research

Genetics
3:03 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Combining The DNA Of Three People Raises Ethical Questions

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 5:03 pm

In a darkened lab in the north of England, a research associate is intensely focused on the microscope in front of her. She carefully maneuvers a long glass tube that she uses to manipulate early human embryos.

"It's like microsurgery," says Laura Irving of Newcastle University.

Irving is part of a team of scientists trying to replace defective DNA with healthy DNA. They hope this procedure could one day help women who are carrying genetic disorders have healthy children.

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Color Decoded
3:02 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Whether Green With Envy Or Tickled Pink, We Live In A Color-Coded World

An employee at a frozen foods company in eastern Germany checks carrots for quality.
Michael Urban AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 11:00 am

Red means stop; green means go. You live in a red or a blue state. You feel green with envy, or you're tickled pink. Colors alert, provoke, attract, divide and unite us.

Thinkers from Plato to Einstein to a new cottage industry of color psychologists have studied the importance of color in our daily lives. But, as Joann and Arielle Eckstut write in their book The Secret Language of Color: "Anyone who claims to be an expert on color is a liar."

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Higher Education
2:43 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

From Blue Bleach To Hazmat Hacks, Students Take On Ebola Challenges

Students taking part in Columbia University's Ebola design challenge demonstrated for judges how to use a special chamber for decontaminating small items.
Courtesy of Columbia Engineering

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 12:24 pm

If there's one thing college kids do best, it's thinking creatively. Often operating with limited resources and tight deadlines, they're used to coming up with ingenious solutions to life's everyday problems (usually on little sleep). So it's no surprise that experts are turning to students for help in battling one of this year's most pressing global health issues: the Ebola outbreak.

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Science
10:53 am
Mon November 3, 2014

New Clock May End Time As We Know It

Strontium atoms floating in the center of this photo are the heart of the world's most precise clock. The clock is so exact that it can detect tiny shifts in the flow of time itself.
Courtesy of the Ye group and Brad Baxley/JILA

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 2:51 pm

"My own personal opinion is that time is a human construct," says Tom O'Brian. O'Brian has thought a lot about this over the years. He is America's official timekeeper at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado.

To him, days, hours, minutes and seconds are a way for humanity to "put some order in this very fascinating and complex universe around us."

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Climate Change
3:03 pm
Sun November 2, 2014

U.N.: End Greenhouse Emissions By 2100 Or Risk 'Irreversible' Damage

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru's Minister of Environment, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chairman Rajendra Pachauri and Renate Christ, Secretary of the IPCC present the Synthesis Report during a news conference in Copenhagen on Sunday.
Scanpix Denmark Reuters/Landov

A new United Nations report is warning that fossil fuels must be entirely phased out by the end of the century in order to avoid dangerous and irreversible damage to the Earth's climate.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says the world faces "severe, pervasive and irreversible" consequences if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut to zero by 2100.

Examples of "irreversible" change include a runaway melt of the Greenland ice cap that would trigger devastating sea-level rise and could swamp coastal cities and disrupt agriculturally critical monsoons.

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Science
9:29 am
Wed October 22, 2014

How One Connecticut Professor Is Finding Relatives of the Tomato

One flower discovered by CCSU's Thomas Mione collects nectar in unusual tiny pools.
Thomas Mione

A biology professor in Connecticut has spent 20 years traveling in South America to discover plants.

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Medical Research
2:44 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Federal Funding for Cancer Research Plummets in Connecticut

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute.
NCI

Connecticut’s share of funding from the National Cancer Institute has dropped 19 percent since 2010 – a steeper decline than many other states, an analysis of National Institutes of Health data shows.

Federal cancer institute funding to Connecticut fell to $33.4 million in 2014 – down from $41.1 million in 2010. The biggest grantee, Yale University, is receiving $7 million less from the National Cancer Institute, one of the NIH’s most prominent centers.

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Higher Education
10:00 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Where Should Universities Draw the Line on Ebola-Related Research and Student Safety?

Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Yale Alumni Magazine

Yale-New Hospital received word late Friday from the Centers for Disease Control confirming preliminary test results showing the patient hospitalized in isolation last week with Ebola-like symptoms does not have the Ebola virus.

The patient is one of two unidentified Yale doctoral students who returned recently from a research mission in Liberia. Though the student did not come directly in contact with Ebola patients, Yale officials say the hospitalized student did come in contact with one person who eventually developed Ebola.

The scare has raised questions about educational research, foreign exchange, and study abroad travel to countries with Ebola outbreaks.

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Ocean Science
4:22 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Oceanographer Ballard Exits Mystic Aquarium After 15 Years

Robert Ballard.
Inst. for Exploration and Inst. for Archaeological Oceanography

Oceanographer Robert Ballard has ended his 15-year relationship with Mystic Aquarium that exhibited his discoveries of wrecks including John F. Kennedy's PT-109 and the Titanic.

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Science Research
6:33 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Embryonic Stem Cells Restore Vision In Preliminary Human Test

Isabella Beukes, of Santa Rosa, Calif., has been legally blind for more than 40 years. An experimental treatment derived from embryonic stem cells seems to have enabled her now to see not just color but also some shapes.
Tim Hussin for NPR

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 11:39 am

Scientists are reporting the first strong evidence that human embryonic stem cells may be helping patients.

The cells appear to have improved the vision in more than half of the 18 patients who had become legally blind because of two progressive, currently incurable eye diseases.

The researchers stress that the findings must be considered preliminary because the number of patients treated was relatively small and they have only been followed for an average of less than two years.

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Orbital Mission
12:46 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Secret U.S. Space Plane To Land After 22 Months In Orbit

This photo released by Vandenberg Air Force Base on Monday shows the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, the Air Force's unmanned, reusable space plane, after it landed at Vandenberg from a previous orbital mission.
Paul Pinner AP

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 8:59 pm

This much we know: It's not a bird and it's not exactly a plane.

Beyond that, the U.S. Air Force holds all the answers. The mission of the unmanned X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, which is scheduled to touch down at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Tuesday after 22 months in orbit, has been described only vaguely as "to gather more test data."

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Medicinal Research
10:46 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Exploring Black Cohosh, Hot Peppers, in Breast Cancer Treatment

Dr. Erin Hofstatter.
Jenifer Frank C-HIT

Dr. Erin Hofstatter, a young research scientist and breast cancer specialist at Yale’s Smilow Cancer Hospital, often prescribes tamoxifen, raloxifene and similar drugs to her patients. The drugs “reduce your risk (of cancer recurring) by half … but they come with baggage,” she tells her patients, “hot flashes, night sweats, leg cramps, small risk of uterine cancer, small risk of blood clots, small risk of stroke, you have to get your liver tested.”

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Nobel Prize
9:53 am
Mon October 13, 2014

French Economist Wins Nobel For Work On Regulating Big Business

French economist Jean Tirole won the Nobel prize for economics Monday for research on market power and regulation in industries dominated by a few powerful companies. The undated photo was provided by the Toulouse School of Economics.
AP

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 1:15 pm

Saying that he "clarified how to understand and regulate industries with a few powerful firms," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the Nobel Prize in economic sciences to Jean Tirole, who teaches at the Toulouse School of Economics. He studies oligopolies, markets that are controlled by a handful of powerful (and interdependent) companies.

"I was very surprised, I was incredibly surprised," Tirole said shortly after he received the phone call informing him of the win. "The honor... it took me half an hour to recoup from the call. I still haven't recouped yet."

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Nobel Prize
6:50 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Scientists Share Chemistry Nobel For Breakthrough In Microscopy

The three winners of the 2014 Nobel Prize for chemistry: Americans Eric Betzig and William Moerner, and German scientist Stefan Hell.
Bertil Ericson AP

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 8:18 am

Two Americans and a German will share the Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing a new type of microscopy that allows researchers, for the first time, to see individual molecules inside living cells.

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Bioscience Expansion
10:04 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Jackson Lab Readies for Farmington Debut

Construction workers putting finishing touches to Jackson Lab's Farmington premises
Harriet Jones WNPR

Jackson Laboratory is putting the finishing touches to its new facility in Farmington. The $100 million building opens for business next week, and the non-profit says there are already plans for further expansion. 

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Science
10:02 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Soil Doctors Hit Pay Dirt In Manhattan's Central Park

The Bronx may be up and the Battery down, but Central Park is where an amazing wealth of different sorts of microbes play.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 9:14 am

Manhattan's Central Park is surrounded by one of the densest cities on the planet. It's green enough, yet hardly the first place most people would think of as biologically rich.

But a team of scientists got a big surprise when they recently started digging there.

They were 10 soil ecologists — aka dirt doctors. Kelly Ramirez from Colorado State University was among them. "We met on the steps of the natural history museum at 7 a.m. with our collection gear, coolers and sunblock," she recalls.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue September 23, 2014

One for the Birds of Connecticut (Again)

Connecticut's state bird: the American robin.
Credit Ken Douglas / Creative Commons

It’s an hour for the birds! We are joined by bird lovers and experts to discuss the state of the bird population in our state and to answer your burning bird questions. We also check in with our environmental reporter Patrick Skahill about his recent bird-related reporting.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon September 22, 2014

The Future of American Think Tanks

Credit www.GlynLowe.com / Creative Commons

Founded in 1916, the Brookings Institution became America’s first think tank -- an organization that devoted itself to the study of national public policy. Today, Brookings is just one of some 1,800 think tanks operating across the United States. 

