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Category: Research

This Is the Most Obese State in America

24/7 Tempo

Methodology: To determine America’s most obese state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed adult obesity rates from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program’s 2021 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report.

To Prevent the Next Pandemic, Scientists Seek One Vaccine for Many Coronaviruses

Wall Street Journal

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, an Oslo-based organization that funds development of vaccines for epidemic diseases, is investing $200 million in grants for early-stage development of vaccines that protect broadly against dangerous coronaviruses. The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whose scientists are studying ways to make coronavirus vaccines, is awarding a further $95 million to other researchers, including $36 million to teams at Duke University, the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

National Science Foundation Invests $75 Million In Five New Data Science Institutes


Students involved in this research will interact closely with industry partners, creating new career opportunities and strengthening synergies between academia and industry. The institute will include researchers at the University of Washington; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Duke University; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; the California Institute of Technology; Purdue University; the University of California, San Diego; and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

This Is America’s Least Obese County

24/7 Wall Street

Methodology: To determine America’s least obese county, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed adult obesity rates from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program’s 2021 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR) report.

Gain-of-Function Research: All in the Eye of the Beholder

Undadrk Magazine

During the H5N1 research, Ron Fouchier, from Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Yoshihiro Kawaoka, from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and the University of Tokyo, both virologists, wanted to understand how pandemic flu viruses might evolve.

Virus Research Has Exploded Since Covid-19 Hit. Is It Safe?


The researchers, working independently at the University of Wisconsin and Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, ignited a storm when they sought to publish their work in science journals. The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, which makes recommendations to the government on potentially risky research, asked journals to hold off while panel members debated the risks of publishing the scientists’ methods, including the risk of providing bad actors with the means to create a bioweapon.

Century of discoveries: Interconnected tale of UW’s most innovative research epiphanies

Badger Herald

Every major breakthrough at UW built off of previous research, and without that collaboration, some of the scientific world’s most significant developments would never have been realized. From the fundamental discovery of vitamins, to collecting images in outer space, and even to the pressing issues of COVID-19 research today, UW has been involved in every facet of the developments which are still affecting our lives today.

Discrimination Persists in Society–but Who Discriminates?

Scientific American

A new study published by social psychologists Mitchell Campbell and Markus Brauer, both then at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, tested these hypotheses through a series of survey studies and field experiments involving 16,600 students at the university. The results overwhelmingly supported the concentrated discrimination account, challenging the view that the main problem is implicit bias.

An Ex-Drinker’s Search for a Sober Buzz

The New Yorker

In the early nineteen-seventies, G. Alan Marlatt, a clinical psychologist then at the University of Wisconsin, published the first account of his now famous “balanced placebo design” experiments, which demonstrated the influence that expectations and setting can have on alcohol’s psychotropic effects.

Major donation launches new building for UW-Madison school on computer and data sciences

Wisconsin State Journal

The recently launched School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences will have a new home at the corner of Orchard Street and University Avenue, officials announced Friday. UW-Madison will demolish two service buildings currently located there to make way for the 300,000-square-foot, seven-story building. The estimated price tag is $225 million, all of which will be privately funded.

The climate crisis is getting worse, but the solutions have improved dramatically

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Written by Gregory Nemet, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs. He is a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th Assessment Report, which will be released by the United Nations in spring 2022. He is co-chair of the La Follette School’s Climate Policy Forum on Oct. 6.

As the House gears up for debate federal infrastructure spending to fight climate change, signs of a planetary-scale crisis are everywhere. Intense rainfall and floods, searing heat in normally cool locations, and relentless wildfires of enormous scale raging continuously.

Two UW-Madison researchers have spent 20 years studying how 9/11 is taught in schools. Here’s what they learned.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

As the World Trade Center towers collapsed, Diana Hess wondered if she should cancel class.

It was Sept. 11, 2001.

Hess, then an assistant professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Education, started hearing whispers that the entire campus would shut down. She had been preparing for an evening class for social studies student teachers, who were working in area middle schools and high schools.

But now, the world was changing before her eyes — and so was the social studies curriculum.

The Next Chapter for Farm to School: Milling Whole Grains in the Cafeteria

Civil Eats

Last year, researchers at the Center for Integrated Agriculture Systems at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and the Artisan Grain Collaborative in Madison received a $516,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers’ Market Promotion Program to expand the value chain for Midwest grain growers in institutions over the next three years.

Better Wages, Stronger Benefits Key To Post-Pandemic Economic Recovery, UW-Madison Study Finds

Wisconsin Public Radio

Economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic will depend on providing workers better wages, consistent schedules and stronger benefits, including accessible health care. That’s according to a new report from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The report from COWS, formerly the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, indicates Wisconsin still has 114,000 fewer jobs available as of July than it did before the onset of COVID-19. Leisure and hospitality in particular have been affected, losing 49,600 jobs. According to the report, that has disproportionately affected women and people of color.

Laura Dresser, the associate director of COWS, said the problems in Wisconsin’s job market came about well before the pandemic.

“Many of the problems that the State of Working Wisconsin has documented for more than two decades were really exposed and exacerbated by the COVID pandemic and its impact on work,” said Dresser. “The very workers that have faced the worst wage trends, faced the hardest conditions in their jobs were the workers who were either unemployed, lost their work through the pandemic, or who faced exposure in their jobs and could not be protected from exposure.”

How Trump devastated Republican trust in the media

NBC News

Over the course of 15 months, study authors Jianing Li and Min-Hsin Su of the University of Wisconsin-Madison found an uptick in the number of tweets that used the words “we” or “our” and “they” or “their” in conjunction with the phrase “fake news.”

