Madison, WI, United States
Madison, WI, United States

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a selective public research university located in Madison, Wisconsin, United States. Founded when Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848, UW–Madison is the official state university of Wisconsin, and the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System. It was the first public university established in Wisconsin and remains the oldest and largest public university in the state. It became a land-grant institution in 1866. The 933-acre main campus includes four National Historic Landmarks.UW–Madison is organized into 20 schools and colleges, which enrolled 29,504 undergraduate, 9,430 graduate, and 2,526 professional students and granted 6,494 bachelor's, 3,560 graduate and professional degrees in 2012-2013. The University employs over 21,727 faculty and staff. Its comprehensive academic program offers 132 undergraduate majors, along with 149 master's degree programs and 120 doctoral programs.The UW is categorized as an RU/VH Research University in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. In 2012, it had research expenditures of more than $1.1 billion, the third highest among universities in the country. Wisconsin is a founding member of the Association of American Universities.The Wisconsin Badgers compete in 25 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA's Division I Big Ten Conference and have won 28 national championships. Wikipedia.


Time filter

Source Type

Lucey M.R.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Liver International | Year: 2017

Although liver transplantation has become accepted as a life-saving treatment of last resort for most life-threatening liver disorders, the use of liver transplantation to rescue patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis unresponsive to medical therapy remains controversial. I propose the concepts that alcohol use disorder is an illness, that on occasion results in alcoholic liver disease and that treatment of alcoholic liver disease, including treatment of patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis, combines treatment of the alcohol use disorder and of alcoholic liver disease. From this I derive the following principal to govern selection of patients for liver transplantation of patients with alcohol use disorder: that alcohol use disorder should impact suitability for liver transplantation as a co-morbid disorder, in the same way as other common co-morbid disorders such as diabetes mellitus or systemic hypertension, are factored in the selection process. We should relate the risk of drinking relapse to the prognosis of the patient after transplantation, rather than in a binary construct of likelihood of maintaining abstinence vs drinking. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


DeLuca H.F.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Plum L.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences | Year: 2017

Acheson et al. (1960) observed an inverse relationship between sunlight exposure and the incidence of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This led to the suggestion that increased levels of vitamin D caused by sunlight in some way suppresses MS. Further, super physiological doses of the metabolically active metabolite of vitamin D, i.e. 1α,25 dihydroxy vitamin D suppresses the animal model of MS i.e. experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). However, this response was accompanied by hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia itself can suppress EAE. The ability of 1,25(OH)2D3 to suppress EAE in mice is largely eliminated by a low calcium diet until hypercalcemia is induced by high doses of 1,25(OH)2D3 that causes mobilization of calcium from the skeleton. Of great importance is the finding that vitamin D deficiency prevents EAE, a finding dramatically opposite to the original hypothesis. Further, vitamin D receptor knock out animals do not develop EAE supporting the idea that vitamin D does not suppress EAE. Upon revisiting the inverse relationship between light exposure and incidence of MS, a narrow band of light (300-315 nm) was discovered that prevents EAE without a change in serum levels of 25 hydroxy vitamin D (indicator of vitamin D status). Clinical trials are underway to explore the possible use of this narrow band light as a treatment to stop the progression of MS, while biochemical studies are underway to evaluate the mechanism of action of the narrow band light. © The Royal Society of Chemistry and Owner Societies.


Ma C.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Meyers S.R.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Sageman B.B.,Northwestern University
Nature | Year: 2017

Variations in the Earth's orbit and spin vector are a primary control on insolation and climate; their recognition in the geological record has revolutionized our understanding of palaeoclimate dynamics, and has catalysed improvements in the accuracy and precision of the geological timescale. Yet the secular evolution of the planetary orbits beyond 50 million years ago remains highly uncertain, and the chaotic dynamical nature of the Solar System predicted by theoretical models has yet to be rigorously confirmed by well constrained (radioisotopically calibrated and anchored) geological data. Here we present geological evidence for a chaotic resonance transition associated with interactions between the orbits of Mars and the Earth, using an integrated radioisotopic and astronomical timescale from the Cretaceous Western Interior Basin of what is now North America. This analysis confirms the predicted chaotic dynamical behaviour of the Solar System, and provides a constraint for refining numerical solutions for insolation, which will enable a more precise and accurate geological timescale to be produced. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.


