blog postsPhysical SciencesAgricultureEngineeringLife SciencesCorn better used as food than biofuel, study findsJun 20, 2017 9:00 am1154 views Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers at the University of Illinois have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs.BusinessEngineeringPhysical SciencesIncreased number of female engineers in managerial roles brings unintended consequencesJun 5, 2017 12:45 pm1528 views Increased female representation in the managerial ranks of engineering organizations may add another layer of sex segregation on top of the one it’s intended to mitigate, says a new paper from U. of I. labor professor M. Teresa Cardador.Physical SciencesEngineeringMetal-ion catalysts and hydrogen peroxide could green up plastics productionJun 5, 2017 9:15 am401 views Researchers at the University of Illinois are contributing to the development of more environmentally friendly catalysts for the production of plastic and resin precursors that are often derived from fossil fuels. The key to their technique comes from recognizing the unique physical and chemical properties of certain metals and how they react with hydrogen peroxide.HealthEngineeringLife SciencesChemical array draws out malignant cells to guide individualized cancer treatmentMay 26, 2017 11:00 am728 views Melanoma is a particularly difficult cancer to treat once it has metastasized, spreading throughout the body. University of Illinois researchers are using chemistry to find the deadly, elusive malignant cells within a melanoma tumor that hold the potential to spread.HealthEngineeringPhysical SciencesStudy: Higher mass transit use associated with lower obesity ratesMay 16, 2017 10:30 am2694 views Healthy mass transit systems could contribute to healthier communities, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers that determined higher mass transit use was correlated with lower obesity rates in counties across the United States.Physical SciencesEngineeringSelf-healing tech charges up performance for silicon-containing battery anodesMay 15, 2017 8:30 am955 views Researchers at the University of Illinois have found a way to apply self-healing technology to lithium-ion batteries to make them more reliable and last longer.EngineeringPhysical SciencesElectroplating delivers high-energy, high-power batteriesMay 12, 2017 2:00 pm905 views The process that makes gold-plated jewelry or chrome car accents is now making powerful lithium-ion batteries.Physical SciencesEngineeringResearchers develop transistors that can switch between two stable energy statesMay 9, 2017 8:30 am1112 views Engineers are unveiling an upgrade to the transistor laser that could be used to boost computer processor speeds – the formation of two stable energy states and the ability to switch between them quickly. EngineeringA little support from their online friends calms test-anxious studentsApr 27, 2017 10:00 am1123 views Reading supportive comments, “likes” and private messages from social media friends prior to taking a test may help college students who have high levels of test-anxiety reduce their nervousness by 21 percent and improve their scores, researchers at the University of Illinois found.Physical SciencesEngineeringEngineers shine light on deadly landslideApr 26, 2017 12:30 pm498 views A new report by University of Illinois civil and environmental engineering professor Tim Stark and colleagues details the factors that led to the deadliest landslide on record in the continental United States, along with steps that can be taken to mitigate landslide consequences and risk in the Pacific Northwest.Life SciencesAgricultureEngineeringHealthPhysical SciencesSocial SciencesScience at Illinois feeds the world, furthers health, protects the planetApr 17, 2017 8:30 am1112 views Illinois scientists are helping power plants run more efficiently, designing better, longer-lasting batteries, finding new ways to target cancerous tumors, and developing robots that can aid in construction, in agricultural fields and even inside the human body.HealthEngineeringLife SciencesNanopores could map small changes in DNA that signal big shifts in cancerApr 12, 2017 10:00 am972 views Detecting cancer early, just as changes are beginning in DNA, could enhance diagnosis and treatment as well as further our understanding of the disease. A new study by University of Illinois researchers describes a method to detect, count and map tiny additions to DNA called methylations, which can be a warning sign of cancer, with unprecedented resolution.HealthEngineeringLife SciencesCRISPR mines bacterial genome for hidden pharmaceutical treasureApr 10, 2017 10:00 am1041 views In the fight against disease, many weapons in the medicinal arsenal have been plundered from bacteria themselves. Using CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology, researchers have now