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Tuesday, September 27, 2022



A new "luckier" way to build plastics

Professor Ive Hermans has a different philosophy when it comes to running a research group and laboratory full of brilliant students. Most graduate advisers simply tell their students what to do and expect them to follow their directions to a T.

By genetic engineering lactic acid bacteria, James Steele turns a negative into a positive in food science industries. 

Researcher rethinks lactic acid bacteria

Fermented products can range anywhere from beer to sourdough bread to soy sauce to ethanol fuels. In the microbial realm of fermentation, the process is fundamentally the same: Microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast metabolize sugars into alcohol. But often, the process can be plagued by a major drawback.

Graduate students of Dr. Ansari's lab design synthetic transcription factors.

Precision therapies advance at UW

By mimicking natural molecular pathways in the human body, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed molecular tools that could regulate gene expression. Natural transcription factors bind to genetic sequences and trigger the expression of different genes, which later produce different proteins.

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Science in brief

Split brain activity allows you to listen and drive, simultaneously. Five UW faculty members elected AAAS Fellows. New model to predict weather.


Sciencecast: Climate Change Series - Episode 5

In episode five, we focus on sustainable agriculture and how the food we eat impacts the environment. Instead of meeting with UW experts, we turn to students who are knowledgeable about food insecurity, gardening and farming and the connections between agriculture and climate change.

A section of the UW Hoofers pier, pulled from Lake Mendota in early November, was coated in zebra mussels, an invasive species found in the lake last fall.

Zebra mussels found in Lake Mendota

Lake Mendota had once been the home for swimming, sailing and fishing, among many other recreational and scenic activities. But since the discovery of zebra mussels in the lake by a limnology lab last fall, the lake’s environment has shifted, resulting in changed food sources for fish and less attractive experiences for water activities at the Memorial Union terrace on a summer day. Throughout the summer following the zebra mussel discovery, Lake Mendota had become completely invaded by the mussels, with amounts ranging from 10 zebra mussels per square meter to 60,000 in some areas of the lake, which has created an imbalanced ecosystem, resulting in many future changes to the lake’s ecology and aesthetics.

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Science in brief

UW professors develop sensors to detect harmful materials: University of Wisconsin-Madison professors of chemical and biological engineering have recently developed new ways to detect explosives, pollutants and chemical disease markers.

From Oct. 20 until Nov. 2, UW-Madison's University Health Services vaccinated roughly 20,400 students for meningitis B at the Southeast Recreational Facility with the help of student volunteers.

Students respond to meningitis on campus

Sore arms and talks of a deadly infection flooded the campus last week, a result of students swarming the Southeast Recreational Facility to receive the first of two free meningococcal B vaccines offered by the university’s health services after three University of Wisconsin-Madison students fell ill this past month. Roughly 20,400 vaccines had been distributed with the help of nursing students, pharmacy students and other Dane County public health officials over the three week period spanning from Oct. 20 until Nov. 2.

The solar-charged battery, developed at UW-Madison, stores the sun's energy.

Battery technology aims to store the sun

Every day, the Earth is bombarded by energy from a source more powerful than humanity could ever replicate: the sun. But this power is not so kind as to be easily harnessed. Even with the wealth of solar technology available and in development, problems persist. Sunlight is a fickle resource, unable to be collected at night or when the weather is cloudy. Because of this inconsistency in production, solar energy’s main sticking point is storage. If solar power can be stored efficiently when the sun is shining, it can be dispersed at any given time. Song Jin, a professor in the chemistry department at UW-Madison, is looking into this area.

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