Givnish T.J.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Ecology Letters | Year: 2017

Marks et al. (Ecol. Lett., 19, 2016, 743-751) show that tree diversity increases with tree height in North America and argue it reflects habitat 'suitability'. This finding conflicts with classical results, lacks controls for covariates of tree height, and can be explained alternatively using the modified Janzen-Connell effect and regional variance in habitats. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.


Lund D.B.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Annual Review of Food Science and Technology | Year: 2017

Food engineering is a hybrid of food science and an engineering science, like chemical engineering in my particular case, resulting in the application of chemical engineering principles to food systems and their constituents. With the complexity of food and food processing, one generally narrows his or her interests, and my primary interests were in the kinetics of reactions important in foods, thermal processing, deposition of unwanted materials from food onto heated surfaces (fouling), and microwave heat transfer in baking. This review describes how I developed an interest in these topics and the contributions I have hopefully made to understanding food and to the application of engineering. Copyright © 2017 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


Bolling B.W.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety | Year: 2017

Almond is a nutrient-dense tree nut recognized for its favorable lipid profile, vitamin E content, and polyphenols. The objectives of this review were to determine the polyphenols reported in almond, summarize the methods of analysis, and determine the polyphenol contribution to almond quality and health-promoting activity. Approximately 130 different polyphenols have been identified in almond, although not all of these have been quantitated. The mean and 25% to 75% percentile contents reported in literature were 162 mg (67.1 to 257) proanthocyanidins (dimers or larger), 82.1 mg (72.9 to 91.5) hydrolysable tannins, 61.2 mg (13.0 to 93.8) flavonoids (non-isoflavone), 5.5 mg (5.2 to 12) phenolic acids and aldehydes, and 0.7 mg (0.5 to 0.9) isoflavones, stilbenes, and lignans per 100 g almond. Following solvent extraction of almond, hydrolysis of the residue liberates additional proanthocyanidins, phenolic acids and aldehydes, and total phenols. Blanching and skin removal consistently reduces almond polyphenol content, but blanch water and almond skins retain enough polyphenols to be used as antimicrobial and antioxidant ingredients. Roasting and pasteurization have inconsistent effects on almond polyphenols. Almond polyphenols contribute to shelf life by inhibiting lipid oxidation and providing pigmentation, flavor, astringency, and antimicrobial activity. The health-promoting activity of whole almonds has been widely investigated, but few have considered the contribution of polyphenols. Preclinical studies of polyphenol-rich almond skin or almond extracts suggest putative effects on antioxidant function, detoxification, antiviral activity, anti-inflammatory function, and topical use for inhibiting ultraviolet A damage. Therefore, almond has a diverse polyphenol profile contributing to both its food quality and health-promoting actions. © 2017 Institute of Food Technologists®.


Fisher A.V.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Annals of Surgery | Year: 2017

