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University of Illinois Beckman Institute postdoctoral researcher Agnieszka Burzynska and her colleagues analyzed the brain and cognition of Olga Kotelko, a 93-year-old track-and-field athlete. Burzynska is now a professor at Colorado State University.

The nonagenarian athlete: Researchers study Olga Kotelko's brain

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:August 17, 2015

In the summer of 2012, Olga Kotelko, a 93-year-old Canadian track-and-field athlete with more than 30 world records in her age group, visited the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois and submitted to an in-depth analysis of her brain.

Published Date: August 17, 2015


Postdoctoral researcher Laura Chaddock-Heyman, U. of I. kinesiology and community health professor Charles Hillman and their colleagues found that higher-fit kids had thinner gray matter and better mathematics achievement than their lower-fit peers.

Study links fitness, thinner gray matter and better math skills in kids

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:August 12, 2015

A new study reveals that 9- and 10-year-old children who are aerobically fit tend to have significantly thinner gray matter than their “lower-fit” peers. Thinning of the outermost layer of brain cells in the cerebrum is associated with better mathematics performance, researchers report in the journal PLOS ONE.

Published Date: August 12, 2015


University of Illinois graduate student Zachary Horne, left, psychology professor John Hummel and their colleagues developed an intervention that moderated anti-vaccination views.

Simple intervention can moderate anti-vaccination beliefs, study finds

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:August 3, 2015

It might not be possible to convince someone who believes that vaccines cause autism that they don’t. Telling skeptics that their belief is not scientifically supported often backfires and strengthens, rather than weakens, their anti-vaccine views. But researchers say they have found a way to overcome some of the most entrenched anti-vaccine attitudes: Remind the skeptics – with words and images – why vaccines exist.

Published Date: August 3, 2015


U. of I. postdoctoral researcher Katarzyna Glowacka, left, crop sciences professor Erik Sacks, visiting scholar Shailendra Sharma and their colleagues found that chill-tolerant sugarcane hybrids, called miscanes, also photosynthesize at lower temperatures.

Chill-tolerant hybrid sugarcane also grows at lower temperatures

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:July 28, 2015

U.S. farmers have long hoped to extend sugarcane’s growing range northward from the Gulf coast, substantially increasing the land available for sugar and biofuels. Several hybrid canes developed in the 1980s have proved hardy in cooler climes, surviving overwinter as far north as Booneville, Arkansas. But until now, no one had tested whether these “miscanes,” as they are called, actually photosynthesize, and thus continue to grow, when the thermometer dips.

Published Date: July 28, 2015


Mowing wetland plants can increase populations of mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus, researchers report.

Mowing dry detention basins makes mosquito problems worse, team finds

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:July 22, 2015

A study of the West Nile virus risk associated with “dry” water-detention basins in Central Illinois took an unexpected turn when land managers started mowing the basins. The mowing of wetland plants in basins that failed to drain properly led to a boom in populations of Culex pipiens mosquitoes, which can carry and transmit the deadly virus, researchers report.

Published Date: July 22, 2015


Graduate student Daniel Raudabaugh, left, and mycologist Andrew Miller, of the Illinois Natural History Survey, found a naturally produced compound that inhibits the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats.

Yeast byproduct inhibits white-nose syndrome fungus in lab experiments

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:July 21, 2015

A microbe found in caves produces a compound that inhibits Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats, researchers report in the journal Mycopathologia. The finding could lead to treatments that kill the fungus while minimizing disruption to cave ecosystems, the researchers say.

Published Date: July 21, 2015