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New method uses DNA, gold nanoparticles and top-down lithography to fabricate optically active structures

January 18, 2019 Northwestern University

Northwestern University researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind technique for creating entirely new classes of optical materials and devices that could lead to light bending and cloaking devices -- news to make the ears of Star Trek’s Spock perk up. Using DNA as a key tool, the scientists took gold nanoparticles of different sizes and shapes and arranged them in two and three dimensions to form optically active superlattices. The structures could be programmed to exhibit almost any color across the visible spectrum. Read more about: New method uses DNA, gold nanoparticles and top-down lithography to fabricate optically active structures

Contact: Megan Fellman, 847-491-3115, fellman@northwestern.edu

Higher temperatures likely to affect sharp-tailed grouse, study finds

February 13, 2018 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

A study by University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers has found that predicted increased temperatures across the Great Plains are likely to influence the survival of the sharp-tailed grouse, a native game bird species, by reducing nesting space. Read more about: Higher temperatures likely to affect sharp-tailed grouse, study finds

Contact: E.J. Raynor, 402-472-0205, eraynor2@unl.edu

Study finds positive turning points in stepfamilies

February 7, 2018 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

University of Nebraska-Lincoln communication scholar Dawn O. Braithwaite is an expert in stepfamily dynamics, and her newest research explores how positive stepfamily relationships were formed – from the perspective of the stepchild, as an adult. Read more about: Study finds positive turning points in stepfamilies

Contact: Dawn Braithwaite, 402-472-2069, dbraithwaite@unl.edu

Study: Material gradients could strengthen polymer components

February 6, 2018 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Nebraska, French and Chinese researchers have developed a model that can map optimal ratios of soft vs. hard polymers throughout a structure. Read more about: Study: Material gradients could strengthen polymer components

Contact: Mehrdad Negahban, 402-472-2397, mnegahban@unl.edu

Newborns or survivors? The unexpected matter found in hostile black hole winds

January 30, 2018 Northwestern University

The existence of molecules in black hole winds has long puzzled astronomers who believed nothing could survive the heat. It was like finding ice in a furnace. But a new theory from researchers at Northwestern University predicts that these molecules are not survivors at all, but brand-new molecules, born in the winds with unique properties that enable them to adapt and thrive in the hostile environment created by the energetic outflows. Read more about: Newborns or survivors? The unexpected matter found in hostile black hole winds

Contact: Kayla Stoner, 847-491-5753, kayla.stoner@northwestern.edu

Study reveals secrets of ‘fluid-like’ heat flow in solid semiconductor at nanoscale; findings important for design of new devices

January 17, 2018 Purdue University

Researchers are applying the same “hydrodynamic transport model” used to study flow in fluids to explain heat transport in a solid semiconductor, with potential implications for the design of high-speed transistors and lasers. Read more about: Study reveals secrets of ‘fluid-like’ heat flow in solid semiconductor at nanoscale; findings important for design of new devices

Contact: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

A popular tool for drug discovery just got 10 times faster

January 17, 2018 Purdue University

Researchers just made high-throughput screening, a process often used in drug discovery, 10 times faster than previous methods. “The area of high-throughput library screening reached a plateau, where the fastest screens took about eight seconds per target,” said Graham Cooks, Purdue's Henry B. Hass Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry. “If you can reduce that time by a factor of ten, which is what we’re reporting, then you can potentially do library screens that might have taken months in days.” Read more about: A popular tool for drug discovery just got 10 times faster

Contact: Kayla Zacharias, 765-494-9318, kzachar@purdue.edu

Study: Hormone keys plant growth or stress tolerance, but not both

January 16, 2018 Purdue University

Plants that grow well tend to be sensitive to heat and drought, and plants that can handle those stresses often have stunted growth. A Purdue plant scientist has found the switch that creates that antagonism, opening opportunities to develop plants that exhibit both characteristics. Read more about: Study: Hormone keys plant growth or stress tolerance, but not both