OBJECTIVE:: The aim of this study was to identify and compare common reasons and risk factors for 30-day readmission after pancreatic resection. BACKGROUND:: Hospital readmission after pancreatic resection is common and costly. Many studies have evaluated this problem and numerous discrepancies exist regarding the primary reasons and risk factors for readmission. METHODS:: Multiple electronic databases were searched from 2002 to 2016, and 15 relevant articles identified. Overall readmission rate was calculated from individual study estimates using a random-effects model. Study data were combined and overall estimates of odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for each risk factor. Multivariable data were qualitatively synthesized. RESULTS:: The overall 30-day readmission rate was 19.1% (95% CI 17.4–20.7) across all studies. Infectious complications and gastrointestinal disorders, such as failure to thrive and delayed gastric emptying, together accounted for 58.9% of all readmissions. Demographic factors did not predict readmission. Heart disease (OR 1.37, 95% CI 1.12–1.67), hypertension (OR 1.44, 95% CI 1.09–1.91), and intraoperative blood transfusion (OR 1.45, 95% CI 1.15–1.83) were weak predictors of readmission, while any postoperative complications (OR 2.22, 95% CI 1.55–3.18) or severe complications (OR 2.84, 95% CI 1.65–4.89) were stronger predictors. CONCLUSIONS:: Readmission after pancreatic resection is common and can largely be attributed to infectious complications and inability to maintain adequate hydration and nutrition. Focus on outpatient resources and follow-up to address these issues will prove valuable in reducing readmissions. Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Parks R.B.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise | Year: 2017

PURPOSE: To describe the prevalence of anemia among incoming female college athletes and to characterize the results and expenses of iron-related testing at one NCAA Division I institution. METHODS: In this retrospective medical record review, hemoglobin (Hgb) and ferritin (Fer) lab values were obtained for student-athletes at a single institution, 2002 - 2014. Labs were collected either as part of the pre-participation exam (PPE) for female athletes, routine screening for cross country athletes, or as needed for medical evaluation. Anemia was defined as Hgb < 11.6 g/dL for females and < 13.6 g/dL for males. Iron deficiency was defined as Fer < 20 ng/mL for both sexes. RESULTS: A total of 5,674 lab draws were obtained for 2,749 individuals (56% female) from 25 different teams. The prevalence of low Hgb among female athletes at PPE was 5.7% (95% CI 4.4%-6.9%). At PPE, the incidence of anemia was not significantly higher for any sport when compared to the group mean. Ferritin and Hgb were collected together in approximately one third of all blood draws from females (n = 1,059) and one sixth of blood draws from males (n = 411). For females, 2.2% indicated iron deficiency anemia and 30.9% indicated iron deficiency without anemia. For males, 1.2% indicated iron deficiency anemia and 2.9% indicated iron deficiency without anemia. The median cost of iron testing exceeded $20,000 annually for the institution. CONCLUSION: One in 20 incoming females was identified with anemia at the PPE. Given the costs of testing, screening practices at each institution should be thoughtfully selected and routinely reassessed. © 2017 American College of Sports Medicine


Brellenthin A.G.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise | Year: 2017

Acute aerobic exercise improves mood and activates the endocannabinoid (eCB) system in physically active individuals; however, both mood and eCB responses to exercise may vary based on habitual levels of physical activity. PURPOSE: To examine eCB and mood responses to prescribed and preferred exercise among individuals with low, moderate, and high levels of physical activity. METHODS: Thirty-six healthy adults (21±4yrs) were recruited from low (≤60min moderate-vigorous physical activity [MVPA]/wk), moderate (150-299min MVPA/wk), and high (≥300 MVPA/wk) physical activity groups. Participants performed both prescribed (approx. 70-75% max) and preferred (i.e., self-selected) aerobic exercise on separate days. Mood states and eCB concentrations were assessed before and after exercise conditions. RESULTS: Both preferred and prescribed exercise resulted in significant increases (p < 0.01) in circulating eCBs (AEA, 2-AG); however, increases in AEA (p < 0.05) were larger in the prescribed condition. Likewise, both preferred and prescribed exercise elicited positive mood improvements compared to pre-exercise values, but changes in state anxiety, total mood disturbance, and confusion were greater in the preferred condition (p < 0.05). Changes in 2-AG concentrations were found to negatively correlate with changes in depression, tension, and total mood disturbance in the preferred condition (p < 0.05), and changes in AEA were positively associated with changes in vigor in the prescribed condition (p < 0.05). There were no significant group differences for mood or eCB outcomes. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that eCB and mood responses to exercise do not differ significantly between samples with varying physical activity levels. This study also demonstrates that in addition to prescribed exercise, preferred exercise activates the eCB system, and this activation may contribute to positive mood outcomes with exercise. © 2017 American College of Sports Medicine


