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Author: barncard

Reinvigorating The Wisconsin Idea

Wisconsin Public Radio

The Wisconsin Idea is a concept that university research can help stakeholders solve real world problems. The theory is more than a century old. UW–Madison biochemistry professor Mike Sussman says now is the time to rejuvenate the Idea and use innovation, collaboration, and passion to achieve Wisconsin’s full potential.

Human Cold Virus Killed Chimpanzees


Five healthy chimpanzees in Uganda that died following a mysterious respiratory disease outbreak in 2013 were actually killed by a common human cold virus, scientists now say. The deaths in the small chimpanzee community followed an “explosive outbreak of severe coughing and sneezing,” according to study author Dr. Tony Goldberg, a professor with the University of Wisconsin’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

Is Ethanol Really Green?

Shepherd Express

“This cropland expansion, driven in part by the ethanol mandate, has far-reaching impacts on the climate through its effects on the land and the carbon that it stores,” says Seth Spawn—lead author of the University of Wisconsin land use study and a graduate research assistant student at the Center for Sustainability and Global Environment at UW-Madison—adding that, “These impacts are significant and should be taken seriously.”

2018 preview: Get ready to meet your newest long-lost ancestor

New Scientist

The 21st century has so far been a golden age of hominin discovery. New species like the 7-million-year-old Sahelanthropus tchadensis and the 300,000-year-old Homo naledi have added to our understanding of humanity’s past. And the finds will keep coming.“It doesn’t look like [we’re] sampling something that is running out,” says John Hawks at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “I think in part there’s a greater intensity of exploration right now.”

The chimps who died from a cold

BBC World Service

UW–Madison pathobiological science professor Tony Goldberg a team of scientists working with chimps in Kibale National Park in Uganda have found that they can catch the common cold from humans — and don’t have any immunity. Many of the chimps developed respiratory problems, and some died.

The Long Shadow of Childhood Trauma


University of Wisconsin-Madison psychology professor Seth Pollak worked with over 50 people around the age of 20, and found that those who had experienced extreme stress as kids were hampered in their ability to make good decisions as adults.

Why Blue Is the World’s Favorite Color


“It turns out, if you look at all of the things that are associated with blue, they’re mostly positive,” explains Karen Schloss, an assistant professor of psychology at University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It’s really hard to think of negative blue things. A lot of things that we kind of think of as blue and bad aren’t really that blue.”

Zika Probably Not Spread Through Saliva: Study

US News

“If passing the virus by casual contact were easy, I think we would see a lot more of what we would call secondary transmission in a place like the United States,” said lead researcher Tom Friedrich, from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

To woo public, Europe opens up on animal experiments, but U.S. less transparent


In contrast, the University of Wisconsin in Madison offers a website with a long, easy reading list of its animal research highlights. It includes scores of findings with relevance to human or animal health, including the 2012 discovery in a rat model showing that iron deficiency worsens fetal alcohol syndrome, and the use of pigs to learn that Tasers can send the heart into an often-fatal abnormal rhythm.

Trump Reportedly Considering New Cuts to Biomedical Research

The Atlantic

According to two sources within the NIH who were briefed on the issue, the administration may pursue a new strategy in its quest for cuts, by proposing a 10 percent cap on the NIH’s indirect costs—the money it gives to grantees to support administration, equipment, libraries, IT, lighting, heating, electricity, and other overhead.

Ever-nibbling deer constantly changing landscape

Wisconsin State Farmer

“Deer are affecting understory communities in many different ways,” explains Autumn Sabo, a University of Wisconsin-Madison plant ecologist and the lead author of a new study that teases out some of the secondary impacts of white-tailed deer on forest ecosystems. “It is only in recent years that scientists have started to look at factors beyond herbivory.”

Mother-Of-Pearl Holds the Key to Historical Ocean Temperatures

Scientific American

Mother-of-pearl is an iridescent material that’s found in mollusk shells. It forms in layers, which allows it to reflect light and shimmer. But these layers could be useful in another way, according to Pupa Gilbert, a professor with the University of Wisconsin, Madison: They provide a good estimation of the temperatures they grow in.

The Best Maps of 2016

National Geographic

Includes an interactive map—created by three students at the University of Wisconsin– Madison—that explores the maritime world of the colonial era.

Retrieving Short-Term Memories

The Scientist Magazine

Now, in a paper published today (December 1) in Science, researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and their colleagues provide evidence for a different theory, in which information can be stored in working memory in an inactive neuronal state.

How Diet Influences Host-Microbiome Communication in Mice

The Scientist Magazine

“The gut microbiome influences the host epigenome on a global scale,” said coauthor John Denu, an epigeneticist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “We discovered key communicators, or key molecules that communicate this information, to the host.”

New Zika developments


There have been developments in Miami and just this week the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control recently updates its guidelines. Dr. Katie Anthony, who is a Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctor at UW Health talks about the latest developments.

Invasive ‘Jersey wriggler’ jumping worms devouring forest floors

The Washington Post

“Earthworms are the kind of organisms we call ecosystem engineers. They change the physical and chemical properties of the ecosystem as they dig and feed,” University of Wisconsin-Madison zoologist Monica Turner said in a statement. “But nobody really understood if these Asian worms would have the same effect as the European worms we have had here for many years.”

Map librarian finds 1966 crash site

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Jaime Martindale, librarian at UW–Madison’s Arthur H. Robinson Map Library, helped find the exact site in northern Wisconsin of the 1966 crash of an Air Force B-52 bomber.