Contact: Brian Wallheimer, 765-532-0233, bwallhei@purdue.edu

Babies stir up clouds of bio-gunk when they crawl

January 10, 2018 Purdue University

When babies crawl, their movement across floors, especially carpeted surfaces, kicks up high levels of dirt, skin cells, bacteria, pollen, and fungal spores, a new study has found. The infants inhale a dose of bio bits in their lungs that is four times (per kilogram of body mass) what an adult would breathe walking across the same floor. As alarming as that sounds, lead researcher Brandon Boor of Purdue is quick to add that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Read more about: Babies stir up clouds of bio-gunk when they crawl

Contact: Steve Tally, 765-494-9809, steve@purdue.edu

Black hole breakthrough: new insight into mysterious jets

January 9, 2018 Northwestern University

Through first-of-their-kind supercomputer simulations, researchers, including a Northwestern University professor, have gained new insight into one of the most mysterious phenomena in modern astronomy: the behavior of relativistic jets that shoot from black holes, extending outward across millions of light years. Read more about: Black hole breakthrough: new insight into mysterious jets

Contact: Kayla Stoner, 847-491-5753, kayla.stoner@northwestern.edu

‘Holostream’ allows high-quality wireless 3-D video communications

January 9, 2018 Purdue University

A new platform enables high-quality 3-D video communication on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets using existing standard wireless networks. “To our knowledge, this system is the first of its kind that can deliver dense and accurate 3-D video content in real time across standard wireless networks to remote mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets,” said Song Zhang, an associate professor in Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering. Read more about: ‘Holostream’ allows high-quality wireless 3-D video communications

Contact: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Facial exercises help middle-aged women appear more youthful

January 3, 2018 Northwestern University

A 30-minute daily or alternate-day facial exercise program sustained over 20 weeks improved the facial appearance of middle-aged women, resulting in a younger appearance with fuller and firmer upper and lower cheeks, reports a new study. This is the first scientific study to test the premise of facial exercise improving appearance. The exercises enlarged facial muscles so face had more volume. Women looked an average of three years younger after 20 weeks of exercises, as rated by dermatologists. Read more about: Facial exercises help middle-aged women appear more youthful

Contact: Marla Paul, 312-503-8928, marla-paul@northwestern.edu

Blacks’ high diabetes risk is driven by obesity, not mystery

January 2, 2018 Northwestern University

In a surprising finding, blacks and whites have the same risk of developing diabetes when all biological factors for the disease are considered over time, reports a study. The finding flips long-held beliefs that there is an unexplained reason why blacks have double the rate of diabetes compared to whites by midlife, which is considered early onset. Read more about: Blacks’ high diabetes risk is driven by obesity, not mystery

Contact: Marla Paul, 312-503-8928, marla-paul@northwestern.edu

‘Quantum material’ has shark-like ability to detect small electrical signals

December 18, 2017 Purdue University

A “quantum material” that mimics a shark’s ability to detect the minute electric fields of small prey has been shown to perform well in ocean-like conditions, with potential applications from defense to marine biology. Read more about: ‘Quantum material’ has shark-like ability to detect small electrical signals

Contact: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Study shows how brain anticipates social exclusion

December 14, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

New research suggests that the brains of some people can enter a hyper-vigilant state when faced with rejection. Read more about: Study shows how brain anticipates social exclusion

Contact: John E. Kiat, 402-472-8514, johnemmanuelkiat@gmail.com

Research shows why meteoroids explode before they reach Earth

December 11, 2017 Purdue University

Our atmosphere is a better shield from meteoroids than researchers thought, according to a new paper published in Meteoritics & Planetary Science. When a meteor comes hurtling toward Earth, the high-pressure air in front of it seeps into its pores and cracks, pushing the body of the meteor apart and causing it to explode. Read more about: Research shows why meteoroids explode before they reach Earth

Contact: Kayla Zacharias, 765-494-9318, kzachar@purdue.edu

New approach measuring early butchering practices can help answer questions about evolution