DuGoff E.H.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Medical Care | Year: 2017

BACKGROUND:: Claims-based algorithms based on administrative claims data are frequently used to identify an individual’s primary care physician (PCP). The validity of these algorithms in the US Medicare population has not been assessed. OBJECTIVE:: To determine the agreement of the PCP identified by claims algorithms with the PCP of record in electronic health record data. DATA:: Electronic health record and Medicare claims data from older adults with diabetes. SUBJECTS:: Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries with diabetes (N=3658) ages 65 years and older as of January 1, 2008, and medically housed at a large academic health system. MEASURES:: Assignment algorithms based on the plurality and majority of visits and tie breakers determined by either last visit, cost, or time from first to last visit. RESULTS:: The study sample included 15,624 patient-years from 3658 older adults with diabetes. Agreement was higher for algorithms based on primary care visits (range, 78.0% for majority match without a tie breaker to 85.9% for majority match with the longest time from first to last visit) than for claims to all visits (range, 25.4% for majority match without a tie breaker to 63.3% for majority match with the amount billed tie breaker). Percent agreement was lower for nonwhite individuals, those enrolled in Medicaid, individuals experiencing a PCP change, and those with >10 physician visits. CONCLUSIONS:: Researchers may be more likely to identify a patient’s PCP when focusing on primary care visits only; however, these algorithms perform less well among vulnerable populations and those experiencing fragmented care. Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


News Article | March 27, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

A major challenge for bioengineers is the recreation and regeneration of human tissues and organs. Techniques such as 3D printing advances research in a certain way, but still, it cannot recreate the complexities of the human body especially when it comes to the intricate design of the human vascular system. Now, scientists are closer to success with the help of a humble gift from nature — a spinach leaf. A research team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute turned to nature in hopes of solving the old problem of recreating and regenerating the complex process of blood circulation that's essential for proper tissue growth and development. Though plants and animals adopt different measures of transporting necessary fluids to sustain life, there are striking similarities that, in this case, the researchers successfully utilized. Using the humble spinach leaf, the team successfully cultured beating human heart cells onto a leaf that's been stripped of its own plant cells. The results are incredible, as the human blood cells flowed perfectly along the spinach leaf's veins just as they would on human veins. Apart from spinach leaves, researchers also successfully performed the experiment on parsley, sweet wormwood, and peanut hairy roots. Armed with the success of their experiment that has already been published in advance of the Biomaterials May 2017 issue, researchers hope that their findings will aid in treating heart attack patients by layering their damaged tissue with healthy heart muscles cultured from plant leaves. The researchers began the process by stripping the leaf of its own plant cells through decellularization. The resulting frame, which has become almost transparent, is composed of cellulose, which is a biocompatible material that is not harmful to humans. The cellulose frame is then bathed in human cells that grow and form the plant frame into a small, heart-like structure. At that point, the team injected the new heart with microbeads and fluids similar in size to blood cells and observed how the fluids flowed through the spinach leaf's veins. Though the researchers say that they still have a long way to go, they believe that this is a promising advancement in bioengineering and attribute their success to the interdisciplinary composition of their team that includes biomedical engineers, plant biologists, and human stem cell and plant biology researchers. "When you have people with different expertise coming at a problem from different perspectives, novel solutions can emerge," said Glenn Gaudette, PhD, coauthor of the paper. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | April 28, 2017
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