Quitting smoking may actually widen social network


Smokers may worry that trying to quit will alienate them from other smokers, said coauthor Megan E. Piper of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But in practice, people who quit actually gain nonsmoking friends, she told Reuters Health by phone.

Background noise can make it harder for toddlers to learn words

Fox News

Toddlers who spend a lot of time in a noisy environment may have a harder time learning to speak, a small study suggests. That’s because background noise – especially the kind that comes from voices on the television or radio – can make it tough for young children to learn new words, said study co-author Brianna McMillan of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

First Monkeys With Zika Show That Pregnancy Prolongs Infection

BuzzFeed News

“A sustained [Zika] infection during pregnancy is completely different from a normal infection,” study senior author David O’Connor of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, told BuzzFeed News. The monkey results make sense, he said, given that other research has shown that the virus prefers the fetal brain and placenta over other tissue types.

Zika vaccines prove 100 percent protective in mice

Fox News

In another advance, researchers at the University of Wisconsin reported on Tuesday that they have successfully infected rhesus macaques with an Asian strain of the Zika virus that is currently circulating in the Americas. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, shows that monkeys – which have immune responses similar to humans – can be used to study Zika.

Nonhuman Primate Model of Zika

The Scientist Magazine

Scientists have developed a nonhuman primate model of Zika virus infection to better understand its course in humans, especially in pregnant women. David O’Connor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and colleagues injected eight rhesus macaques—two of them pregnant—with the Asian strain of the virus currently circulating in South and Central America.

Zika vaccine ‘works very well’ in mice

BBC News

The University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers say this is good news for vaccine developers. Lead researcher Prof David O’Connor said: “It suggests the sort of immunity that occurs naturally is sufficient. If you can mimic that in a vaccine, you’ll likely have a very successful vaccine.”

Zika causes microcephaly in mice


“We decided that the best thing for the community was that information be made available as widely as possible and freely available,” says David O’Connor, whose group at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is furthest along in studying Zika infection of pregnant monkeys.

The Best Radio Antenna Is One That’s a Tank

Popular Mechanics

But what if you could effectively enlarge antenna size by using the vehicle itself as an antenna? That’s what University of Wisconsin–Madison engineers are seeking to do as part of a project supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

Pieces of Homo naledi story continue to puzzle

Science News

One of the biggest mysteries: H. naledi’s age. Efforts are under way to date the fossils and sediment from which they were excavated with a variety of techniques, said paleoanthropologist John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Implantable Chip Measures and Adjusts Dopamine Levels in Mouse Brain

IEEE Spectrum

Craig Berridge, a neurobiologist at University of Wisconsin-Madison, points out that this method only measures dopamine in real time, so wouldn’t help scientists track disorders linked to high or low levels of dopamine over a long period. “It’s probably going to be most useful in animal studies where we’re trying to understand the role of dopamine in various neural processes,” he says.

Climate change now bigger menace than forest loss for snowshoe hares

Science News

Habitat loss as humans reshape landscapes has loomed for decades as the main conservation problem for a lot of wildlife. It’s still important, says climate change ecologist Benjamin Zuckerberg of the University of Wisconsin?Madison. But along the southern boundary of the snowshoe hares’ range, climate change bringing skimpy snow covers has surpassed direct habitat loss as a threat, Zuckerberg and his colleagues say March 30 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

5 Essentials That J-Schools Should Teach About Freelancing

Freelancers get flexibility in their schedules, the freedom to travel when necessary and the ability to choose projects they care about. But they also face a constant hustle, all-too-frequent low pay and countless business decisions — from setting prices to filing taxes. Freelance is now a commonly chosen path for journalism students (like freelance photographer Jake Naughton, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s undergraduate journalism program). Unfortunately, it’s not as commonly a part of teaching in journalism schools.

NIH to review its policies on all nonhuman primate research

Science magazine

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is about to take a closer look at the use of nonhuman primates in all federally funded U.S. research labs. ScienceInsider has learned that, in response to a congressional mandate, the agency will convene a workshop this summer to review the ethical policies and procedures surrounding work on monkeys, baboons, and related animals.

Animal rights group targets NIH director’s home


Science has learned that the letters, sent by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), targeted U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins and NIH researcher Stephen Suomi, revealing their home addresses and phone numbers and urging their neighbors to call and visit them. The tactic is the latest attempt by the animal rights group to shut down monkey behavioral experiments at Suomi’s Poolesville, Maryland, laboratory, and critics say it crosses the line.

John Hawks, guest on “Whad’ya Know?”

Wisocnsin Public Radio and Public Radio International

John Hawks is the Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Achievement Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. He talks about his role in the recent discovery of Homo Naledi in the caves of South Africa!

If I Only Had a Brain? Tissue Chips Predict Neurotoxicity

NIH Director's Blog

NIH Director Francis Collins, writing about the difficulty of screening new drugs for toxicity: “As an important step in this direction, NIH-funded researchers at the Morgridge Institute for Research and University of Wisconsin-Madison have produced neural tissue chips with many features of a developing human brain.”

New species of human relative discovered

The Guardian Science Podcast

Ian Sample speaks to Professor Lee Berger, who led the Wits University expeditions which discovered and recovered the fossils; to Professor John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a senior author on the paper describing the new species; and to Professor Chris Stringer, head of human origins at the Natural History Museum in London to assess how significant Homo naledi might be in shedding light on our origins and on the diversity our the human genus.