uncovered even more potential treasure hidden in silent genes.AgricultureEngineeringHand-picked specialty crops ‘ripe’ for precision agriculture techniquesMar 2, 2017 9:15 am2291 views Using precision agriculture, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed an algorithm to help producers of hand-picked crops such as strawberries determine the optimal time to transport their highly perishable crop from the field to cold storage.HealthEngineeringLife SciencesPhysical SciencesTumor-targeting system uses cancer’s own mechanisms to betray its locationFeb 14, 2017 9:00 am2957 views By hijacking a cancer cell’s own metabolism, researchers have found a way to tag and target elusive cancers with small-molecule sugars. This opens treatment pathways for cancers that are not responsive to conventional targeted antibodies, such as triple-negative breast cancer.EngineeringPhysical SciencesDual-function nanorod LEDs could make multifunctional displaysFeb 9, 2017 1:00 pm1964 views Cellphones and other devices could soon be controlled with touchless gestures and charge themselves using ambient light, thanks to new LED arrays that can both emit and detect light.ArtsEngineeringIllinois technician combines engineering and creativity in a DIY synthesizerJan 27, 2017 8:45 am1508 views Skot Wiedmann, an electronics technician and art instructor at the University of Illinois, built his Hyve Touch Synthesizer to inspire interdisciplinary work between engineers and musicians, and to allow people to explore music in a creative and fun way.HealthEngineeringLife SciencesPhysical SciencesTiny exports signal big shifts in cancer tissue, researchers findJan 25, 2017 1:30 pm1097 views Microscopic shifts in metabolism and increases in tiny transport vesicles out of tumor cells preface larger changes to the tumor environment and could prepare the way for cancerous cells to spread and metastasize, University of Illinois researchers report.HonorsAgricultureAnnouncementsEngineeringHealthLife SciencesPhysical SciencesEight Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influentialNov 18, 2016 9:15 am6194 views Eight University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters / Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list for 2016. The list identifies scientists “whose research has had significant global impact within their respective fields of study."Expert ViewpointsEngineeringLife SciencesPhysical SciencesIs Academia Waking Up to the Problem of Sexual Harassment?Sep 19, 2016 2:15 pm3232 views U. of I. anthropology professor Kathryn Clancy supports a federal legislative effort that would require universities to report – and federal funding agencies to consider – findings that any university professor engaged in discrimination on the basis of sex. EngineeringPhysical SciencesStructural, regulatory and human error were factors in Washington highway bridge collapseAug 24, 2016 9:00 am2408 views When an important bridge collapsed on Interstate 5 near Mount Vernon, Washington, in 2013, questions were raised about how such a catastrophic failure could occur. A new analysis by a team of civil engineering faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign outlines the many factors that led to the collapse, as well as steps that transportation departments can take to prevent such accidents on other bridges of similar design.Life SciencesEngineeringPhysical SciencesForce triggers gene expression by stretching chromatinAug 22, 2016 10:00 am1212 views A new study by University of Illinois researchers and collaborators in China has demonstrated that external mechanical force can directly regulate gene expression.Life SciencesEngineeringPhysical SciencesGenome-editing proteins ride a DNA zip lineAug 15, 2016 1:30 pm886 views For gene-editing proteins to be useful in clinical applications, they need to be able to find the specific site they’re supposed to edit among billions of DNA sequences. Using advanced imaging techniques, University of Illinois researchers have found that one class of genome-editing proteins rapidly travels along a strand of DNA like a rider on a zip line – a unique behavior among documented DNA-binding proteins.Expert ViewpointsEngineeringSocial SciencesWhat are the challenges of providing services for children with mental illnesses?Aug 12, 2016 9:00 am753 views Wynne Korr, dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois, discusses the challenges of diagnosing and providing treatment for this vulnerable population in light of the state's financial problemsPhysical SciencesEngineeringMethod opens a window on how stress and strain affect battery performanceAug 1, 2016 12:15 pm1461 views Batteries that charge faster and have greater capacity could boost portable electronic devices and electric cars. A new method to simultaneously test stress and strain in battery electrodes gives researchers a