December 6, 2017 Purdue University

Researchers, led by a Purdue University anthropology professor, have found that statistical methods and 3-D imaging can be used to accurately measure animal bone cut marks made by prehistoric human butchery, and to help answer pressing questions about human evolution. Read more about: New approach measuring early butchering practices can help answer questions about evolution

Contact: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

First-of-its-kind mummy study reveals clues to girl’s story

November 29, 2017 Northwestern University

Who is she, this little mummy girl? Northwestern University scientists and students are working to unravel some of her mysteries, including how her body was prepared 1,900 years ago in Egypt, what items she may have been buried with and what material is in her brain cavity. As part of a comprehensive investigation, the mummy traveled from Evanston to Argonne National Laboratory on Nov. 27 for an X-ray scattering experiment -- the first study of its kind performed on a human mummy. Read more about: First-of-its-kind mummy study reveals clues to girl’s story

Contact: Megan Fellman, 847-491-3115, fellman@northwestern.edu

Freezing electrons makes them get in line

November 27, 2017 Purdue University

New research published in Nature Communications suggests that electrons in a two-dimensional gas can undergo a semi-ordered (nematic) to mostly-ordered (smectic) phase transition, which has been discussed in physics theory but never seen in practice before. Read more about: Freezing electrons makes them get in line

Contact: Kayla Zacharias, 765-494-9318, kzachar@purdue.edu

Ecologists show that Nebraska Sandhills can withstand wildfire

November 18, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Research is showing that Nebraska's national landmark Sandhills ecoregion recovers remarkably fast from fire. The study puts fears to rest that burned areas from a 2012 fire were irreparably damaged. Read more about: Ecologists show that Nebraska Sandhills can withstand wildfire

Contact: Dirac Twidwell, 402-480-8832, dirac.twidwell@unl.edu

Nebraska research drills into demographic drivers of death-penalty support

November 17, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

In a new study, Amy Anderson and Philip Schwadel found a person's age is an important factor in explaining opinions on the death penalty. Read more about: Nebraska research drills into demographic drivers of death-penalty support

Contact: Philip Schwadel, 402-472-6008, pschwadel2@unl.edu

Is Africa the world's next breadbasket? Nebraska study says it's unlikely

November 17, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

While there is huge potential for sub-Saharan Africa to increase agricultural productivity, the odds that the region will become the world's next breadbasket are low, according to a new study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Read more about: Is Africa the world's next breadbasket? Nebraska study says it's unlikely

Contact: Patricio Grassini, 402-472-5554, pgrassini2@unl.edu

Why these Amish live longer and healthier: an internal ‘fountain of youth’

November 15, 2017 Northwestern University

The first genetic mutation that appears to protect against multiple aspects of biological aging in humans has been discovered in an extended family of Amish living near Berne, Indiana, reports a new Northwestern study. An experimental “longevity” drug that recreates the effect of the mutation is now being tested in human trials to see if it provides protection against some aging-related illnesses. Indiana Amish kindred with the mutation live more than 10 percent longer, have significantly less diabetes and a younger looking cardiovascular system. These Amish have low levels of a protein related to the aging of cells. A closely related form of drug is being developed as topical treatment for baldness. Read more about: Why these Amish live longer and healthier: an internal ‘fountain of youth’

Contact: Marla Paul, 312-503-8928, marla-paul@northwestern.edu

Soil study lends clues to ancient climate

November 13, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Research led by Nebraska's Matt Joeckel is providing insight into environmental conditions 125 million years ago. Read more about: Soil study lends clues to ancient climate

Contact: Matt Joeckel, 402-472-7520, rjoeckel3@unl.edu

Left-brained: Study suggests conservative Democrats don't compute for liberal voters

November 13, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Democratic candidates with conservative leanings may have a trickier time in today’s political climate than Republican candidates with a liberal bent, a new Nebraska study using cutting-edge brain-scan technology suggests. Read more about: Left-brained: Study suggests conservative Democrats don't compute for liberal voters

Contact: Ingrid Haas, 402-472-2173, ihaas2@unl.edu

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