My work is a conduit that moves discoveries from scientists' lab benches, fields, and computers into Twitter feeds and conversations. I help scientists share their stories, and I help journalists find scientists with stories to share.
David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General, noted in his 2005 research that if health disparities were eliminated there would be approximately 80,000 fewer African-American deaths each year. According to the documentary Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick, the 80,000 deaths is the equivalent of an airplane full of African-Americans falling out of the sky every single day every year. Unfortunately, remarks Ruby Mendenhall, “we don’t fully understand the complexity o
In 1994, extremist Hutus slaughtered an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in the small east African country of Rwanda in the span of just 100 days. But the effects of this genocide would last much longer–manifested in the genes of survivors. Epigenetics is the study of how environmental and external factors can influence how our genes are activated or deactivated. Evidence from animal models shows that some of these epigenetic changes can be passed down to future ge
More than 2 billion babies will be born over the next 35 years. As many as one in eight of these babies may be born prematurely, with increased risk for long-term problems like diabetes and mental health disorders. One researcher is working to improve their chances to reach full term—and thus their chances to lead healthier, even fuller lives. To do that, Derek Wildman (a professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology) founded a new research theme at the Carl R. Woese Inst
Klaus Schulten drafts blueprints of life—not with a pen, but with a computer program that his group developed over the last two decades. Using this program like a computational microscope, he can peer deep inside the smallest units of life, and he says the view is “absolutely gorgeous.” “Experiments often cannot give you the detailed view that you need in order to understand a system,” said Schulten, a Swanlund Chair Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois. “A comp
May Berenbaum studies how insects eat plants. “Insects that eat crop plants cause, globally, billions of dollars worth of economic losses and create massive food instability,” said Berenbaum, professor and head of the Department of Entomology. “If food stability and sustainability are desirable economic goals then it’s really important to understand the basic components that underlie interactions between plants and insects.” By understanding the basic principles by which a pl
Mosquitoes plagued Erik Sacks as he trudged through swamps, marshes and the like in Eastern Russia. After three weeks abroad, he arrived at the Seattle airport with four boxes. Almost two hundred clones were nestled inside two of the boxes, carefully wrapped in scraps of Russian newspapers. Professor Erik Sacks amongst Miscanthus in Eastern Russia. “I had this crazy idea,” said Sacks, an assistant professor of crop sciences. As a member of the Energy Biosciences Institute, Sa
Creating animal models is one of the messier aspects of life-saving research, but it is a vital step in the approval process for new treatments and therapies. It’s an important (did we mention, messy?) job. In Matt Wheeler’s lab at the University of Illinois, pigs undergo surgery to replicate a birth defect that causes infants’ airways to collapse, and everyone waits until the pig takes the inevitable turn for the worse. Professor of Animal Sciences Matt Wheeler uses animal m