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Sugar-coated nanomaterial excels at promoting bone growth

June 19, 2017 Northwestern University

There hasn’t been a gold standard for how orthopaedic spine surgeons promote new bone growth in patients, but now Northwestern University scientists have designed a bioactive nanomaterial that is so good at stimulating bone regeneration it could become the method surgeons prefer. The researchers studied in vivo the effect of the nanomaterial on the activity of the growth factor BMP-2. They found that 100 times less of the protein was needed for a successful spinal fusion in an animal model. Read more about: Sugar-coated nanomaterial excels at promoting bone growth

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

Japanese slow earthquakes could shed light on tsunami generation

June 15, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Understanding slow-slip earthquakes in subduction zone areas may help researchers understand large earthquakes and the creation of tsunamis, according to an international team of researchers that used data from instruments placed on the seafloor and in boreholes east of the Japanese coast. Read more about: Japanese slow earthquakes could shed light on tsunami generation

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer, 814-865-9481, aem1@psu.edu

Hidden immune cells cause lung transplant failure

June 14, 2017 Northwestern University

Scientists have discovered that a subset of immune cells called nonclassical monocytes (NCMs), previously unknown to reside in the lungs, play a key role in driving primary graft dysfunction (PGD), the leading cause of death after lung transplantation. The study demonstrates targeting these cells could lead to novel treatments for PGD, a complication that currently impacts more than half of transplant patients. Read more about: Hidden immune cells cause lung transplant failure

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

Technology unlocks mold genomes for new drugs

June 12, 2017 Northwestern University

Fungi are rich sources of natural molecules for drug discovery, but numerous challenges have pushed pharmaceutical companies away from tapping into this bounty. Now scientists at Northwestern University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the biotech company Intact Genomics have developed technology that uses genomics and data analytics to efficiently screen for molecules produced by molds to find new drug leads -- maybe even the next penicillin. From three diverse fungal species, the research team discovered 17 new natural products. Read more about: Technology unlocks mold genomes for new drugs

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

Two-part system turns stem cells into whatever you want

June 5, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Whether using embryonic or adult stem cells, coercing these master cells to convert to the desired target cell and reproduce flawlessly is difficult. Now an international team of researchers has a two-part system that can convert the cells to the targets and then remove the remnants of that conversion, leaving only the desired DNA behind to duplicate. Read more about: Two-part system turns stem cells into whatever you want

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer, 814-865-9481, aem1@psu.edu

Electrocatalyst nanostructures key to improved fuel cells, electrolyzers

June 5, 2017 Purdue University

Purdue scientists’ simulations have unraveled the mystery of a new electrocatalyst that may solve a significant problem associated with fuel cells and electrolyzers. Fuel cells, which use chemical reactions to produce energy, and electrolyzers, which convert energy into hydrogen or other gases, use electrocatalysts to promote chemical reactions. Electrocatalysts that can activate such reactions tend to be unstable because they can corrode in the highly acidic or basic water solutions that are used in fuel cells or electrolyzers. Read more about: Electrocatalyst nanostructures key to improved fuel cells, electrolyzers

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

Plants take up more carbon once acclimated to warmer temperatures

June 2, 2017 Purdue University

Nick Smith, a Purdue adjunct professor in Forestry and Natural Resources, and postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, wanted to know how plant carbon uptake is affected by extended periods of different temperatures. The information may be helpful for models that use plant carbon uptake to estimate the effects of climate change. Read more about: Plants take up more carbon once acclimated to warmer temperatures

Contact: Shari Finnell, 765-494-2722, sfinnell@purdue.edu

Combining MRI and optical microscopy promising for brain research

June 2, 2017 Purdue University

Functional magnetic resonance imaging reveals changes in blood-oxygen levels in different parts of the brain, but the data show nothing about what is actually happening in and between brain cells, information needed to better understand brain circuitry and function. Read more about: Combining MRI and optical microscopy promising for brain research

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

Plasmonics could bring sustainable society, desalination tech

June 1, 2017 Purdue University

The emerging field of plasmonics could bring advances in chemical manufacturing, usher in new clean and sustainable technologies and desalination systems to avert a future global water crisis. Read more about: Plasmonics could bring sustainable society, desalination tech

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

LIGO detects gravitational waves for third time

June 1, 2017 Northwestern University

One, two and now three historic waves have come from deep space to Earth. An international research team, including Northwestern University scientists and engineers, today (June 1) announced the third detection of gravitational waves -- ripples in the fabric of space and time, first predicted by Albert Einstein more than a century ago. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) made the detection Jan. 4, 2017, demonstrating that a new window in astronomy has been firmly opened. Read more about: LIGO detects gravitational waves for third time

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

Citizen scientists help in search for gravitational waves

June 1, 2017 Northwestern University

Northwestern’s astrophysics center, CIERA (the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Exploration in Astrophysics), is leading a new crowdsourcing project called Gravity Spy to sift through the massive amounts of data being produced by the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors located in the U.S. Read more about: Citizen scientists help in search for gravitational waves

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

New gravity waves hit Earth after record-breaking trip through space

June 1, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

Gravitational waves produced by the birth of a massive black hole, a record-breaking billions of light-years from Earth, have been detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). The waves were generated when two smaller black holes collided and then merged to form a larger black hole with a mass about fifty times larger than our sun's.Researchers at the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos at Penn State provided leadership in this discovery, as well as in LIGO's previous detectctions. Read more about: New gravity waves hit Earth after record-breaking trip through space

