News

  • 03/26/2020 - New Atlas, March 24, 2020 - Scrunching graphene up into a wrinkled mess rather than a neat, flat sheet is a technique being explored by researchers pursuing a number of new technologies. These have included using crumpled balls as components for better batteries, combining them with rubber to form artificial muscles, or bunching crumpled graphene balls together for next-generation energy storage. What excites the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign team is crumpled graphene’s potential in biosensing applications where it could spot disease when other diagnostic tools cannot. The scientists see particular promise when it comes to finding subtle biomarkers for cancer that can hide in nucleic acids like DNA and RNA, as our current methods of detecting them have plenty of room for improvement.

  • 03/20/2020 - The Wildlife Society, March 20, 2020: "We always wanted to know, how does a host start to recognize a new threat?” said Matt Louder, lead author of the study published in Scientific Reports, who conducted the research as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Illinois. Louder, who is now an ecologist at the environmental consulting firm H.T. Harvey and Associates, said they already knew some red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) don’t attack the cowbirds when they are unfamiliar because they don’t share the same habitat or geographic area.

  • 03/09/2020 - blog posts CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A diet including daily avocado consumption improves the ability to focus attention in adults whose measurements of height and weight are categorized as overweight or obese, a new randomized control trial found. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted the 12-week study, published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology. “Previous work has shown that individuals with overweight and obesity are at higher risk for cognitive decline and dementia in older age,” said kinesiology and community health professor Naiman Khan, who led the study. “We are interested in whether dietary approaches may have benefits for cognitive health, especially in midlife.”

  • 03/04/2020 - Nutrition, Wellness, and the Brain is a free 6-part series taught by Corinne Cannavale, a graduate student in the Neuroscience Program at the University of Illinois. Attend all 6 sessions, or simply drop in on the sessions that fit your schedule. This program will be hosted at Lodgic, if you are in need of daycare or lunch, please check out their services.  They do offer Kids Camp which is a DCFS licensed care center. Therefore they are able to accommodate children/families who have registered and completed the necessary paperwork. Families can find enrollment information by visiting their website at www.lodgic.org/kids-camp-membership-plans or by stopping by the center to get a first-hand look and speak with a member of their Kids Camp team. 

  • 03/03/2020 - CSL Assistant Professor Lav R Varshney is featured in a new YouTube Originals series “The Age of A.I.” Varshney shares his expertise as the episode explores using artificial intelligence to build a better human. Hosted by Robert Downey Jr., the episode investigates augmenting human abilities with A.I. and our reliance on A.I. to make decisions for us.

  • 02/28/2020 - Neuroscience Program alumna, Jill Becker is being honored at the upcoming 30th Anniversary Annual Awards Dinner for the Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR). She received her PhD at the Urbana-Champaign campus while working with Victor Rameriz in the early stages of the Neuroscience Program when it was known as “Neural & Behavioral Biology”. Her research focused then on the effects of estrogens in the brain. Her dissertation, “Sex Differences in Catecholamine Release from Brain Tissue in vitro” was presented before her committee, Victor Ramirez, Gary Jackson, William Greenough, Edward Roy, Martha Gillete, and Sue Carter-Porges, many of whom take credit for the strong foundation of today’s neuroscience program.

  • 02/27/2020 - Naiman Khan, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health and principal investigator of the Body Composition & Nutritional Neuroscience Laboratory. His research utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to integrate knowledge in the disciplines of dietetics, body composition, and cognitive neuroscience to understand the interactions between nutrition, abdominal adiposity, and cognitive and brain health in the pediatric and adult populations. The knowledge gained from this work is used to develop effective dietary interventions to mitigate the detrimental effects of obesity and metabolic risk on physical and mental health. Prof. Khan received his BS (2006) in Nutritional Sciences from Louisiana State University in 2006, followed by an MS (2009) and PhD (2012) in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • 02/27/2020 - Fan Lam's enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research has earned him a National Science Foundation CAREER award and more than $500,000 to support his project, “Ultrahigh-Resolution Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging for Label-Free Molecular Imaging of the Brain." As a researcher and assistant professor in Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lam is developing advanced MRI technology to study the brain — how it functions, how it is affected by central nervous system disorders, and how to better detect and treat those diseases.