window into the mechanical, electrical and chemical forces within lithium-ion batteries. The method revealed an unexpected point of stress in the charging cycle, which could guide development of better batteries.EngineeringPhysical SciencesChemical etching method helps transistors stand tallJul 25, 2016 10:15 am1092 views University of Illinois researchers have developed a way to etch very tall, narrow finFETs, a type of transistor that forms a tall semiconductor “fin” for the current to travel over.AgricultureEngineeringLife SciencesPhysical SciencesMeasure of age in soil nitrogen could help precision agricultureJul 25, 2016 8:00 am1542 views University of Illinois engineers developed a model to calculate the age of nitrogen in corn and soybean fields, which could lead to improved fertilizer application techniques to promote crop growth while reducing leaching.EngineeringPhysical SciencesReclaimed water could help power plants run more efficiently, study findsMay 12, 2016 10:00 am3426 views The water going down the drain could help keep the lights on, according to a new study showing that reclaimed water – municipal wastewater that has been treated or cleaned – could be more efficient for cooling power plants than water taken from the local environment.HealthEngineeringLife SciencesPhysical SciencesVeterinary MedicineShape of tumor may affect whether cells can metastasizeApr 27, 2016 10:45 am2266 views Only a few cells in a cancerous tumor are able to break away and spread to other parts of the body, but the curve along the edge of the tumor may play a large role in activating these tumor-seeding cells, according to a new University of Illinois study.EngineeringPhysical SciencesRecord-speed data transmission could make big data more accessibleMar 22, 2016 9:45 am5441 views With record-breaking speeds for fiber-optic data transmission, University of Illinois engineers have paved a fast lane on the information superhighway – creating on-ramps for big data in the process.EngineeringLife SciencesPhysical SciencesLight illuminates the way for bio-botsMar 14, 2016 2:00 pm2278 views A new class of miniature biological robots, or bio-bots, has seen the light – and is following where the light shines.EngineeringPhysical SciencesLight helps the transistor laser switch fasterMar 9, 2016 8:30 am1791 views Light and electrons interact in a complex dance within fiber optic devices. A new study by University of Illinois engineers found that in the transistor laser, a device for next-generation high-speed computing, the light and electrons spur one another on to faster switching speeds than any devices available.HealthEngineeringLife SciencesPhysical SciencesTiny electronic implants monitor brain injury, then melt awayJan 18, 2016 10:00 am5479 views A new class of small, thin electronic sensors can monitor temperature and pressure within the skull – crucial health parameters after a brain injury or surgery – then melt away when they are no longer needed, eliminating the need for additional surgery to remove the monitors and reducing the risk of infection and hemorrhage.EngineeringPhysical SciencesMaking the invisible visible: Color-changing indicators highlight microscopic damageJan 13, 2016 9:15 am2560 views Damage developing in a material can be difficult to see until something breaks or fails. A new polymer damage indication system automatically highlights areas that are cracked, scratched or stressed, allowing engineers to address problem areas before they become more problematic.EducationEngineeringCore curriculum committee formed for Carle Illinois College of MedicineDec 10, 2015 9:00 am2109 views Dr. Robert Good and professor Rashid Bashir have been named co-chairs of the 18-member group that will lead the effort to build the engineering-based Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s core curriculum. EngineeringPhysical SciencesNanostructured metal coatings let the light through for electrical devicesDec 8, 2015 9:15 am1590 views Light and electricity dance a complicated tango in devices like LEDs, solar cells and sensors. A new anti-reflection coating developed by engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, lets light through without hampering the flow of electricity, a step that could increase efficiency in such devices.HealthEngineeringLife SciencesPhysical SciencesPortable device can quickly determine the extent of an eye injuryDec 8, 2015 8:45 am2007 views An engineer and an ophthalmologist are working together to develop a portable sensor that can quickly and inexpensively determine whether an eye injury is mild or severe. The device, called OcuCheck, works by measuring levels of vitamin C in the fluids that coat or leak from the eye. The sensor could speed efforts to determine the extent of eye injuries at accident sites, in rural areas lacking ophthalmology specialists or on the battlefield, the