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Neuroscientists explore the risky business of self-preservation

September 7, 2017 Northwestern University

Northwestern University researchers have learned that the escape response for prey is more nuanced than previously thought. In a study of larval zebrafish, the researchers are the first to find that the animal’s innate escape response incorporates the speed of the approaching predator -- not just the proximity of the predator -- in its calculation of how best to flee. The new information can help scientists understand the neural mechanics that fuel the most elemental self-preservation instincts. Read more about: Neuroscientists explore the risky business of self-preservation

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

Interrupting Parkinson’s disease

September 7, 2017 Northwestern University

Scientists have identified a toxic cascade that leads to neuronal degeneration in patients with Parkinson’s disease and figured out how to interrupt it, reports a study to be published September 7 in the journal Science. Intervening with an antioxidant early in the disease process may break the degenerative cycle and improve neuron function in Parkinson’s, the study showed. Parkinson’s is second most common neurodegenerative disorder. Read more about: Interrupting Parkinson’s disease

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

First measurements of iodine in the Arctic reveal questions about air pollution

September 6, 2017 Purdue University

New measurements of molecular iodine in the Arctic show that even a tiny amount of the element can deplete ozone in the lower atmosphere. This is surprising because iodine is so scarce in the Arctic snowpack compared to its close relatives and known ozone-killers, chlorine and bromine. Read more about: First measurements of iodine in the Arctic reveal questions about air pollution

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

Nanoparticles limit damage in spinal cord injury

September 5, 2017 Northwestern University

After a spinal cord injury, significant secondary nerve damage is caused by inflammation and internal scarring that inhibits the ability of the nervous system to repair itself. A biodegradable nanoparticle injected after a spinal cord trauma prevented the inflammation and internal scarring that inhibits the repair process, reports a new study. Mice with a spinal cord injury receiving the nanoparticle injection were able to walk better after the injury than those that didn’t receive it. Read more about: Nanoparticles limit damage in spinal cord injury

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

More research needed on effects of maternal stress in wild animals

August 31, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — If a human mother is stressed while pregnant, research shows her child is much more likely to have emotional, cognitive or even physiological problems, such as attention deficit, hyperactivity, anxiety, language delay, obesity, diabetes and hypertension. Conversely, the results of maternal stress on the offspring of other animals — particularly wildlife under threat from predators — is believed to be positive, and contributes to their survival. Read more about: More research needed on effects of maternal stress in wild animals

Contact: Jeff Mulhollem, 814-863-2719, jjm29@psu.edu

Barbers, hair salons market cosmetic surgery on Instagram

August 30, 2017 Northwestern University

Social media has become the leading destination for consumers -- especially young people -- seeking information about plastic surgery. But a new study shows the majority of providers advertising aesthetic surgery services on Instagram are not board certified-plastic surgeons, so patients who respond to the ads are putting themselves at risk. Read more about: Barbers, hair salons market cosmetic surgery on Instagram

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

Pathway's power to boost, halt tumors may be promising cancer therapy target

August 28, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A protein, called inositol-requiring enzyme 1 — IRE1 — may serve as a key driver in a series of molecular interactions that can both promote and, paradoxically, inhibit tumors in certain types of cancers, such as non-melanoma skin cancers, according to a team of molecular biologists. They add that this pathway's dual power may make it a tempting target for future research on the design of new types of anti-cancer therapeutics. Read more about: Pathway's power to boost, halt tumors may be promising cancer therapy target

Contact: Matt Swayne, 814-865-9481, mls29@psu.edu

Evolutionary genetics researchers land $4M NSF grant to study adaptation

August 25, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Husker researchers and colleagues at the University of Montana will study how certain genetically based changes in particular traits have evolved as responses to environmental challenges. Read more about: Evolutionary genetics researchers land $4M NSF grant to study adaptation

Contact: Jay Storz, 402-472-1114, jstorz2@unl.edu

Discovery could lead to new catalyst design to reduce nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust

August 17, 2017 Purdue University

Researchers have discovered a new reaction mechanism that could be used to improve catalyst designs for pollution-control systems to further reduce emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust. Read more about: Discovery could lead to new catalyst design to reduce nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust

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

Study: Obesity may outweigh meat consumption as driver of inflammation

August 17, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Red and processed meat – considered prime suspects in disease-related inflammation – might actually be aiding and abetting another culprit, says a recent study led by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln researcher. Read more about: Study: Obesity may outweigh meat consumption as driver of inflammation

Contact: Weiwen Chai, 402-472-7822, wchai2@unl.edu

One tough bird: Greater prairie-chickens pay turbine fields no mind

August 15, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

A new School of Natural Resources study finds the endangered greater prairie-chicken pays little attention to small-scale wind energy infrastructure in choosing nesting sites, and grassland management and proximity to roads play a larger role in whether they survive. Read more about: One tough bird: Greater prairie-chickens pay turbine fields no mind

Contact: Shawna Richter-Ryerson, 402-472-6515, shawna@unl.edu

Almonds may help boost cholesterol clean-up crew

August 10, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Eating almonds on a regular basis may help boost levels of HDL cholesterol while simultaneously improving the way it removes cholesterol from the body, according to researchers. Read more about: Almonds may help boost cholesterol clean-up crew

