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  News From the National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation (NSF) — For more information about NSF and its programs, visit www.nsf.gov

NSF Funded News

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Showing releases 51-75 out of 883.

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Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Science
New method helps map species' genetic heritage
Where did the songbird get its song? What branch of the bird family tree is closer to the flamingo -- the heron or the sparrow? These questions seem simple, but are actually difficult for geneticists to answer. A new, sophisticated technique called statistical binning developed by researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Texas at Austin can help researchers construct more accurate species trees detailing the lineage of genes and the relationships between species.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Liz Ahlberg
eahlberg@illinois.edu
217-244-1073
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Cell
Scientists map the human loop-ome, revealing a new form of genetic regulation
The ancient Japanese art of origami is based on the idea that nearly any design -- a crane, an insect, a samurai warrior -- can be made by taking the same blank sheet of paper and folding it in different ways. The human body faces a similar problem.
McNair Medical Institute, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, IBM, Google, NVIDA

Contact: Glenna Picton
picton@bcm.edu
713-798-4710
Baylor College of Medicine

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Science
Genes tell story of birdsong and human speech
A massive international effort to sequence and compare the entire genomes of 48 species of birds, representing every major order of the bird family tree, reveals that vocal learning evolved twice or maybe three times among songbirds, parrots and hummingbirds. Even more striking, the set of genes employed in each of those song innovations is remarkably similar to the genes involved in human speaking ability.
National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Contact: Karl Leif Bates
karl.bates@duke.edu
919-681-8054
Duke University

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
PLOS Computational Biology
Ebola virus may replicate in an exotic way
University of Utah researchers ran biochemical analysis and computer simulations of a livestock virus to discover a likely and exotic mechanism to explain the replication of related viruses such as Ebola, measles and rabies. The mechanism may be a possible target for new treatments within a decade.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Lee J. Siegel
lee.siegel@utah.edu
801-244-5399
University of Utah

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Science
Computer scientists at UT Austin crack code for redrawing bird family tree
A new computational technique developed at The University of Texas at Austin has enabled an international consortium to produce an avian tree of life that points to the origins of various bird species. A graduate student at the university is a leading author on papers describing the new technique and sharing the consortium's findings about bird evolution in the journal Science.
National Science Foundation and Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Contact: Marc Airhart
mairhart@austin.utexas.edu
512-232-1066
University of Texas at Austin

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Science
Tooth loss in birds occurred about 116 million years ago
A question that has intrigued biologists is: Were teeth lost in the common ancestor of all living birds or convergently in two or more independent lineages of birds? A research team led by biologists at the University of California, Riverside and Montclair State University, NJ, used the degraded remnants of tooth genes in birds to determine that teeth were lost in the common ancestor of all living birds more than 100 million years ago.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Science
Scientists reconstruct genome of common ancestor of crocodiles, birds, dinosaurs
Crocodiles are the closest living relatives of birds, sharing a common ancestor that lived around 240 million years ago and also gave rise to the dinosaurs. A new study of crocodilian genomes reveals an exceptionally slow rate of genome evolution in this group. The researchers used the crocodilian genomes, combined with newly published bird genomes, to reconstruct a partial genome of the common ancestor of crocodiles, birds, and dinosaurs.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Tim Stephens
stephens@ucsc.edu
831-459-4352
University of California - Santa Cruz

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Science
Birds find their place in the avian tree of life
An international effort involving more than 100 researchers, nine supercomputers and about 400 years of CPU time has yielded the most reliable avian tree of life yet produced, researchers report in the journal Science. The tree reflects the evolutionary relationships of 48 species of birds.
National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Guggenheim Foundation

Contact: Diana Yates,
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Science
International team maps 'big bang' of bird evolution
The first findings of the Avian Phylogenomics Consortium are being reported nearly simultaneously in 29 papers -- eight papers in a Dec. 12 special issue of Science and 21 more in Genome Biology, GigaScience and other journals. The analyses suggest some remarkable new ideas about bird evolution, including insights into vocal learning and the brain, colored plumage, sex chromosomes and the birds' relationship to dinosaurs and crocodiles.
BGI and the China National GeneBank, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Lundbeck Foundation, Danish National Research Foundation, and others

Contact: Karl Bates
karl.bates@duke.edu
919-681-8054
Duke University

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
eLife
Worms' mental GPS helps them find food
Salk scientists develop a theory to explain how animals gather information and switch attention.
National Science Foundation, University of California San Diego Institute, Rita Allen Foundation, National Institutes of Health, McKnight Endowment Fund, Ray Thomas Edwards Foundation

Contact: Salk Communications
press@salk.edu
Salk Institute

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
NSF funds Kent State study of human chromosome
A Kent State University scientist has received a $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to lead a study of the workings and dynamics of a structure inside the human chromosome.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Cindy Weiss
lweiss4@kent.edu
330-672-0731
Kent State University

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
Materials Research Letters
New 'high-entropy' alloy is as light as aluminum, as strong as titanium alloys
Researchers have developed a new 'high-entropy' metal alloy that has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than any other existing metal material.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Matt Shipman
matt_shipman@ncsu.edu
919-515-6386
North Carolina State University

