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A new course co-developed by plant science professor Katy Heath teaches graduate students skills such as communicating about their research with nonscientists and developing educational outreach programs. Part of the Amplify the Signal course: graduate students, from left, front row, Cassandra Wesseln, Jennifer Han and Miranda Haus; back row, Rhiannon Peery, Christina Silliman and Heath.

Aspiring scientists learning to translate their research into language public understands

Author: Sharita Forrest, News Editor

Published Date:April 3, 2014

Communicating the relevance of one’s scientific research to general audiences and developing educational outreach programs are critical to the career success of college professors and researchers, but graduate curricula often fail to help students cultivate these essential skills.

Published Date: April 3, 2014


University of Illinois cell and developmental biology professor Fei Wang, left; visiting scholar Qiuhao Qu, center; materials science and engineering professor Jianjun Cheng; and their colleagues improved the process of converting stem cells into motor neurons. (Neurons are green; motor neurons are red in the image on the screen).

Team finds a better way to grow motor neurons from stem cells

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:March 31, 2014

Researchers report they can generate human motor neurons from stem cells much more quickly and efficiently than previous methods allowed. The finding, described in Nature Communications, will aid efforts to model human motor neuron development, and to understand and treat spinal cord injuries and motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Published Date: March 31, 2014


Gillen DArcy Wood, a professor of English, is the author of Tambora: The Eruption That Changed the World, that documents the aftereffects of an 1815 volcanic eruption, the largest in recorded history. In his book, Wood describes the broad-ranging consequences, including climatic cooling, a worldwide cholera pandemic, a boom in opium production and an economic depression in the U.S.

New book tells the story of a little-known volcano's global impact

Author: Dusty Rhodes, Arts and Humanities Editor

Published Date:March 20, 2014

The 200th anniversary of the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history will be marked by the publication of a new book by University of Illinois professor Gillen D’Arcy Wood. If you think the title character might be Vesuvius, or Krakatoa, or maybe Pinatubo, you’re wrong. Wood’s focus is Tambora – a mountain in the Indonesian archipelago that erupted so violently in April of 1815 that today, it is ranked as “super colossal” on the scientific Volcanic Explosivity Index. And the explosion was only the first dose of Tambora’s destructive power.

Published Date: March 20, 2014


Three University of Illinois professors  from left, P. Brighton Godfrey, Prashant Jain and Shinsei Ryu 'have been selected to receive 2014 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Three faculty members awarded 2014 Sloan Fellowships

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:February 18, 2014

Three University of Illinois professors have been selected to receive 2014 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Published Date: February 18, 2014


Michelle Kelley, of Schaumburg, Ill., is one of 40 students to receive a prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

U. of I. senior wins Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Published Date:February 13, 2014

A senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is among the recipients of this year’s prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

Published Date: February 13, 2014


Used plastic shopping bags can be converted into petroleum products that serve a multitude of purposes.

Plastic shopping bags make a fine diesel fuel, researchers report

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:February 12, 2014

Plastic shopping bags, an abundant source of litter on land and at sea, can be converted into diesel, natural gas and other useful petroleum products, researchers report.

Published Date: February 12, 2014


University of Illinois chemistry professor Zaida Luthey-Schulten and physics professor Taekjip Ha led a study of how the ribosome assembles itself.

Advanced techniques yield new insights into ribosome self-assembly

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:February 12, 2014

Ribosomes, the cellular machines that build proteins, are themselves made up of dozens of proteins and a few looping strands of RNA. A new study, reported in the journal Nature, offers new clues about how the ribosome, the master assembler of proteins, also assembles itself.

Published Date: February 12, 2014


Professor J. Gary Eden was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his work in micro-plasma and laser technologies.

Illinois professor elected to National Academy of Engineering

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:February 6, 2014

J. Gary Eden, the Gilmore Family Professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering.

Published Date: February 6, 2014


A close-up of an elastic polymer that was cut in two and healed overnight.

Off-the-shelf materials lead to self-healing polymers

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:February 4, 2014

Look out, super glue and paint thinner. Thanks to new dynamic materials developed at the University of Illinois, removable paint and self-healing plastics soon could be household products.

Published Date: February 4, 2014


A new 3-D imaging technique for live cells uses a conventional microscope to capture image slices throughout the depth of the cell, then computationally renders them into one three-dimensional image. The technique uses no dyes or chemicals, allowing researchers to observe cells in their natural state.

3-D imaging provides window into living cells, no dye required

Author: Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor

Published Date:January 21, 2014

Living cells are ready for their close-ups, thanks to a new imaging technique that needs no dyes or other chemicals, yet renders high-resolution, three-dimensional, quantitative imagery of cells and their internal structures – all with conventional microscopes and white light.

Published Date: January 21, 2014