Contact: Barbara K. Kennedy, 814-863-4682, bkk1@psu.edu

Health benefits of moderate drinking may be overstated, study finds

May 24, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The benefits of light alcohol consumption, as well as the risks associated with not drinking at all, might not be as great as previously thought, according to Penn State researchers who examined the drinking habits of middle-aged adults. Read more about: Health benefits of moderate drinking may be overstated, study finds

Contact: Mel Miller, 814-863-2717, mem502@psu.edu

Flight delay? Lost luggage? Don't blame airline mergers, Indiana University research shows

May 23, 2017 Indiana University

It's often said that airline mergers lead to more headaches for travelers, including more flight delays, late arrivals and missed connections. But an analysis of 15 years of U.S. Department of Transportation statistics found that airline consolidation has had little negative impact on on-time performance. Read more about: Flight delay? Lost luggage? Don't blame airline mergers, Indiana University research shows

Contact: George Vlahakis, 812-855-0846, vlahakis@iu.edu

Husker engineers craft microscopic heater-thermometer

May 23, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Engineers at Nebraska have designed a paper-thin heating device that can approach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Read more about: Husker engineers craft microscopic heater-thermometer

Contact: Ming Han, 402-472-9618, mhan@unl.edu

Lizards may be overwhelmed by fire ants and social stress combined

May 23, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVESITY PARK, Pa. — Lizards living in fire-ant-invaded areas are stressed. However, a team of biologists found that the lizards did not exhibit this stress as expected after extended fire ant exposure in socially stressful environments, leading to questions about stress overload. Read more about: Lizards may be overwhelmed by fire ants and social stress combined

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer, 814-865-9481, aem1@psu.edu

Corn seed treatment insecticides pose risks to honey bees, yield benefits elusive

May 22, 2017 Purdue University

Nearly every foraging honey bee in the state of Indiana will encounter neonicotinoids during corn planting season, and the common seed treatments produced no improvement in crop yield, according to a Purdue study. Read more about: Corn seed treatment insecticides pose risks to honey bees, yield benefits elusive

Contact: Shari Finnell, 765-494-2722, sfinnell@purdue.edu

Insects resist genetic methods to control disease spread, Indiana University study finds

May 19, 2017 Indiana University

A study from Indiana University published in the journal Science Advances finds that insects possess a naturally occurring resistance to the use of gene-editing technology to prevent diseases such as malaria. Read more about: Insects resist genetic methods to control disease spread, Indiana University study finds

Contact: Kevin D. Fryling, 812-856-2988, kfryling@iu.edu

Data sharing can offer help in science's reproducibility crisis

May 17, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Criticism that researchers in the psychological and brain sciences are failing to reproduce studies — a key step in the scientific method — may have more to do with the complexity of managing data, rather than an attempt to hide methods and results, according to researchers. However, without greater focus on reproducibility, scientists will likely continue to face questions about the reliability of their research. Read more about: Data sharing can offer help in science's reproducibility crisis

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

Microbial fuel cell converts methane to electricity

May 17, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Transporting methane from gas wellheads to market provides multiple opportunities for this greenhouse gas to leak into the atmosphere. Now, an international team of researchers has taken the first step in converting methane directly to electricity using bacteria, in a way that could be done near the drilling sites. Read more about: Microbial fuel cell converts methane to electricity

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer, 814-865-9481, aem1@psu.edu

Can yogurt each day keep the doctor away?

May 16, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Nebraska food scientist Robert Hutkins and international researchers reported encouraging findings after reviewing recent research involving fermented foods. Read more about: Can yogurt each day keep the doctor away?

Contact: Robert Hutkins, 402-472-2820, hutkins@unl.edu

Weekly steroids strengthen and repair muscles

May 16, 2017 Northwestern University

In a surprising finding, weekly doses of glucocorticoid steroids, such as prednisone, help speed recovery in muscle injuries, reports a new study. The weekly steroids also repaired muscles damaged by muscular dystrophy. When given daily over long periods, prednisone can cause muscle wasting. But the once weekly doses of the steroid increased proteins that stimulate muscle repair. The studies were conducted in mice, with broad implications for humans. Read more about: Weekly steroids strengthen and repair muscles

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

American chestnut rescue will succeed, but slower than expected

May 16, 2017 Pennsylvania State University

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The nearly century-old effort to employ selective breeding to rescue the American chestnut, which has been rendered functionally extinct by an introduced disease — Chestnut blight, eventually will succeed, but it will take longer than many people expect. Read more about: American chestnut rescue will succeed, but slower than expected

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

Leaving segregated neighborhoods reduces blood pressure for blacks

May 15, 2017 Northwestern University

When African-Americans moved to less segregated neighborhoods their systolic blood pressure readings dropped between one to five points, reports a new national study. This is the first study to look at the longitudinal effects of living in less segregated areas on blood pressure and to compare the effect within the same individuals. The drop in blood pressure, likely related to less violence and stress, means fewer heart attacks and strokes. Read more about: Leaving segregated neighborhoods reduces blood pressure for blacks

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

I think I know: How institutions can build (or rebuild) trust

May 11, 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

New research from the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center suggests that a key to building faith in institutions could be to make citizens feel they have better knowledge about those institutions – regardless if they actually do. Read more about: I think I know: How institutions can build (or rebuild) trust

Contact: Lisa Pytlik Zillig, 402-472-5678, lpytlikzillig2@unl.edu

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