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Illinois researchers used a land-surface model to determine regions in the United States where bioenergy crops would grow best. L-R: Atmospheric sciences professor Atul Jain, graduate student Yang Song, and agricultural and consumer economics professor Madhu Khanna.

Model evaluates where bioenergy crops grow best

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:November 21, 2014

Farmers interested in bioenergy crops now have a resource to help them determine which kind of bioenergy crop would grow best in their regions and what kind of harvest to expect. Researchers at the University of Illinois have published a study identifying yield zones for three major bioenergy crops.

Published Date: November 21, 2014


Illinois researchers developed a platform to grow and study neuron cells using tiny rolled microtubes. Pictured, left to right: Olivia Cangellaris, Paul Froeter, professor Xiuling Li, Wen Huang and professor Martha Gillette.

Microtubes create cozy space for neurons to grow, and grow fast

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:November 11, 2014

Tiny, thin microtubes could provide a scaffold for neuron cultures to grow so that researchers can study neural networks, their growth and repair, yielding insights into treatment for degenerative neurological conditions or restoring nerve connections after injury.

Published Date: November 11, 2014


Illinois astronomy professor Leslie Looney (left) and former graduate student Ian Stephens, now at Boston University, studied a newborn star to see, for the first time, the magnetic field that will shape the planets of that star's solar system.

Sculpting solar systems: Magnetic fields seen for first time

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:October 28, 2014

University of Illinois astronomers have caught their first glimpse of the invisible magnetic fields that sculpt solar systems.

Published Date: October 28, 2014


River researchers used a specially constructed model to study how water flows over gravel river beds. Postdoctoral researcher Gianluca Blois (left) and professor Jim Best also developed a technique to measure the water flow between the pore spaces in the river bed.

Rivers flow differently over gravel beds, study finds

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:October 15, 2014

River beds, where flowing water meets silt, sand and gravel, are critical ecological zones. Yet how water flows in a river with a gravel bed is very different from the traditional model of a sandy river bed, according to a new study that compares their fluid dynamics.

Published Date: October 15, 2014


Illinois professor Alek Aksimentiev and graduate student Manish Shankla found that it is possible to control how DNA goes through a graphene nanopore for sequencing by applying an electric charge to the graphene.

Charged graphene gives DNA a stage to perform molecular gymnastics

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:October 9, 2014

When Illinois researchers set out to investigate a method to control how DNA moves through a tiny sequencing device, they did not know they were about to witness a display of molecular gymnastics.

Published Date: October 9, 2014


Praveen Kumar Photo by L. Brian Stauffer  Illinois researchers found that bioenergy crops like miscanthus can store more carbon in the soil than traditional corn or soybean crops.

Bioenergy crops could store more carbon in soil

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:October 2, 2014

In addition to providing renewable energy, grass crops like switchgrass and miscanthus could store some of the carbon they pull from the atmosphere in the soil, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers.

Published Date: October 2, 2014


Topography of a red blood cell as measured by the SLIM optical technique. Though the cell keeps its shape as it ages, the membrane becomes less flexible.

Banked blood grows stiffer with age, study finds

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:September 5, 2014

It may look like fresh blood and flow like fresh blood, but the longer blood is stored, the less it can carry oxygen into the tiny microcapillaries of the body, says a new study from University of Illinois researchers.

Published Date: September 5, 2014


Professor Sheldon H. Jacobson led a study that found that, though seatbelt use drops as obesity rises, states with primary seatbelt laws saw a drop nearly nine times less than states without such laws.

Seatbelt laws encourage obese drivers to buckle up

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences

Published Date:September 2, 2014

Obesity is associated with many health risks, including heart disease and diabetes, but University of Illinois researchers have found a possible way to mitigate one often-overlooked risk: not buckling up in the car.

Published Date: September 2, 2014


University of Illinois plant biology professor Evan DeLucia and his colleagues found that land plants have the capacity to produce much more biomass than previously estimated

Study: Earth can sustain more terrestrial plant growth than previously thought

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:August 26, 2014

A new analysis suggests the planet can produce much more land-plant biomass – the total material in leaves, stems, roots, fruits, grains and other terrestrial plant parts – than previously thought.

Published Date: August 26, 2014


Professor Paul Braun and graduate student Chunjie Zhang developed a continuous glucose-monitoring system that changes color when glucose levels rise.

A glucose meter of a different color provides continuous monitoring

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:August 25, 2014

University of Illinois engineers are bringing a touch of color to glucose monitoring. The researchers developed a new continuous glucose monitoring material that changes color as glucose levels fluctuate, and the wavelength shift is so precise that doctors and patients may be able to use it for automatic insulin dosing - something not possible using current point measurements like test strips.

Published Date: August 25, 2014