Report: For working Wisconsin, ‘new normal’ must mean big changes

Wisconsin Examiner

More jobs, but not a full recovery. Better wages, but fewer unions — and, as a consequence, weaker protections for workers. And gaping inequalities by race and ethnicity.

That’s the picture painted in the 2021 edition of the State of Working Wisconsin, an annual assessment that COWS, a University of Wisconsin research and policy center, has been producing for more than two decades.

COWS Associate Director Laura Dresser acknowledges a widespread urge to get “back to normal” under those conditions.

“But ‘normal’ for low-wage workers has long been unsustainable, leaving too many families struggling to get by,” she writes. “Adding jobs is important, but ensuring strong job quality and supports for low-wage workers is equally important.”

There are pockets of growth, but many parts of rural Wisconsin continue to lose people

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: In a Harris Poll of 2,050 U.S. adults last year, nearly one-third said they considered moving to a less densely populated place because of the pandemic. The age group 18 to 34 was especially interested.

Still, it’s unknown whether the pandemic-related population gains are sustainable, according to David Egan Robertson, a researcher with UW-Madison’s Applied Population Laboratory.

The number of young people in Wisconsin’s metropolitan areas has fallen about 4% over the past 20 years. But it’s down about 13% in the non-metro areas, according to Robertson.

“That’s a real issue for a lot of school districts,” he said.

Smith: Milwaukee River assessment highlights value of fish diversity

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: Identifying fish in Wisconsin is easier than ever thanks to an app that can be dowloaded to smartphones.

The app includes color photographs and information on 174 fish species. It was developed by the University of Wisconsin Center for Limnology, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.

Madison addiction recovery program reduces six-month recidivism odds

The Capital Times

“[Madison Addiction Recovery Initiative] works or at least is doing what it is intended to do,” said Veronica White, a University of Wisconsin-Madison doctoral student and research assistant for the program. “MARI needs more support to make it more effective to help more people stay engaged.”

SpaceX launches ants, avocados, robot to space station


The Girl Scouts are sending up ants, brine shrimp and plants as test subjects, while University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists are flying up seeds from mouse-ear cress, a small flowering weed used in genetic research. Samples of concrete, solar cells and other materials also will be subjected to weightlessness.

California delays decriminalizing psychedelic substances


The University of Wisconsin–Madison said this week it is launching a research center to coordinate ongoing studies and education in psychedelic compounds. It cited growing evidence of their utility in treating substance abuse and psychiatric disorders, such as major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Study Says Face Makes for Kids Has Low Risk

Eat This, Not That

Still, there is evidence that children are adaptable. In a December 2020 study of children’s ability to read the facial expressions of masked people, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that “while there may be some challenges for children incurred by others wearing masks, in combination with other contextual cues, masks are unlikely to dramatically impair children’s social interactions in their everyday lives.”

New book explores the unique opportunities and challenges facing Hmong American media

One day pre-pandemic, Lori Lopez, a UW-Madison associate professor of media and cultural studies, joined a Hmong teleconference call with more than 1,000 listeners.

The call was not a meeting or presentation, but a live call-in radio program where people could share their stories, listen to conversations or get news about their community.

She said it was a radio station — without being a radio station.

“I was like Hmong people are being really entrepreneurial and coming up with all sorts of really cool media solutions to the fact that they’re such a small community and they can’t really have a traditional media structure,” the director of the Asian American Studies Program told Madison365.

Now, seven years later, she released her book titled “Micro Media Industries: Hmong American Media Innovation in the Diaspora” on Aug. 13.

For the sake of rural science students in Wisconsin, we have to get broadband right

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: One of the best examples demonstrating both the limitations and the potential of broadband for science is our collaboration with the Morgridge Institute for Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Each summer, Morgridge holds a series of Rural Summer Science Camps designed to expose students from isolated settings to some of the world’s top scientists who lead them in cool experiments on campus. They are exposed to exciting ideas and the joy of science. Most importantly, kids walk away from these camps with the confidence in knowing “I can compete at this level.”

UW-Madison announces new psychoactive substance research center


The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced Monday the creation of their Transdisciplinary Center for Research in Psychoactive Substances, a research center dedicated to ongoing research and education in psychedelic compounds. According to a UW-Madison release, the center will conduct research into the science, history and cultural impact of psychedelic agents, as well as potential therapeutic use of psychoactive substances.

As California burns, some ecologists say it’s time to rethink forest management

Los Angeles Times

Yet despite a universal desire to avoid more destruction, experts aren’t always in agreement about what should be done before a blaze ignites. Forest management has long been touted as essential to fighting wildfires, with one new set of studies led by the University of Wisconsin and the U.S. Forest Service concluding that there is strong scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of thinning dense forests and reducing fuels through prescribed burns.

‘It’s all or nothing’: A small pay bump can cut benefits for Wisconsin workers


Quoted: University of Wisconsin-Madison economics professor Timothy Smeeding said the rise in wages for low-income workers means it’s a good time to reassess their jobs and find a better one.

“For those reasons, the job market is in favor of workers right now and turnover is good,” Smeeding said. “When people voluntarily leave jobs, economists think that’s good, because that meant they found something better.”

Exact Sciences, UW researchers search for cancer in ‘liquid biopsies’

Wisconsin State Journal

UW Health has opened its own lab for cancer blood tests and recruited a scientist who helped invent a related technology licensed by Exact Sciences. For some cancer patients whose tumors are hard to reach or might have genetic mutations targeted by available drugs, UW doctors have started ordering blood tests instead of traditional tissue biopsies, typically with quicker results to guide treatment.