The adage "put your thinking caps on" might evoke visions of an elementary classroom, where a teacher has just admonished cherubic little learners about to embark on a particularly difficult academic adventure. In today's high-stakes world, where we all need to think, learn or act quickly, the adage still rings true: Mastering a new task, skill or information often takes the right environment, mindset, sharp focus and lots of hard work, repetition and time. Yet, in some time-sensitive or high-pressure situations, a big boost in learning ability and speed from that proverbial thinking cap would not only be welcome, but critical. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, biomedical engineer Justin Williams is leading an effort to do just that. With up to $9.85 million in funding from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Williams and neuroscience experts from around the country will develop a low-cost, easy-to-use system -- think "learning goggles" -- that aims to accelerate learning by stimulating nerves in the head and neck to boost neural activity in the brain. The system will be particularly useful for military personnel, whose safety and our national security depends on their ability to quickly master new skills or digest vast quantities of important information. The concept is rooted in a promising new area of research, called targeted neuroplasticity training, in which activating peripheral nerves -- those outside of the brain and spinal cord -- can promote and strengthen connections of neurons in the brain. Acupuncturists have known for centuries that the face and head are excellent places to stimulate peripheral nerves. For example, the auricular vagus nerve is located just below the skin and runs past the tragus -- the little flap on your outer ear -- and down through the neck. Stimulating nerves such as the vagus can boost brain chemicals such as acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. During learning, those chemicals, known as neuromodulators, regulate changes in the connections between neurons in the brain -- and brain function improves. In recent experiments, other researchers in the field demonstrated that stimulating the vagus nerve while an animal was learning a basic task dramatically increased the speed at which the animal learned the task. "It seemed to work, whether it was a motor task, memory, auditory task or something else," said Williams, UW-Madison Vilas Distinguished Service Professor in Biomedical Engineering. Williams is among the nation's leaders in neural interface technology research and optimization. In 2009, for example, Time magazine included him on its list of the year's 50 best inventions for developing a "thinking cap": a brain-computer interface that allows paralyzed or "locked-in" people to type and send a tweet using only their thoughts. With the DARPA funding, he and his collaborators initially will leverage their combined expertise to develop ways to discover, measure, monitor and optimize the brain's response during targeted neuroplasticity training. Ultimately, they hope to use that knowledge to eventually develop a noninvasive, user-friendly technology that simultaneously delivers a stimulus, monitors neural response and dramatically accelerates learning. "Can we optimize the production of neurotransmitters at the right time and in the right place in the brain during a task to enhance learning?" asked Williams. Beyond military applications, the technology also might be useful, in controlled environments, for people who have learning disorders or who are afflicted with diseases such as Alzheimer's.


Atmospheric scientist Leigh Orf, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wants to unravel the mysteries of how tornadoes form but he needs more than just a laptop. Phenomena such as huge supercell thunderstorms involve large amounts of data that would require a more powerful machine, so Orf and colleagues turned to a supercomputer to simulate the phenomenon. Using the Bluewaters machine at the University of Illinois, the researchers simulated the tornado-producing thunderstorm that ravaged the central Great Plains in 2011. Bluewaters is one of the world's most powerful supercomputers. It is used by scientists and engineers across the United States to tackle problems ranging from predicting the behavior of biological systems to simulating how the cosmos evolved. Org and colleagues tapped on the power of this machine to have a better understanding of how tornadoes form. Orf said that it is not necessarily because the weather is complex that the use of a supercomputer is essential. The simulation involves a three-dimensional space measuring about 75 miles wide, 75 miles long, and 12.4 miles tall that is further subdivided into nearly 2 billion parts. Orf said that the feature is big and needs to be very highly resolved. In May 2011, Oklahoma had several tornadoes and supercells spawning funnel clouds that damaged properties and claimed lives. One of the tornadoes, which touched down on May 24 and known as "El Reno," was of particular interest because of its power. It was registered as an EF-5, the Enhanced Fujita scale's strongest tornado category. The tornado was on the ground for almost two hours and caused damage along a path stretching 63 miles. Using the Bluewaters supercomputer, Orf and colleagues recreated the El Reno tornado. The simulation revealed in high resolution a number of small tornadoes that formed prior to the formation of the main tornado. The mini-tornadoes started to merge as the funnel cloud developed, boosting the tornado's strength and intensifying the wind speeds. New structures eventually formed, including what is known as the streamwise vorticity current, or SVC. "For the first time we've been able to peer into the inner workings of a supercell that produces a tornado, and we're able to see that process occur," Orf said. "We have the full storm, and we can see everything going on inside of it." Researchers hope that the simulation, which needed about three days of time on 20,000 cores of the supercomputer, would provide better insights on the formation of strong and deadly tornadoes spawned by powerful thunderstorms. "We've completed the EF-5 simulation, but we don't plan to stop there," said Orf. "We are going to keep refining the model and continue to analyze the results to better understand these dangerous and powerful systems." The increasing frequency of tornadoes and thunderstorms that kill people and damage properties have been associated with climate change. Scientists suspect that the rising temperatures serve as triggers for these events. The simulations made by Orf and colleagues can give meteorologists helpful insights on the inner workings of thunderstorms and tornadoes. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

