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Researchers have developed a new drug that kills estrogen receptor-positive cancers in mice. The team, from left, includes M.D./Ph.D students Neal Andruska, Lily Mahapatra and Mathew Cherian; graduate student Xiaobin Zheng; food science and human nutrition professor William Helferich; research scientist Chengjian Mao; and biochemistry professor David Shapiro

New drug stalls estrogen receptor-positive cancer cells and shrinks tumors

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:March 30, 2015

An experimental drug rapidly shrinks most tumors in a mouse model of human breast cancer, researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. When mice were treated with the experimental drug, BHPI, “the tumors immediately stopped growing and began shrinking rapidly,” said University of Illinois biochemistry professor and senior author David Shapiro. “In just 10 days, 48 out of the 52 tumors stopped growing, and most shrank 30 to 50 percent.”

Published Date: March 30, 2015


Plant biology professor Stephen Long and colleagues report on advances and challenges in improving plant photosynthesis.

Report: Photosynthesis hack needed to feed the world by 2050

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:March 26, 2015

Using high-performance computing and genetic engineering to boost the photosynthetic efficiency of plants offers the best hope of increasing crop yields enough to feed a planet expected to have 9.5 billion people on it by 2050, researchers report in the journal Cell.

Published Date: March 26, 2015


Plant biology professor Ray Ming and his colleagues discovered that papaya cultivation 4,000 years ago likely led to the evolution of hermaphrodite plants, which are favored by growers today.

Cultivated papaya owes a lot to the ancient Maya, research suggests

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:March 17, 2015

A genetic study of papaya sex chromosomes reveals that the hermaphrodite version of the plant, which is of most use to growers, arose as a result of human selection, most likely by the ancient Maya some 4,000 years ago.

Published Date: March 17, 2015


Animated videos teach survival gardening. From left: Carl Burkybile, agricultural director of Healing Hands International, worked with entomology professor Barry Pittendrigh, animator Benjamin Blalock, Center for African Studies assistant director Julia Bello-Bravo and animator Anna Perez Sabater to develop the videos, which HHI distributes around the world.

Survival gardening education goes global via cellphones

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:March 16, 2015

Subsistence farmers in Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean are learning how to construct raised planting beds and install drip irrigation systems to boost their agricultural productivity, conserve water and perhaps even halt the rapid advance of desertification in some drought-prone regions.

Published Date: March 16, 2015


Microbiology professor Steven Blanke is now a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Two Illinois professors elected to American Academy of Microbiology

Author: Austin Keating, News Bureau intern

Published Date:March 12, 2015

Two University of Illinois professors have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology. Steven Blanke and Bryan White are among the 79 microbiologists chosen by their peers for this honor.

Published Date: March 12, 2015


University of Illinois animal biology professor Rebecca Fuller and her colleagues found that killifish females that learn to avoid mating with other species also discriminate among members of their own species.

Female fish that avoid mating with related species also shun some of their own

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:March 5, 2015

A new study offers insight into a process that could lead one species to diverge into two, researchers report in The American Naturalist.

Published Date: March 5, 2015