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Illinois researchers are using plastic that shrinks when heated to pack nanowires together for electronics applications.

Shrinky Dinks close the gap for nanowires

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:July 1, 2014

Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are using Shrinky Dinks, plastic that shrinks under high heat, to close the gap between nanowires in an array to make them useful for high-performance electronics applications.

Published Date: July 1, 2014


Tiny walking bio-bots are powered by muscle cells and controlled by an electric field.

Muscle-powered bio-bots walk on command

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:June 30, 2014

A new generation of miniature biological robots is flexing its muscle. Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign demonstrated a class of walking “bio-bots” powered by muscle cells and controlled with electrical pulses, giving researchers unprecedented command over their function.

Published Date: June 30, 2014


Professor Naira Hovakimyan was honored with a Humboldt Research Award for her work with adaptive flight control systems.

Mechanical science and engineering professor wins Humboldt Prize

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:June 3, 2014

University of Illinois mechanical science and engineering professor Naira Hovakimyan has been chosen to receive the prestigious Humboldt Research Award (or Humboldt Prize) honoring a career of research achievements.

Published Date: June 3, 2014


Professor Ning Wang led a team that found the precise combination of mechanical forces, chemistry and timing to help stem cells differentiate into three germ layers, the first step toward developing specialized tissues and organs.

Stem cells take initial step toward development in the lab

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:May 30, 2014

The gap between stem cell research and regenerative medicine just became a lot narrower, thanks to a new technique that coaxes stem cells, with potential to become any tissue type, to take the first step to specialization. It is the first time this critical step has been demonstrated in a laboratory.

Published Date: May 30, 2014


University of Illinois chemistry professor Martin Burke led a team that discovered a simple system to synthesize a large class of medically important molecules using only 12 different chemical building blocks.

Making better medicines with a handful of chemical building blocks

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:May 19, 2014

Soon, making and improving medical drugs could be as easy for chemists as stacking blocks is for a child.

Published Date: May 19, 2014


Illinois researchers have developed materials that not only heal, but regenerate. The restorative material is delivered through two, isolated fluid streams (dyed red and blue). The liquid immediately gels and later hardens, resulting in recovery of the entire damaged region. This image is halfway through the restoration process.

Regenerating plastic grows back after damage

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:May 8, 2014

Looking at a smooth sheet of plastic in one University of Illinois laboratory, no one would guess that an impact had recently blasted a hole through it. Illinois researchers have developed materials that not only heal, but regenerate. Until now, self-repairing materials could only bond tiny microscopic cracks. The new regenerating materials fill in large cracks and holes by regrowing material.

Published Date: May 8, 2014


Professor Bruce Schatz and colleagues developed a smartphone app, GaitTrack, which monitors chronic heart and lung patients by analyzing the way they walk.

GaitTrack app makes cellphone a medical monitor for heart and lung patients

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:May 6, 2014

By simply carrying around their cellphones, patients who suffer from chronic disease could soon have an accurate health monitor that warns their doctors when their symptoms worsen.

Published Date: May 6, 2014


University of Illinois chemists developed analogs of a new tuberculosis drug that could treat many other diseases and defy resistance. From left, research scientist Lici A. Schurig-Briccio, undergraduate Shannon Bogue, graduate student Xinxin Feng, research scientist Kai Li and chemistry professor Eric Oldfield.

Multitarget TB drug could treat other diseases, evade resistance

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:April 17, 2014

A drug under clinical trials to treat tuberculosis could be the basis for a class of broad-spectrum drugs that act against various bacteria, fungal infections and parasites, yet evade resistance, according to a study by University of Illinois chemists and collaborators.

Published Date: April 17, 2014


Thin, soft stick-on patches that stretch and move with the skin incorporate commercial, off-the-shelf chip-based electronics for sophisticated wireless health monitoring. The new device was developed by John A. Rogers of Illinois and Yonggang Huang of Northwestern University.

Off the shelf, on the skin: Stick-on electronic patches for health monitoring

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:April 3, 2014

Wearing a fitness tracker on your wrist or clipped to your belt is so 2013. Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University have demonstrated thin, soft stick-on patches that stretch and move with the skin and incorporate commercial, off-the-shelf chip-based electronics for sophisticated wireless health monitoring.

Published Date: April 3, 2014


Professors Praveen Kumar, right, and Stephen Long developed a computer modeling system to help plant scientists breed soybean crops that produce more and use less water.

Scientists say new computer model amounts to a lot more than a hill of beans

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:April 3, 2014

Crops that produce more while using less water seem like a dream for a world with a burgeoning population and already strained food and water resources. This dream is coming closer to reality for University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers who have developed a new computer model that can help plant scientists breed better soybean crops.

Published Date: April 3, 2014