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Latest Washington University Stories

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2011-06-29 08:31:44

A microlaser no bigger than a pinprick can accurately detect and count individual viruses, the particles that jumpstart cloud formation or those that contaminate the air we breathe. By Diana Lutz, Washington University in St. Louis A tiny doughnut-shaped laser is the latest marvel of silicon microminiaturization, but instead of manipulating bits it detects very small particles. Small particles play a big "” and largely unnoticed "” role in our everyday lives. Virus particles make...

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2011-06-27 09:25:00

Written in coconut DNA are two origins of cultivation, several ancient trade routes, and the history of the colonization of the Americas By Diana Lutz, Washington University in St. Louis The coconut (the fruit of the palm Cocos nucifera) is the Swiss Army knife of the plant kingdom; in one neat package it provides a high-calorie food, potable water, fiber that can be spun into rope, and a hard shell that can be turned into charcoal. What's more, until it is needed for some other purpose it...

2011-06-20 13:40:47

Picture a menacing drill sergeant, a gory slaughterhouse, a devastating scene of a natural disaster. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have found that viewing such emotion-laden images immediately after taking a test actually enhances people's retention of the tested material. The data the researchers gathered in recent studies are the first to show that negative arousal following successful retrieval of information enhances later recall of that information. The finding is...

2011-06-13 13:31:27

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital "“ Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project scientists pioneer way to find more chromosomal aberrations in tumors; results likely to advance understanding of cancer A dramatically better computer tool for finding the genetic missteps that fuel cancer has been developed by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital "“ Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project investigators. Researchers are using the new algorithm to help...

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2011-06-11 09:07:15

Combining electrochemistry and photovoltaics to clean up oxidation reactions The idea is simple, says Kevin Moeller, PhD, and yet it has huge implications. All we are recommending is using photovoltaic cells (clean energy) to power electrochemical reactions (clean chemistry). Moeller is the first to admit this isn't new science. "But we hope to change the way people do this kind of chemistry by making a connection for them between two existing technologies," he says. To underscore the...

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2011-05-16 10:15:00

In two independent studies scientists have separately identified DNA on chromosome 3 that appears to be related to depression. Depression has long been suggested in studies to be influenced by genetics, with about 20 percent of the population being majorly affected by it at some point in their lives. The new studies have identified up to 90 genes within the DNA to further suggest that the risk of depression is influenced by genetics. "What's remarkable is that both groups found exactly the...

2011-05-12 22:12:16

"I have a slide that has a photo of a cornfield and a big photovoltaic array," says Robert Blankenship, a scientist who studies photosynthesis at Washington University in St. Louis. "When I give talks I often ask the audience which one is more efficient. Invariably the audience votes overwhelmingly in favor of photosynthesis. " They are wrong. This question and its surprising answer (below) is the point of departure for a provocative article published in the May 13 issue of Science. The...

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2011-04-12 07:49:08

By Diana Lutz, Washington University in St. Louis Both migration and evolution played a role in the adaptation of shootingstars to warmer temperatures after the last ice age. Many scientists are concerned that plant and animal species may face extinction due to global warming, but biologists at Washington University in St. Louis are trying to predict exactly what will happen to them. Which species will migrate? Which evolve? Which change their behavior? Which become extinct? Rather than peer...

2011-02-28 08:41:34

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- It sounds like science-fiction, but one researcher has used new technology that may someday allow patients with a prosthetic arm to move their limb by thought alone. Daniel Moran, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering and neurobiology in the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues just completed a set of experiments that employed the use of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) called EECoGs. These are...

2011-02-18 17:07:32

Mind over matter Daniel Moran has dedicated his career to developing the best brain-computer interface, or BCI, he possibly can. His motivation is simple but compelling. "My sophomore year in high school," Moran says, "a good friend and I were on the varsity baseball team. I broke my arm and was out for the season. I was feeling sorry for myself when he slide into home plate head first and broke his neck. "So I knew what I wanted to do when I was 15 years old, and all my career is just based...