As the weather warms, so does the use of air conditioners. But running these devices requires power plants to ratchet up electricity production, causing air polluting emissions to rise. An analysis of 27 states found that, on average, summer emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) go up by hundreds to thousands of metric tons per degree Celsius increase. The report appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. A large body of research has investigated the influence of weather and climate on atmospheric chemistry. But few studies have examined the specific effects of climate on electricity emissions and air quality. Although overall emissions have dropped due to pollution control devices and a drop in coal use, regional and seasonal increases in power plant pollution could affect people's health and the environment. SO2 and NOx -- both of which are regulated in the U.S. -- can cause respiratory problems, particularly in children, people with asthma and the elderly. CO2 is a primary greenhouse gas targeted by power plant regulations. Tracey Holloway, David Abel and colleagues wanted to quantify the historical relationship between summertime air temperature and the power plant emissions of these three gases. Using data collected between 2003 and 2014, the researchers crunched the numbers on electricity emissions in 27 states, mostly in the Eastern U.S. From this analysis, they observed that power plants released 3.35 percent more SO2 on average per degree Celsius increase in temperature, and NOx and CO2 rose by 3.60 percent and 3.32 percent, respectively. States with more coal power plants such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana released the most electricity-related SO2 emissions in the summer at more than 1,300 metric tons per day, per state. However, New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont power plants released very little SO2. States like Texas with a large power demand showed high emissions of all pollutants, but smaller changes in emissions per degree Celsius. Overall, the calculations showed that hotter outdoor temperatures correlated with 140,000 metric tons more CO2 emissions. The researchers say that making buildings more energy efficient, especially on hot days, could play an important role in lowering power-plant emissions and improving air quality in the future. The authors acknowledge funding from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the National Institutes of Health and NASA. The paper's abstract will be available on May 3 here: http://pubs. The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

