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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

Team develops equation for designing clean-energy catalysts

May 14, 2018 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

New guidelines laid down by Nebraska's Xiao Cheng Zeng could steer the design of less costly, more efficient catalysts geared toward revving up the production of hydrogen as a renewable fuel. Read more about: Team develops equation for designing clean-energy catalysts

Contact: Xiao Cheng Zeng, 402-472-9894, xzeng1@unl.edu

Be wary of cosmetic surgeons’ online reviews

April 26, 2018 Northwestern University

Consumers should be wary of cosmetic surgeons’ online reviews, which have grown 40 percent a year. The ratings are highly polarized, and some are written by non-patients, reports a new study. The reviews lack balance; people are either very happy or very unhappy with the surgeon. Surprisingly, patients report treatment by the doctor’s staff is almost as important as surgical outcome. The study examined online reviews in six major U.S. cities. Read more about: Be wary of cosmetic surgeons’ online reviews

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

Switch controls light on a nanoscale for faster information processing

April 25, 2018 Purdue University

Purdue researchers have helped design a compact switch that enables light to be more reliably confined to small computer chip components for faster information processing. Read more about: Switch controls light on a nanoscale for faster information processing

Contact: Kayla Wiles, 765-494-2432, wiles5@purdue.edu

Purdue archaeologists part of ancient horse find in Nile River Valley

April 25, 2018 Purdue University

An ancient horse burial at Tombos along the Nile River Valley shows that a member of the horse family thousands of years ago was more important to the culture than previously thought, which provides a window into human-animal relationships more than 3,000 years ago. Read more about: Purdue archaeologists part of ancient horse find in Nile River Valley

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

New method for interpreting cryo-EM maps makes it easier to determine protein structures

April 25, 2018 Purdue University

A new algorithm makes interpreting the results of cryo-electron microscopy maps easier and more accurate, helping researchers to determine protein structures and potentially create drugs that block their functions. Read more about: New method for interpreting cryo-EM maps makes it easier to determine protein structures

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

New test could tell doctors whether patients will respond to chemotherapy

April 23, 2018 Purdue University

Less than half the patients diagnosed with cancer respond favorably to chemotherapy, but a new method for testing how patients will respond to various drugs could pave the way for more personalized treatment. Using Doppler light scattering, like a weather radar, researchers can determine how a patient will respond to chemotherapy even before they begin treatment. Read more about: New test could tell doctors whether patients will respond to chemotherapy

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

Personalized bio-inks boost healing potential of printable body tissue

April 23, 2018 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital have incorporated platelet-rich plasma into a bio-ink: a 3-D-printed mixture of cells and gel that could eventually become the stuff of skin grafts and regenerative tissue implants. Read more about: Personalized bio-inks boost healing potential of printable body tissue

Contact: Ali Tamayol, 402-472-2375, atamayol@unl.edu

Unprecedented wave of large-mammal extinctions linked to ancient humans

April 19, 2018 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Nebraska's Kate Lyons has co-authored a new study suggesting that ancient humans began hunting large mammal species to extinction at least 90,000 years earlier than once thought. Read more about: Unprecedented wave of large-mammal extinctions linked to ancient humans

Contact: Kate Lyons, 773-841-6521, katelyons@unl.edu

Far-red fluorescent silk can kill harmful bacteria as biomedical and environmental remedy

April 18, 2018 Purdue University

A silk hybrid material attacks bacteria when illuminated by a green light, thanks to a far-red fluorescent protein researchers transferred to its genetic makeup. The all-natural material would be safer than conventional photocatalytic, or light-activated, means to kill harmful pathogens such as bacteria. Read more about: Far-red fluorescent silk can kill harmful bacteria as biomedical and environmental remedy

Contact: Kayla Wiles, 765-494-2432, wiles5@purdue.edu

Zika presents hot spots in brains of chicken embryos

April 18, 2018 Purdue University

Zika prefers certain “hot spots” in the brains of chicken embryos, offering insight into how brain development is affected by the virus. If the virus also prefers specific sites in human brains, researchers could look to them for targeted therapies and drug testing. Read more about: Zika presents hot spots in brains of chicken embryos

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

Researchers establish link between hormone, generosity in birds

April 17, 2018 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

A new Nebraska study has offered the first experimental evidence that a hormone may be responsible for food sharing and other prosocial behaviors among birds. Read more about: Researchers establish link between hormone, generosity in birds

Contact: Jeffrey Stevens, 402-472-1840, jstevens5@unl.edu

Purdue contributes to experiments on light-matter interactions for potential quantum technology applications

April 17, 2018 Purdue University

Purdue researchers collaborated in a Rice University-led study detecting a quantum shift that results from the strong coupling of light and an ultra-high mobility two-dimensional electron gas rotating in opposite directions. The work describes a system predicted to go into a new ground state (or state of lowest energy) that physicists could use to study phase transitions and possibly harness for the development of quantum bits for advanced computing. Read more about: Purdue contributes to experiments on light-matter interactions for potential quantum technology applications

