It doesn’t take an environmentalist to realize that plastic bags are an environmental hazard. They are notorious for tangling the throats and limbs of animals, and it’s nearly impossible to dispose of them properly since they don’t biodegrade. A new method developed by researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign does one better than disposal: it converts the bags straight into biofuel.
Science Market Update
Depending on who you ask, antibiotics are the best and worst defense against disease-bearing bacteria. On the one hand, they are very effective and easy to administer. Unfortunately, the more we use them, the more bacteria learn to thrive in a so-called “antibacterial” environment, culminating in a worst-case scenario where all bacteria are entirely resistant to antibiotics. Fighting against that future are bioresearchers from the University of Illinois, Chicago, who are pursuing more clever ways to prevent microbes from diseasing us.
Modern-day farmers are locked in a constant arms race with hungry pests, trying to develop methods of deterring bugs and plants faster than these organisms evolve to resist their attacks. As evolution is a fairly slow process, this usually allows the farmers to come out on top, or at least enough to make a profit on their crop yields. However, there is one particularly crafty bug that seemed to evolve at a much faster rate than normal- an anomaly which bioresearchers from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign set out to explain.
Dr. Sidonie Lavergne, a researcher at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, has undertaken research investigating drug hypersensitivity reactions in animals to better understand the serious nature and frequency of drug reactions in the veterinary field. Lavergne believes there is a lack of awareness in this field, so she is leading a study on the nature of allergic reactions to medications in both dogs and humans.
With plans to spend $23 million on a new research facility, the University of Illinois is a great market for lab suppliers hoping to increase laboratory equipment sales and market university lab equipment at life science marketing events. Construction will begin on the University of Illinois’s biofuel research lab this fall, and the lab will be used to research biomass-derived biofuels like cellulosic ethanol. According to Biomass Magazine, funding will come from the Illinois Capital Development Board. The lab is expected to be completed in 18 months after construction begins.
Bioresearchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have invented an ingenious method for shining light on one of the most mysterious organs we have: the brain. Their tool of choice is a thin, flat LED that can be seamlessly and innocuously injected, causing minimum invasiveness and disturbance. The LEDs will help advance our understandings of bodily organs like the brain through the field of optogenetics.
When it comes to developing drugs for disease prevention and treatment, sometimes it is best not to reinvent the wheel- especially when nature holds so many solutions to those enterprising (or fortunate) individuals who know where to look. One such researcher, Professor Brian Murphy of the University of Illinois, Chicago, collects hundreds of possibly curative species of bacteria from one of nature’s least explored resources: the floors of lakes and oceans.
A microscopic worm by the name of Schistosoma mansoni has been long credited with a long lifespan and an uncanny knack for regeneration. Thanks to recent research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the worm’s secret is out: it utilizes adult stem cells to restore and replace itself at will.
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In the interest of keeping at the forefront of modern bioresearch, the University of Illinois Chicago has just announced the construction of a cell regeneration research center at its College of Medicine at Rockford. If the topic of cell regeneration sounds familiar, recall that the Mayo Clinic in Rochester is also a pioneer in regenerative medicine. (You can read our blog on the subject here.) The motivation for the center began with a three million dollar grant from the CWB foundation, which supports projects that benefit disabled people. Thanks to this grant and matching university funds, UIC will be able to join the biotechnology leaders who are performing research in this quickly growing field.
Biotechnology vendors and lab suppliers in Illinois will find a well-funded market of science researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, according to recent NIH and NSF funding statistics. In 2012, the NIH awarded the university $69.7 million in research funding. Of the different bio departments at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the money was distributed as follows: