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In pig brain development, nature beats nurture

URBANA, Ill. – Before humans can benefit from new drug therapies and nutritional additives, scientists test their safety and efficacy in animals, typically mice and rats. But, as much as they’ve done for biomedical research, rodents aren’t always the best research model for studies on neonatal brain development and nutrition. That’s where pigs can play an important role.

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New pig brain maps facilitate human neuroscience discoveries

URBANA, Ill. – When scientists need to understand the effects of new infant formula ingredients on brain development, it’s rarely possible for them to carry out initial safety studies with human subjects. After all, few parents are willing to hand over their newborns to test unproven ingredients.

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Gut bacteria help digest dietary fiber, release important antioxidant

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Dietary fiber found in grains is a large component of many diets, but little is understood about how we digest the fiber, as humans lack enzymes to break down the complex molecules. Some species of gut bacteria break down the fiber in such a way that it not only becomes digestible, but releases ferulic acid, an important antioxidant with multiple health benefits, according to a new study led by Department of Animal Sciences researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

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Illinois RapidVent research published

URBANA, Ill -- The design, testing, and validation of the Illinois RapidVent emergency ventilator has been published in the journal Plos One. The article, “Emergency Ventilator for COVID-19,” by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers, is the first of its kind to report such details about an emergency ventilator that was designed, prototyped, and tested at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

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What happens when the coronavirus mutates?

New mutations to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are emerging, including a more-infectious variant first found in the United Kingdom, even as vaccines containing bits of viral genetic material are beginning distribution. Gustavo Caetano-Anollés, a professor in the Department of Crop Sciences and a member of the Carl R.

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Gene biomarkers indicate liver toxicity quickly and accurately

URBANA, Ill. ­– When agrochemical and pharmaceutical companies develop new products, they must test extensively for potential toxicity before obtaining regulatory approval. This testing usually involves lengthy and expensive animal studies. 

A research team at University of Illinois has developed a gene biomarker identification technique that cuts the testing process down to a few days while maintaining a high level of accuracy.

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University research and the private sector: How a jelly ingredient factors in

URBANA, Ill. – Food additives get a bad rap, but a natural ingredient from orange peels and apple skins, pectin, is a thickener safely added to many food products, most notably jellies. The additive is also the subject of a University of Illinois experiment highlighting both the power and the challenges of public-private partnerships in university research.

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Gut communicates with the entire brain through cross-talking neurons

URBANA, Ill. – You know that feeling in your gut? We think of it as an innate intuition that sparks deep in the belly and helps guide our actions, if we let it. It’s also a metaphor for what scientists call the “gut-brain axis,” a biological reality in which the gut and its microbial inhabitants send signals to the brain, and vice versa.

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$6M grant renews center that seeks to understand science of drug abuse

With the goal of advancing the understanding of the neurochemistry of addiction, the Neuroproteomics and Neurometabolomics Center on Cell-Cell Signaling at the University of Illinois has had its funding renewed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse with a $6 million grant. Animal sciences professor Sandra Rodriguez-Zas runs the Bioinformatics, Data Analytics, and Predictive Modeling Core of the center.

Read more from the Beckman Institute.

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ACES contributes to new animal MRI at Beckman Institute

URBANA, Ill. – The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois, along with a generous gift from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust and contributions from 17 other academic units at Illinois, are funding the purchase of a Bruker 9.4 Tesla preclinical animal MRI system.

The College of ACES is contributing $200,000 toward the $6 million MRI project, with $831,000 coming from the Carver Trust. Construction is expected to start this fall, and the MRI will be installed next fall at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

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