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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 701-725 out of 743.

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Public Release: 4-Feb-2014
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Research: It's more than just the science
In a newly published paper, a team of researchers from institutions across the country, including Michigan State University, outline not only why it's important to pursue science collaboratively, but how to create and maintain science teams to get better research results.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Tom Oswald
Tom.oswald@cabs.msu.edu
517-432-0920
Michigan State University

Public Release: 4-Feb-2014
PLOS ONE
Sucker-footed fossils broaden the bat map
Today, Madagascar sucker-footed bats live nowhere outside their island home, but new research shows that hasn't always been the case. The discovery of the jawbones of two extinct relatives in northern Egypt suggests the unusual creatures, which evolved sticky footpads to roost on slick surfaces, are primitive members of a group of bats that evolved in Africa and ultimately went on to flourish in South America.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Erin Weeks
erin.weeks@duke.edu
919-681-8057
Duke University

Public Release: 3-Feb-2014
WPI researchers tackle the challenges of putting robots on the shop floor and in our homes
Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute have received awards through the National Science Foundation's National Robotics Initiative to investigate and overcome fundamental challenges involved with robots working alongside people. Dmitry Berenson will develop algorithms that will permit robots to collaborate with people on small-scale manufacturing operations. Sonia Chernova will draw on the experience of thousands of online "teachers" to learn more about how "everyday people" can teach robots to do simple tasks.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Michael Dorsey
mwdorsey@wpi.edu
508-831-5609
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Public Release: 3-Feb-2014
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
New scientific field looks at the big picture
Big data is changing the field of ecology. The shift is dramatic enough to warrant the creation of an entirely new field: macrosystems ecology. "Ecologists can no longer sample and study just one or even a handful of ecosystems," said Patricia Soranno, Michigan State University professor of fisheries and wildlife and macrosystems ecology pioneer.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Layne Cameron
layne.cameron@cabs.msu.edu
517-353-8819
Michigan State University

Public Release: 3-Feb-2014
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
In the brain the number of neurons in a network may not matter
A study has found that the time it takes neural networks in the brain to make decisions is remarkably stable regardless of size: a finding that could make it easier to achieve the goal of the President's BRAIN Initiative established last spring.
National Science Foundation, NIH/National Eye Insitute

Contact: David Salisbury
david.salisbury@vanderbilt.edu
615-343-6803
Vanderbilt University

Public Release: 3-Feb-2014
The Cryosphere
Greenland's fastest glacier reaches record speeds
Jakobshavn Isbræ is moving ice from the Greenland ice sheet into the ocean at a speed that appears to be the fastest ever recorded. Researchers from the University of Washington and the German Space Agency measured the dramatic speeds of the fast-flowing glacier in 2012 and 2013. The results are published today in The Cryosphere, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union.
NASA, National Science Foundation

Contact: Bárbara Ferreira
media@egu.eu
49-892-180-6703
European Geosciences Union

Public Release: 31-Jan-2014
UH researcher works on plant-based plastics
Megan Robertson, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Houston, will use vegetable oils to develop new polymers that function as well as traditional petroleum-based plastics but are also biodegradable.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Jeannie Kever
jekever@uh.edu
713-743-0778
University of Houston

Public Release: 31-Jan-2014
Ecology and Society
To calculate long-term conservation pay off, factor in people
Paying people to protect their natural environment is a popular conservation tool around the world – but figure out that return on investment, for both people and nature, is a thorny problem, especially since such efforts typically stretch on for years. Reseachers have developed a new way to evaluate and model the long-term effectiveness of conservation investments.
National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, NASA

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

Public Release: 31-Jan-2014
Animal Behaviour
Lemur lovers sync their scents
Mating pairs of lemurs mirror each other's scent-marking behavior and even start to smell alike after they have reproduced. Matched scents are possibly a way to combine territory defenses or to advertise their relationship status to the rest of their group, according to researchers at the Duke Lemur Center. Couples who haven't had kids yet spend the most time scent-marking and investigating each other's odors.
Duke University, National Science Foundation

