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From left, University of Illinois graduate research assistant Manuel A. Ortega, chemistry professor Wilfred van der Donk, graduate student Yue Hao, biochemistry professor Satish Nair, and postdoctoral researcher Mark Walker solved a decades-old mystery into how a broad class of natural antibiotics are made.

Team discovers how microbes build a powerful antibiotic

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:October 27, 2014

Researchers report in the journal Nature that they have made a breakthrough in understanding how a powerful antibiotic agent is made in nature. Their discovery solves a decades-old mystery, and opens up new avenues of research into thousands of similar molecules, many of which are likely to be medically useful.

Published Date: October 27, 2014


University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An and his colleagues found that a majority of U.S. adults fail to meet recommended intakes of 10 key nutrients, with disabled adults faring worst.

Study: Many in U.S. have poor nutrition, with the disabled doing worst

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:October 23, 2014

A new study finds that most U.S. adults fail to meet recommended daily levels of 10 key nutrients, and those with disabilities have even worse nutrition than average.

Published Date: October 23, 2014


After experiencing power outages during a 2007 ice storm in Springfield, Missouri, Dickerson Park Zoo officials improved their backup power and heating systems to keep animals  like Henry, pictured here -- safe and warm.

Flu at the zoo and other disasters: Experts help animal exhibitors prepare for the worst

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:October 23, 2014

When bad weather strikes or illness invades, zoos and aquariums are among the most vulnerable facilities affected, said University of Illinois veterinarian Yvette Johnson-Walker, a clinical epidemiologist who contributes to emergency response training efforts at animal exhibitor institutions.

Published Date: October 23, 2014


The pigment melanin contributes to the black edges (b) on the anal fin that are a sign of dominance, while pterins account for the red and yellow colors (a) on the anal fin, and signal health. Carotenoids on the caudal fin (c) indicate that the fish is eating well. Brighter, more-intense colors are associated with better mating success.

Male bluefin killifish signal different things with different fins

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:October 20, 2014

They help fish swim, but fins also advertise a fish’s social standing and health. In a new study, researchers report that for the male bluefin killifish (Lucania goodei), each colorful fin presents its own messages to other fish.

Published Date: October 20, 2014


Beckman Institute director Arthur Kramer and his colleagues found that drivers have fewer collisions when speaking on a cell phone to a remote partner who can see the road ahead than when speaking on a cell phone to someone who has no awareness of conditions inside or outside the car.

Study: Talking while driving safest with someone who can see what you see

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:October 8, 2014

A new study offers fresh insights into how talking on a cell phone or to a passenger while driving affects one’s performance behind the wheel. The study used a driving simulator and videophone to assess how a driver’s conversation partner influences safety on the road.

Published Date: October 8, 2014


University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum is the recipient of the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology.

Entomology professor May Berenbaum awarded National Medal of Science

Author: Phil Ciciora, News Editor

Published Date:October 3, 2014

University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum is the recipient of the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology.

Published Date: October 3, 2014