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
Nature Communications
Organic electronics could lead to cheap, wearable medical sensors
University of California Berkeley researchers have created a pulse oximeter, commonly used to measure heart rate and blood oxygen levels, using all organic materials instead of silicon. The advance could lead to cheap, flexible sensors that could be used like a Band-Aid.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Sarah Yang
scyang@berkeley.edu
510-643-7741
University of California - Berkeley

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
Physical Review Letters
Theory details how 'hot' monomers affect thin-film formation
Researchers have devised a mathematical model to predict how 'hot' monomers on cold substrates affect the growth of thin films being developed for next-generation electronics.
National Science Foundation

Contact: David Ruth
david@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
Nature
No laughing matter: Nitrous oxide rose at end of last ice age
Nitrous oxide is an important greenhouse gas that doesn't receive as much notoriety as carbon dioxide or methane, but a new study confirms that atmospheric levels of N2O rose significantly as the Earth came out of the last ice age and addresses the cause.
United States National Science Foundation, Swiss National Science Foundation

Contact: Mark Floyd
mark.floyd@oregonstate.edu
541-737-0788
Oregon State University

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
Nature Communications
Defects are perfect in laser-induced graphene
Rice University researchers use lasers to create graphene foam from inexpensive polymers in ambient conditions. The laser-induced graphene may be suitable for electronics and energy storage.
US Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, Office of Naval Research, National Center for Research Resources, National Science Foundation

Contact: David Ruth
david@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
Nature
Proteins stepping on 'landmines': How they survive the immense heat they create
Research from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the University of California Berkeley published online on Dec. 10 in Nature reports on how some proteins survive extreme heat generated when they catalyze reactions.
National Institutes of Health, US Department of Energy, National Science Foundation

Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-843-2276
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
PLOS ONE
Sharing that crowded holiday flight with countless hitchhiking dust mites
As if holiday travel isn't stressful enough. Now University of Michigan researchers say we're likely sharing that already overcrowded airline cabin with countless tiny creatures including house dust mites.
US National Science Foundation, Higher Education Commission and the International Research Support Initiative Program in Pakistan, Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, US National Pediculosis Association

Contact: Jim Erickson
ericksn@umich.edu
734-647-1842
University of Michigan

Public Release: 9-Dec-2014
Environmental Science & Technology
Carbon soot particles, dust blamed for discoloring India's Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal's iconic marble dome and soaring minarets require regular cleaning to maintain their dazzling appearance, and scientists now know why. Researchers from the United States and India are pointing the finger at airborne carbon particles and dust for giving the gleaming white landmark a brownish cast.
Indo US Science and Technology Forum, US Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation

Contact: John Toon
jtoon@gatech.edu
404-894-6986
Georgia Institute of Technology

Public Release: 9-Dec-2014
UH professor honored for materials research, STEM outreach
University of Houston mathematician Yuliya Gorb recently received a five-year, $420,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award for both her research and an outreach program she's developing for high school girls. Gorb is the first Department of Mathematics faculty member to receive an NSF CAREER award while at University of Houston.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Lisa Merkl
lkmerkl@uh.edu
713-743-8192
University of Houston

Public Release: 9-Dec-2014
PLOS ONE
Now researchers can see how unfolded proteins move in the cell
When a large protein unfolds in transit through a cell, it slows down and can get stuck in traffic. Using a specialized microscope -- a sort of cellular traffic camera -- University of Illinois chemists now can watch the way the unfolded protein diffuses. Studying the relationship between protein folding and transport could provide great insight into protein-misfolding diseases such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's
National Science Foundation

Contact: Liz Ahlberg
eahlberg@illinois.edu
217-244-1073
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Public Release: 9-Dec-2014
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
It doesn't add up: People who say they are good at math, but aren't
Thinking you're good at math and actually being good at it are not the same thing, new research has found. About one in five people who say they are bad at math in fact score in the top half of those taking an objective math test. But one-third of people who say they are good at math actually score in the bottom half.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Ellen Peters
Peters.498@osu.edu
614-688-3477
Ohio State University

Public Release: 9-Dec-2014
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Multiple, short learning sessions strengthen memory formation in fragile X syndrome
A learning technique that maximizes the brain's ability to make and store memories may help overcome cognitive issues seen in fragile X syndrome, a leading form of intellectual disability, according to University of California Irvine neurobiologists.
National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, William & Nancy Thompson Family Foundation

Contact: Tom Vasich
tmvasich@uci.edu
949-824-6455
University of California - Irvine

Public Release: 9-Dec-2014
Global Ecology and Conservation
Conservation targeting tigers pushes leopards to change
A leopard may not be able to change its spots, but new research from a World Heritage site in Nepal indicates that leopards do change their activity patterns in response to tigers and humans -- but in different ways.
US Fish and Wildlife Service Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund, National Science Foundation, NASA

Contact: Sue Nichols
nichols@msu.edu
517-432-0206
Michigan State University

Public Release: 9-Dec-2014
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Penn researchers show commonalities in how different glassy materials fail
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have now shown an important commonality that seems to extend through the range of glassy materials. They have demonstrated that the scaling between a glassy material's stiffness and strength remains unchanged, implying a constant critical strain that these materials can withstand before catastrophic failure, despite the extreme variation found among this class of material's physical properties.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Evan Lerner
elerner@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania

Showing releases 51-75 out of 883.

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