  • 02/26/2020 - Global health organizations recommend breast milk as the ideal source of nutrients for babies. However, breastfeeding may not be possible for all women due to specific medical situations, lifestyles, or comfort levels. For individuals that either cannot or choose not to breastfeed, infant formula serves as a convenient and healthy alternative. Nutritional technologies being incorporated into infant formulas are continually improving to more closely mimic the essential components that are in breast milk. Polar lipids are structural components of neural tissue that may play important roles in supporting brain development in the infant. Therefore, we were interested in investigating the longitudinal effects of dietary polar lipid ingestion on cognitive and structural brain development in the biomedical pig model

  • 02/26/2020 - Nancy McElwain, a professor of human development and family studies, will discuss “Children in the Wild: Developmental Theory Meets Engineering Solutions” at the second spring Director’s Seminar. Her talk begins at noon March 5, in Room 1005 Beckman. Lunch is provided.

  • 02/25/2020 - CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — In a new study, researchers report they can manipulate how the brain encodes and retains emotional memories. The scientists found that focusing on the neutral details of a disturbing scene can weaken a person’s later memories – and negative impressions – of that scene. The findings, reported in the journal Neuropsychologia, could lead to the development of methods to increase psychological resilience in people who are likely to experience traumatic events – like soldiers, police officers or firefighters. Those plagued by depression or anxiety might also benefit from this kind of strategy, the researchers said. “We were interested in different properties of memories that are typically enhanced by emotion,” said Florin Dolcos, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who led the study with psychology professor Sanda Dolcos. “The idea was to see whether by engaging in an emotional-regulation strategy we can influence those types of memory properties.”

  • 02/18/2020 - CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A new study of 55 women found that two of the most popular forms of bariatric surgery – Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy – may dramatically change patients’ sensitivity to and absorption of alcohol. Some women’s sensitivity to alcohol increased so much after bariatric surgery that the amount they could consume before feeling the effects was reduced by half compared with their pre-surgery drinking habits, while others had reduced sensitivity, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found. After consuming an alcoholic beverage that was equivalent to having two standard drinks, women who had gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy surgery experienced blood alcohol-concentration peaks sooner and about twice as high – 50% above the .08% blood alcohol content that’s the legal threshold for drunk driving in many states – compared with gastric band patients.

  • 02/14/2020 - Scientific and public appreciation for microbes — and the key role their communal actions play in environmental health, food production, and human wellness — has grown in recent years. While initially considered to be static, uniform entities, microbial communities are highly complex and contain internal chemical swapfests that are in constant flux.

  • 02/12/2020 - A black-and-white Boston terrier named Chevy, as sleek and dapper as a seal in a tuxedo, trots crisply into the soundproof testing room. His jaunty confidence will fade quickly as a team of researchers subjects him to a series of psychological experiments that will daunt, dismay, and ultimately baffle him. Poor Chevy is about to be gaslit for the sake of science. This spiffy little terrier is volunteer number one on day number one of an ambitious project launched by Harvard University evolutionary neuroscientist Erin Hecht to answer basic questions about what dogs do and why they do it. She plans to collect data on the psychology and behavior of hundreds of them across all breeds over many years: how easily they make friends, how well they behave, how they feel about vacuum cleaners. Four video cameras document Chevy’s reactions to an experimenter’s precisely scripted maneuvers. From a reception room next door, the rest of Hecht’s team watches through a one-way mirror.

  • 02/06/2020 - Since 1969, when the first two awards were conferred on founding members Chester Darrow and R.C. Davis, the Society for Psychophysiological Research (SPR) has recognized the outstanding and sustained contributions of some of its most prominent members with the society's highest honor, the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychophysiology. In the 60‐year history of SPR, only 36 individuals have been so honored, and never in its history had SPR conferred its highest honor upon a married couple. That changed in 2019, when it was my honor to present the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychophysiology to Drs. Monica Fabiani and Gabriele Gratton , during SPR's 59th annual meeting in Washington, DC.