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A team of researchers from the University of Illinois has recently devised a practical nanotechnology-based method for detecting and treating the harmful bacteria that cause plaque and lead to tooth decay and other detrimental conditions.

In a new study in cells, University of Illinois researchers have adapted CRISPR gene-editing technology to cause the cell’s internal machinery to skip over a small portion of a gene when transcribing it into a template for protein building. This gives researchers a way not only to eliminate a mutated gene sequence, but to influence how the gene is expressed and regulated.

The Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) will gain an atom probe instrument for three-dimensional imaging and analysis of materials thanks to a National Science Foundation (NSF) Major Research Instrumentation award.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a model to clarify what parts of the world may benefit most from re-circulation of human-waste-derived nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus from cities and back into farm fields. They report their findings in the journal Nature Sustainability.

Sharing workouts has also become popular, thanks to sites like Strava and Garmin Connect. It gives runners accountability and a sense of community, and the sites often include leaderboards. Like most social media outlets, its users have the option of who gets to see that information. But those who post and share those routes are at a security risk, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found. Thanks to their work, however, sites like Strava and Garmin Connect are modifying their service to further protect their users.

Scientists have discovered that curcumin to be an effective agent for killing cancer cells. Curcumin's effective has been extremely limited because it isn't natually soluble in water. Recently, however a team led by Dipanjan Pan, an associate professor of bioengineering, has created a sophisticated metallocyclic complex using platinum that has not only enabled curcumin’s solubility, but whose synergy has proven 100 times more effective in treating various cancer types such as melanoma and breast cancer cells than using curcumin and platinum agents separately. 

After a primary tumor is treated, cancer stem cells may still lurk in the body, ready to metastasize and cause a recurrence of the cancer in a form that’s more aggressive and resistant to treatment. University of Illinois researchers have developed a molecular probe that seeks out these elusive cells and lights them up so they can be identified, tracked and studied not only in cell cultures, but in their native environment: the body.

When you think cybersecurity, you’re probably thinking about measures to keep hackers out of your network. Adam Bates, is focused on next steps after an attack begins. The assistant professor of computer science at the University of Illinois was granted a National Science Foundation CAREER AWARD to advance the use of data provenance, the goal of which is to identify the attacker, figure out their grand plan and prevent them achieving that plan. His work has attracted interest from VISA and the MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

The most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults, tooth decay occurs when the good and bad bacteria in our mouth become imbalanced. The bad bacteria, Streptococcus mutans, forms a biofilm (aka tartar), then takes the sugars we eat and ferments them into acid, which decalcifies our teeth and causes cavities. Scientists know, though, that there is a second harmful bacteria called Streptococcus sobrinus that accelerates tooth decay in some people, but very little is known about this microbe. This will soon change because a team of Illinois Bioengineering researchers led by Assistant Professor Paul Jensen has successfully sequenced the complete genomes of three strains of S. sobrinus.

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