Contact: Robin Ann Smith
ras10@duke.edu
919-668-4544
Duke University

Public Release: 30-Jan-2014
Journal of Molecular Diagnostics
RI Hospital researchers identify components in C. diff that may lead to better treatment
Rhode Island Hospital researchers have identified components in Clostridium difficile (C. diff) that may lead to new diagnostic tools, and ultimately more timely and effective treatment for this often fatal infection. C. diff is a spore-forming bacterium that causes severe diarrhea and is responsible for 14,000 deaths annually in the US.
National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health

Contact: Ellen Slingsby
eslingsby@lifespan.org
401-444-6421
Lifespan

Public Release: 30-Jan-2014
Journal of Management
What your company can learn from NASA tragedies
BYU business professor Peter Madsen has been researching how NASA recognizes "near-miss" events ever since the Columbia shuttle was destroyed in flight 11 years ago Saturday. A new study coauthored by Madsen finds recognition of near-misses goes up when leaders emphasize project significance and weigh safety over other goals.
NASA/USRA Center for Program/Project Management Research, National Science Foundation

Contact: Todd Hollingshead
toddh@byu.edu
801-422-8373
Brigham Young University

Public Release: 30-Jan-2014
ACS Nano
Rice lab clocks 'hot' electrons
Rice University scientists time "hot" electrons as they transfer from excited plasmons in gold nanorods to graphene.
National Science Foundation, Welch Foundation, US Army Research Office, American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund

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

Public Release: 30-Jan-2014
Expanding the range of nature's catalysts for industrial applications
"We've learned to make changes in the stability of the protein. But every protein has a limit; there's nothing you can do to make a protein stable at 500 degrees, for example," said Makhatadze. "So can we somehow make it unfold more slowly by modulating the charge-charge interactions? If you can extend that process, it will function at a high temperature for a longer period of time, and that's beneficial."
National Science Foundation

Contact: Mary Martialay
martim12@rpi.edu
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Public Release: 30-Jan-2014
PLOS ONE
CU-Boulder researchers sequence world's first butterfly bacteria, find surprises
For the first time ever, a team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has sequenced the internal bacterial makeup of the three major life stages of a butterfly species, a project that showed some surprising events occur during metamorphosis.
National Science Foundation, University of Colorado

Contact: Tobin Hammer
tobin.hammer@colorado.edu
650-996-1315
University of Colorado at Boulder

Public Release: 29-Jan-2014
PLOS ONE
Dinosaur fossils from China help Penn researchers describe new 'Titan'
A team led by University of Pennsylvania paleontologists has characterized a new dinosaur based on fossil remains found in northwestern China. The species, a plant-eating sauropod named Yongjinglong datangi, roamed during the Early Cretaceous period, more than 100 million years ago. This sauropod belonged to a group known as Titanosauria, members of which were among the largest living creatures to ever walk the earth.
National Natural Science Foundation of China, Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Science Foundation

Contact: Katherine Unger Baillie
kbaillie@upenn.edu
215-898-9194
University of Pennsylvania

Public Release: 29-Jan-2014
Geology
From rivers to landslides: Charting the slopes of sediment transport
The slope of streambeds has dramatic and unexpected effects on sediment transport. Experimental data from the flume lab show that gravity does not facilitate sediment transport in the expected manner. In very steep streambeds with a 22-degree or higher slope, sediment motion begins not with grains skipping and bouncing along the bottom of the streambed, but rather with a complete bed failure in which all the sediment is abruptly sent hurtling downstream as a debris flow.
National Science Foundation, Keck Institute for Space Studies

Contact: Deborah Williams-Hedges
debwms@caltech.edu
626-395-3227
California Institute of Technology