Contact: Kayla Wiles, 765-494-2432, wiles5@purdue.edu

Food allergy is linked to skin exposure and genetics

April 6, 2018 Northwestern University

Infant and childhood food allergy, whose cause has long been a mystery, has now been linked to a mix of environmental and genetic factors that must coexist to trigger the allergy, reports a new study. Those factors include genetics that alter skin absorbency, use of infant cleansing wipes that leave soap on the skin, skin exposure to allergens in dust and skin exposure to food from those providing infant care. The good news is factors leading to food allergy can be modified in the home environment. Read more about: Food allergy is linked to skin exposure and genetics

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

When kids’ autistic brains can’t calm down

April 5, 2018 Northwestern University

One third of children who have autism spectrum disorder also have epilepsy. It’s related to an autism risk gene. But scientists didn’t now why the mutation, catnap2, caused seizures. Now scientists have discovered the mutation shrinks the neurons’ dendrite arbors and synapses that enable brain cells to relay vital messages. The ‘Calm down!’ message gets lost in the brain, causing neurons to spin out of control. Drugs could soon be tested to reverse seizures, language delay and intellectual disability. Read more about: When kids’ autistic brains can’t calm down

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

Parents struggle to discuss sex with LGBTQ teens

April 4, 2018 Northwestern University

Parents of LGBTQ children feel especially uncomfortable and unequipped when they try to educate them about sex and dating, reports a new study. Parents don’t know what constitutes safe sexual behaviors for LGBTQ teens and need resources to help them. Parents play an important role in helping their children learn how to have healthy sexual relationships. Read more about: Parents struggle to discuss sex with LGBTQ teens

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

Red or blue in the face? Study says conservatives show less emotion

April 3, 2018 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

New research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has demonstrated a correlation between political ideology and facial expressivity. Read more about: Red or blue in the face? Study says conservatives show less emotion

Contact: Kevin Smith, 402-472-0779, ksmith1@unl.edu

Researchers: Focus policy to better control red cedar invasion

April 2, 2018 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The invasive spread of eastern red cedar across Nebraska will continue as long as policy is mismatched with known science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers have found. Without resolving the disconnect, grasslands will keep transitioning into cedar woodlands. Read more about: Researchers: Focus policy to better control red cedar invasion

Contact: Dirac Twidwell, 402-580-8832, dirac.twidwell@unl.edu

Lesson learned? Massive study finds lectures still dominate STEM ed

March 29, 2018 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Led by Nebraska's Marilyne Stains, the study found that traditional lecturing has persisted in STEM classrooms despite calls to replace it with more student-centered approaches. Read more about: Lesson learned? Massive study finds lectures still dominate STEM ed

Contact: Marilyne Stains, 402-472-3503, mstains2@unl.edu

Design approach developed for important new catalysts for energy conversion and storage

March 21, 2018 Northwestern University

Northwestern University researchers have discovered a new approach for creating important new catalysts to aid in clean energy conversion and storage. The method also has the potential to impact the discovery of new optical and data storage materials and catalysts for higher efficiency processing of petroleum products at lower cost. The researchers created a catalyst that is seven times more active than state-of-the-art commercial platinum by combining theory, a new tool for synthesizing nanoparticles and more than one metallic element. Read more about: Design approach developed for important new catalysts for energy conversion and storage

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

Mutating Ebola’s key protein may stop replication

March 12, 2018 Purdue University

Researchers may be able to stop the replication of Ebola virus by mutating its most important protein, according to a paper published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Read more about: Mutating Ebola’s key protein may stop replication

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

Studies show urbanization impacts storms, rainfall despite surroundings

March 9, 2018 Purdue University

Two Purdue University studies show that urbanization changes storm patterns and rainfall amounts, highlighting the need for urban planning and infrastructure design that considers how the landscape will affect the weather. Read more about: Studies show urbanization impacts storms, rainfall despite surroundings

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

Rheumatoid arthritis meets precision medicine

March 9, 2018 Northwestern University

Scientists are bringing precision medicine to rheumatoid arthritis for the first time by using genetic profiling of joint tissue to see which drugs will work for which patients, reports a new multi-site study. In the near future, scientists said, patients won’t have to waste time and be disappointed with months of ineffective therapy. Currently $2.5 billion a year wasted on therapy that doesn’t work. Read more about: Rheumatoid arthritis meets precision medicine

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

Physicists observe long-sought nanoscale phenomenon

March 7, 2018 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Two Nebraska physicists have helped end a nearly 15-year quest to observe a phenomenon that could power and miniaturize a future generation of electronics. Read more about: Physicists observe long-sought nanoscale phenomenon

Contact: Evgeny Tsymbal, 402-472-2586, tsymbal@unl.edu

Religious freedom laws an all-American dispute, researchers find

March 5, 2018 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologists Emily Kazyak and Kelsy Burke analyzed responses to why Nebraskans support or oppose a business owner's right to refuse service to gays and lesbians to gain insight into why these laws continue to gain traction in state Legislatures even though most Americans do not actually agree with them. Read more about: Religious freedom laws an all-American dispute, researchers find

Contact: Emily Kazyak, 402-472-3664, ekazyak2@unl.edu

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