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Space
8:43 am
Mon September 22, 2014

NASA: MAVEN Spacecraft Safely Circling Mars

Artist concept of MAVEN spacecraft in orbit around Mars.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 10:44 am

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft conducted a 33-minute burn of its six main engines to ease into an orbit around Mars after a nearly yearlong, 442 million-mile voyage from Earth. The probe's mission is to study the red planet's atmosphere.

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Space
8:02 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Mission To Study Mars' Climate Enters Red Planet's Orbit

In this artist concept provided by NASA, the MAVEN spacecraft approaches Mars on a mission to study its upper atmosphere.
AP

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 10:41 pm

This Sunday night, we headed back to Mars: NASA's MAVEN spacecraft fired its six main engines, slowing down enough so it could be captured by the gravity of the red planet and go into orbit.

MAVEN, which stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, is a distinctly un-sexy name for a project as cool as a sojourn to Mars. But whatever it's called, the probe is on a mission that should be of interest to everyone who likes living on Earth.

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Wealth Gap
5:55 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

One in Seven Connecticut Children Living in Poverty

Credit Lance Neilson

The rate of child poverty in Connecticut held steady in 2013, from the year before. But that stabilization follows a huge rise in the last decade. One in seven children in the state lives in a poor family. 

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50 Shades of Cave
2:16 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Looking Beyond Notions Of Erotica In Prehistoric Art

This carved ivory figurine of a woman, found in a cave in southern Germany in 2008, is estimated to be at least 35,000 years old.
Daniel Maurer AP

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 3:10 pm

In the realm of prehistoric art, there's a type of small figurine made of stone, bone or ivory that is famous. It features exaggeratedly large breasts, hips and buttocks.

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Cities
12:09 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Yale's Rudd Center Plans Major Move to Downtown Hartford

Constitution Plaza in downtown Hartford, where the Rudd Center is moving January 1.
Henk Sijgers Creative Commons

A nationally recognized research center dedicated to food policy and issues of obesity will leave Yale University at the end of the year and partner with the University of Connecticut.

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Brain Science
1:32 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Some Things You Can Do In Your Sleep, Literally

After people learned to sort words while awake, their brains were able to do the same task while asleep.
Courtesy of Current Biology, Kouider et al.

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 11:23 am

For those who find themselves sleeping through work — you may one day find yourself working through sleep.

People who are fast asleep can correctly respond to simple verbal instructions, according to a study by researchers in France. They think this may help explain why you might wake if someone calls your name or why your alarm clock is more likely to rouse you than any other noise.

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WAMC News
11:57 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Bill Concerning Lyme Disease Research Passes U.S. House

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 7:46 pm

The House of Representatives has passed a bill authored by a New York Congressman for tick-borne disease research.

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Research Funding
5:13 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

When Scientists Give Up

Randen Patterson left a research career in physiology at U.C. Davis when funding got too tight. He now owns a grocery store in Guinda, Calif.
Max Whittaker/Prime for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 3:29 pm

Ian Glomski thought he was going to make a difference in the fight to protect people from deadly anthrax germs. He had done everything right — attended one top university, landed an assistant professorship at another.

But Glomski ran head-on into an unpleasant reality: These days, the scramble for money to conduct research has become stultifying.

So, he's giving up on science.

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Blue Whales
10:12 am
Sun September 7, 2014

U.S. Pacific Blue Whales Seen Rebounding Close To Historic Levels

Off the coast of Southern California, a crowd watches a blue whale rise to the surface earlier this summer. A new study says the population of blue whales off the West Coast is close to historic levels.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Sun September 7, 2014 11:16 pm

Decades after the threat of extinction led to them being protected from whalers, there are now about 2,200 blue whales off the West Coast, according to a new study. That's roughly 97 percent of historical levels, say researchers at the University of Washington who call their findings a conservation success story.

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Going Cold Turkey
9:00 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Meds to Alleviate Stress May Help Women Smokers Quit

Javier Ignacio Acuna Ditzel Creative Commons

For the last 50 years, men have consistently had an easier time quitting smoking than women. More men go cold turkey. More men stop on nicotine blockers like gum and patches. More men succeed on medications. Sherry McKee, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, thinks she may know why.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon September 1, 2014

The Modern Age of Science; Connecticut Bull Osborndale Ivanhoe

Horia Varlan Creative Commons

Back in March, a team of Harvard scientists claimed to have found the first direct evidence of gravity waves from the Big Bang. Within a matter of hours, their story had made its way around the Internet, spreading across blogs, news sites, and social media.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu August 28, 2014

The Future of American Think Tanks

K Street, Washington, D.C.
www.GlynLowe.com Creative Commons

Founded in 1916, the Brookings Institution became America’s first think tank -- an organization that devoted itself to the study of national public policy. Today, Brookings is just one of some 1,800 think tanks operating across the United States. 

Read more

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