Public Release: 29-Jan-2014
Nature
Puzzling question in bacterial immune system answered
Berkeley researchers have answered a central question about Cas9, an enzyme that plays an essential role in the bacterial immune system and is fast becoming a valuable tool for genetic engineering: How is Cas9 able to precisely discriminate between non-self DNA that must be degraded and self DNA that may be almost identical within genomes that are millions to billions of base pairs long.
National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health

Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Public Release: 29-Jan-2014
Geology
UM researchers find existence of large, deep magma chamber below Kilauea volcano
A new study led by scientists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science uncovered a previously unknown magma chamber deep below the most active volcano in the world -- Kilauea. This is the first geophysical observation that large magma chambers exist in the deeper parts of the volcano system.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Diana Udel
dudel@rsmas.miami.edu
305-421-4704
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

Public Release: 29-Jan-2014
PLOS ONE
Penguin future uncertain in the face of climate change
Changes in average climatic conditions combined with the increasing frequency of unpredictable, extreme weather events may disrupt scientific predictions of the future penguin populations.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Kayla Graham
onepress@plos.org
415-590-3558
PLOS

Public Release: 29-Jan-2014
Nature
Neanderthals' genetic legacy
Remnants of Neanderthal DNA in modern humans are associated with genes affecting type 2 diabetes, Crohn's disease, lupus, biliary cirrhosis and smoking behavior. They also concentrate in genes that influence skin and hair characteristics. At the same time, Neanderthal DNA is conspicuously low in regions of the X chromosome and testes-specific genes.
National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health

Contact: David Cameron
david_cameron@hms.harvard.edu
617-432-0441
Harvard Medical School

Public Release: 29-Jan-2014
Nature Communications
New theory may lead to more efficient solar cells
A new theoretical model developed by professors at the University of Houston and Université de Montréal may hold the key to methods for developing better materials for solar cells. The scientists say the model could lead to new solar cell materials made from improved blends of semiconducting polymers and fullerenes. The researchers describe their findings in the Jan. 29 issue of Nature Communications.
Robert Welch Foundation, National Science Foundation, and others

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

Public Release: 28-Jan-2014
Interface
'Chameleon of the sea' reveals its secrets
The cuttlefish, known as the "chameleon of the sea," can rapidly alter both the color and pattern of its skin, helping it blend in with its surroundings and avoid predators. In a paper published Jan. 29 in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the Harvard-MBL team reports new details on the sophisticated biomolecular nanophotonic system underlying the cuttlefish's color-changing ways.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Contact: Caroline Perry
cperry@seas.harvard.edu
617-496-1351
Harvard University

Public Release: 28-Jan-2014
Nature Communications
UH researchers create new flexible, transparent conductor
University of Houston researchers have developed a new stretchable and transparent electrical conductor, bringing the potential for a fully foldable cell phone or a flat-screen television that can be folded and carried under your arm closer to reality.
Department of Energy, National Science Foundation

Contact: Jeannie Kever
jekever@uh.edu
713-743-0778
University of Houston

Public Release: 28-Jan-2014
Nature Communications
H.M.'s brain yields new evidence
During his lifetime, Henry G. Molaison (H.M.) was the best-known and possibly the most-studied patient of modern neuroscience. Now, thanks to the postmortem study of his brain, based on histological sectioning and digital three-dimensional construction led by Jacopo Annese, Ph.D., at the University of California, San Diego, scientists around the globe will finally have insight into the neurological basis of the case that defined modern studies of human memory.
National Science Foundation, Dana Foundation Brain, Immuno-Imaging Award

Contact: Scott LaFee
slafee@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego

Public Release: 27-Jan-2014
Child Development
Boston University study examines the development of children's prelife reasoning
By examining children's ideas about "prelife," the time before conception, researchers found results which suggest that our bias toward immortality is a part of human intuition that naturally emerges early in life. And the part of us that is eternal, we believe, is not our skills or ability to reason, but rather our hopes, desires and emotions.
European Commission, National Science Foundation, John Templeton Foundation

Contact: Sara Rimer
srimer@bu.edu
617-939-8506
Boston University

Showing releases 701-725 out of 743.

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