researchers said.EngineeringCampusEducationPhysical SciencesIllinois physics professor named national Professor of the YearNov 19, 2015 8:30 am8270 views Mats Selen, professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been named Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.Physical SciencesEngineeringNanopores could take the salt out of seawaterNov 10, 2015 1:45 pm7355 views University of Illinois engineers have found an energy-efficient material for removing salt from seawater that could provide a rebuttal to poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s lament, “Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink.”EngineeringLife SciencesPhysical SciencesNew life for EBICS project will create bio-machines to improve healthNov 6, 2015 3:30 pm244 views By studying the behavior of living cells and combining them with synthetic tissue, researchers are creating “biological machines” to deliver drugs more effectively, function as internal diagnostic tools or serve as contaminant sensors in the field.EngineeringCampusCarle Illinois College of Medicine research affiliation agreement completedNov 2, 2015 9:00 am752 views Leaders of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Carle Health System announced the completion of a set of agreements and policies related to joint research practices and governance of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.Physical SciencesEngineeringHealthLife SciencesBacterial hole puncher could be new broad-spectrum antibioticOct 27, 2015 11:00 am2395 views Bacteria have many methods of adapting to resist antibiotics, but a new class of spiral polypeptides developed at the University of Illinois targets one thing no bacterium can live without: an outer membrane.CampusEngineeringHealthCommittee to identify, recruit founding dean for Carle Illinois College of MedicineSep 30, 2015 10:00 am2687 views A search committee established to find the Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s inaugural dean will begin its work this month with the goal of naming the dean by spring 2016Expert ViewpointsEngineeringPhysical SciencesIs backscatter X-ray a safe tool for airport security?Sep 29, 2015 12:00 pm290 views A Minute With...™ Sheldon Jacobson, expert on airport securityHealthEngineeringLife SciencesPhysical SciencesSurgical probe seeks out where cancer ends and healthy tissue beginsSep 15, 2015 12:00 pm3035 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – A new surgical tool that uses light to make sure surgeons removing cancerous tumors “got it all” was found to correlate well with traditional pathologists’ diagnoses in a clinical study, showing that the tool could soon enable reliable, real-time guidance for surgeons.ArtsEngineeringAmpliMy project to give a voice to those who have trouble being heardSep 15, 2015 9:45 am1845 views Alexis Wernsing, a University of Illinois student majoring in art history, has cerebral palsy, and her voice is not powerful. She is working with industrial design professor Deana McDonagh and Skot Wiedmann, a graduate of the School of Art and Design and a technician in electrical and computer engineering, who will design and build a voice amplifier called AmpliMy.ArtsEngineeringIndustrial designer will help make wearable health-monitoring electronics comfortable, easy to useSep 15, 2015 9:30 am864 views University of Illinois researchers are taking the skin-mounted electronics developed on campus and making a wearable health-monitoring device that could measure a person’s vital signs and provide information to help his or her doctor better monitor the patient’s health.EngineeringPhysical SciencesPaper tubes make stiff origami structuresSep 7, 2015 2:00 pm6120 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – From shipping and construction to outer space, origami could put a folded twist on structural engineering.Physical SciencesEngineeringHealthLife SciencesNew synthetic tumor environments make cancer research more realisticAug 27, 2015 1:00 pm861 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Tumors are notoriously difficult to study in their natural habitat – body tissues – but a new synthetic tissue environment may give cancer researchers the next-best look at tumor growth and behavior.Physical SciencesEngineeringLife SciencesGenomics to surpass the biggest data producers, experts warnJul 7, 2015 1:00 pm304 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Each cell in the body contains a whole genome, yet the data packed into a few DNA molecules could fill a hard drive. As more people have their DNA sequenced, that data will require massive computational and storage capabilities beyond anything previously anticipated, says a new assessment from computational biologists and computer scientists at the University of Illinois and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.