Contact: Katie Bohn, 814-865-9481, kej5009@psu.edu

How acoustics can be an early warning system for bridges

August 9, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Civil engineer Jinying Zhu has designed a faster, more accurate method for identifying concrete defects that can compromise the structural integrity of bridges. Read more about: How acoustics can be an early warning system for bridges

Contact: Jinying Zhu, 402-554-4459, jyzhu@unl.edu

‘Origami organs’ can potentially regenerate tissues

August 7, 2017 Northwestern University

Northwestern Medicine scientists and engineers have invented a range of bioactive “tissue papers” made of materials derived from organs that are thin and flexible enough to even fold into an origami bird. The new biomaterials can potentially be used to support natural hormone production in young cancer patients and aid wound healing. Read more about: ‘Origami organs’ can potentially regenerate tissues

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

Study tests the complexity of important plant hormones

August 7, 2017 Purdue University

A Purdue University study confirms complex associations among plant hormones and their signaling pathways that are key to controlling plant architecture. Read more about: Study tests the complexity of important plant hormones

Contact: Brian Wallheimer, 765-532-0233, brian.wallheimer@gmail.com

New solid lubricant shown to reduce friction and wear on steel surfaces

August 7, 2017 Purdue University

Researchers have created a new type of non-liquid lubricant that has been shown to reduce friction and wear significantly under the extreme conditions found in various applications, from air compressors to missile systems. Read more about: New solid lubricant shown to reduce friction and wear on steel surfaces

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

New CubeSat propulsion system uses water as propellant

August 7, 2017 Purdue University

A new type of micropropulsion system for miniature satellites called CubeSats uses an innovative design of tiny nozzles that release precise bursts of water vapor to maneuver the spacecraft. Read more about: New CubeSat propulsion system uses water as propellant

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

Simultaneous Design and Nanomanufacturing Speeds Up Fabrication

August 4, 2017 Northwestern University

An interdisciplinary team of Northwestern University researchers has used mathematics and machine learning to design an optimal material for light management in solar cells and then fabricated the nanostructured surfaces simultaneously with a new nanomanufacturing technique. The researchers fabricated 3-D photonic nanostructures on a silicon wafer for potential use as a solar cell. The resulting inexpensive material absorbed 160 percent more light in the 800- to 1,200-nanometer wavelength -- a range in which current solar cells are inefficient -- than other designs. Read more about: Simultaneous Design and Nanomanufacturing Speeds Up Fabrication

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

Boys and porn: Researchers find age of first exposure linked to sexist attitudes

August 3, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The age when boys first see pornography may help explain why some young men become playboys and others seek power over women, according to new psychological research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Read more about: Boys and porn: Researchers find age of first exposure linked to sexist attitudes

Contact: Alyssa Bischmann, 402-472-8319, alyssabischmann@gmail.com

Metal-free nanoparticle could expand MRI use, tumor detection

August 3, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Developed by researchers from Nebraska and MIT, the nanoparticle enhances the contrast of MRIs without relying on metal -- potentially giving newborns and people with kidney problems access to the powerful diagnostic tool. Read more about: Metal-free nanoparticle could expand MRI use, tumor detection

Contact: Andrzej Rajca, 402-472-9196, arajca1@unl.edu

Husker team leads research into heat-tolerant crops

August 2, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Nebraska's Harkamal Walia has been awarded a $5.78 million National Science Foundation grant to explore the affects of high nighttime temperatures on wheat and rice, which together account for more than 50 percent of the world's calorie consumption. Read more about: Husker team leads research into heat-tolerant crops

Contact: Harkamal Walia, 402-472-1162, hwalia2@unl.edu

Tree-of-heaven's prolific seed production adds to its invasive potential

August 2, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Tree-of-heaven — or Ailanthus — is an invasive triple threat, according to a team of plant pathologists. The species produces seeds early in its lifespan, tends to make millions of viable seeds during its life, and continues to produce seeds for decades and, in some cases, for more than a century. Read more about: Tree-of-heaven's prolific seed production adds to its invasive potential

Contact: Matt Swayne, 814-865-9481, mls29@psu.edu

Food fight: Children’s temperaments help predict dinnertime struggles

August 2, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Most toddlers go through bouts of picky eating, but infants with more inhibited personalities are more likely to turn up their nose at new foods, according to researchers. Read more about: Food fight: Children’s temperaments help predict dinnertime struggles

Contact: Katie Bohn, 814-865-9481, kej5009@psu.edu

ltered Cortisol Levels Tied to Poor Health

August 2, 2017 Northwestern University

A lack of variation in the stress hormone cortisol from morning to evening is tied to a wide range of negative health conditions, including inflammation and immune system dysfunction, new Northwestern University research suggests. Read more about: ltered Cortisol Levels Tied to Poor Health

Contact: Erin Karter, 847-467-1569, erin.karter@northwestern.edu

Pennsylvania snowshoe hares differ from those in Yukon

August 1, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Snowshoe hares in Pennsylvania — at the southern end of the species' range — show adaptations in fur color and characteristics, behavior and metabolism, to enable them to survive in less wintry conditions than their far northern relatives, according to a team of researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. Read more about: Pennsylvania snowshoe hares differ from those in Yukon

Contact: Jeff Mulhollum, 814-863-2719, jjm29@psu.edu

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