crochet coral reef project

    Community members can help crochet a coral reef, part of a project to bring attention to climate change and demonstrate applied mathematics.

  • Illinois professor's stories address race, complicated family relationships

    Illinois English professor David Wright’s short story about a boy confronting his paternity and his future beyond slavery is featured in The New Yorker.

  • In person or by mail? What to consider in choosing how to vote

    Voters this fall must determine not only who they’re voting for, but also the safest way to cast a ballot. Brian Gaines, a political science professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, maps out some risks to consider and mistakes to avoid. He also cautions against leaping to conclusions about any alleged irregularities on Election Day.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Illinois enrollment remains above 50,000

    Greater demand for online graduate programs pushed the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign’s 2020 enrollment to a record 52,331. In addition to delivering fall semester instruction as a mixture of face-to-face, hybrid and online courses, the university developed unique safety measures including a saliva-based COVID-19 test.

  • Illinois archivist's prize-winning essay reveals Jewish origins of Viennese cuisine

    University of Illinois archivist Susanne Belovari won the 2020 Sophie Coe Prize for her work on the forgotten history of Viennese cuisine.

  • 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.

  • Have we gone too far trashing politics?

    We’ve gone too far in trashing politics, no matter how much the campaign season may prompt us to do so, says Ned O’Gorman, a communication professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Politics is a good thing, but our views of politics have become “twisted.” His recent book “Politics for Everybody” argues for “authentic politics” that focus on different people getting along and working things out, not winner-take-all.

  • Rise in labor earnings inequality during pandemic reversed by stimulus, unemployment checks

    Job losses during the pandemic were substantially worse for workers in low-paying jobs, leading to a dramatic increase in wage inequality during the early months of the COVID-19 recession, according to new research co-written by University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign labor economist Eliza Forsythe.

  • Illinois professor uses LGBTQ voices in Beirut to understand daily violence, disruption

    Ghassan Moussawi, a professor of gender and women’s studies and of sociology, examines the daily survival strategies of Beirut’s LGBTQ residents in his new book “Disruptive Situations: Fractal Orientalism and Queer Strategies in Beirut.”

  • Media alert: News conference to discuss university's plan to correct upward trend of positive COVID-19 cases

    The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign’s new measures for undergraduate students in response to a recent upward trend in positive COVID-19 cases will be discussed at a Zoom news conference at 3:30 p.m. today. 

  • What’s different about recent athlete protests?

    In the history of protest in sports, the recent strikes by professional athletes in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, are unprecedented, says Adrian Burgos Jr., a professor of history at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign who specializes in the history of sports. The resumption of pro sports during a pandemic has made the players’ platform even more prominent, he says, and some have used it to try to communicate their lived reality beyond their role as athletes.

  • 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.

  • Serengeti leopard population densities healthy but vary seasonally, study finds

    A study of camera-trap data in the Serengeti finds that leopard population densities vary between wet and dry seasons, likely in response to the availability of prey and the presence of other top predators. 

  • Should government do more for the working poor during pandemic?

    Another round of federal stimulus checks and increased unemployment benefits would be “economic stabilizers” for the working poor during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, says U. of I. labor expert Robert Bruno.

  • 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.

  • Black girls create a space of their own in 'Homemade, With Love' exhibition at KAM

    A Krannert Art Museum exhibition includes artwork by local middle school girls as well as prominent Black female artists.

  • 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 performing arts adapt teaching for fall classes

    The University of Illinois dance, music and theatre departments have found creative solutions to offer in-person classes in safe ways.

  • New approach to explaining soft material flow may yield way to new materials, disaster prediction

    How does toothpaste stay in its tube and not ooze out when we remove the cap? What causes seemingly solid ground to suddenly break free into a landslide? Defining exactly how soft materials flow and seize has eluded researchers for years, but a new study explains this complex motion using relatively simple experiments. The ability to define – and eventually predict – soft material flow will benefit people dealing with everything from spreadable cheese to avalanches.

  • Machine learning peeks into nano-aquariums

    In the nanoworld, tiny particles such as proteins appear to dance as they transform and assemble to perform various tasks while suspended in a liquid. Recently developed methods have made it possible to watch and record these otherwise-elusive tiny motions, and researchers now take a step forward by developing a machine learning workflow to streamline the process.