IMAGE:  The Penn-led research team characterized the underlying mechanism that leads to the blinding Best disease; a loss of the microvilli that support and "feed " photoreceptor cells. The contrast can be... view more Named for Friedrich Best, who characterized the disease in 1905, Best disease, also known as vitelliform macular dystrophy, affects children and young adults and can cause severe declines in central vision as patients age. The disease is one in a group of conditions known as bestrophinopathies, all linked to mutations in the BEST1 gene. This gene is expressed in the retinal pigment epithelium, or RPE, a layer of cells that undergirds and nourishes photoreceptor cells, the rods and cones responsible for vision. Despite the century of work on bestrophinopathies and the identification of genetic mutations responsible for the conditions, no one had identified the underlying mechanism that led to the vision loss seen in Best disease until now. Using an animal model of Best disease in combination with biochemical and optical assays, a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania has pinpointed a number of abnormalities that give rise to the impairments seen in the disease. "The genetic cause of the disease has been known for 20 years, but no one had samples of patients at the stage when the disease starts," said Karina E. Guziewicz, research assistant professor of ophthalmology in Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine and lead author on the study. But "we were now able to pinpoint this early stage and find out what factors trigger the development of lesions." The new information sets the team up for testing a gene therapy to treat the disease, as the researchers will be able to observe whether or not these structural and biochemical abnormalities have been corrected. "Now that we understand what we're seeing, it allows us to judge the success of a particular therapy," said Gustavo D. Aguirre, professor of medical genetics and ophthalmology at Penn Vet. Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry in Penn's School of Dental Medicine, also contributed her expertise in lipid biochemistry and spectral analysis of lipid debris to the study, which was published in the journal Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, the top ranked journal in the eye-research field. "Interestingly, the lipid debris accumulation is similar to cholesterol rich plaque formation, compounded by a complexity of vitamin A metabolism," said Boesze-Battaglia. "Alterations in lipid metabolism likely contribute to the secondary disease pathology in this model." The main puzzle surrounding Best disease was why, despite the BEST1 gene being mutated in the RPE throughout the retina, vision loss struck the macula and fovea, the central areas of the retina responsible for reading and tasks requiring high-resolution vision, while seeming to spare the rest. Researchers had observed lesions in this area, but it was unknown why they developed. In this study, the Penn-led team discovered that this predilection of the macula to develop lesions has to do with differences in the supporting structures of rods versus cones. Rods, which make up more than 90 percent of photoreceptor cells in the retina and are responsible for dim-light vision, have a cluster of supporting structures known as RPE microvilli that cup the cell like stakes holding up a plant. In contrast, cones, the color-sensing photoreceptors that make up 3 to 5 percent of all photoreceptors but are overrepresented in the macula, are engulfed in a sheath of microvilli. In addition, cones are supported by an insoluble matrix. Examining cross-sections of the fovea-like region in the canine macula of dogs affected with the canine equivalent of Best disease, the researchers found that the microvilli don't form and that the matrix is fragmented. The susceptibility of the macula is due to the fact that cones are the predominant cell type there and rely on the matrix for support and nutrient exchange. "We were not expecting to find such dramatic structural abnormalities," Guziewicz said. "For a hundred years, this has been thought to be a disease of the RPE, but we have now identified this as a disease of the RPE-photoreceptor interface." "The RPE provides transport of nutrients to the cones and engulfs the discarded part of cones and rods," said Aguirre. "When you lose the matrix, you lose the connection between those cells and the RPE and that leads to disease." To determine if the same would be true in humans, the researchers looked at human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived RPE from Best disease patients and found similar signatures: microvilli numbers were decreased in length and density. These experiments were conducted in collaboration with David Gamm's laboratory from the McPherson Eye Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Looking ahead, the research team would like to continue to probe the biochemical signals that lead to the improper development of the microvilli and matrix and push ahead with developing and testing a gene-therapy approach to treating bestrophinopathies. "Knowing where the disruptions occur will allow us to develop proper outcome measures for a gene therapy, which is in the works," said Guziewicz. The paper's other authors were Penn Dental Medicine's Néstor M. Gómez and Anuradha Dhingra, Penn Vet's Kathryn Zorych and Emily V. Dutrow, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Divya Sinha and David Gamm and the University of Iowa's Robert F. Mullins and Edwin M. Stone. The research was supported in part by the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the Macula Vision Research Foundation, the National Eye Institute, Research to Prevent Blindness, the Retina Research Foundation, the Van Sloun Fund for Canine Genetic Research and Hope for Vision.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

MADISON, Wisconsin -- In the Microbial Sciences Building at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the incredibly efficient eating habits of a fungus-cultivating termite are surprising even to those well acquainted with the insect's natural gift for turning wood to dust. According to a study published today (April 17, 2017) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, when poplar wood undergoes a short, 3.5-hour transit through the gut of the termite, the emerging feces is almost devoid of lignin, the hard and abundant polymer that gives plant cells walls their sturdiness. As lignin is notorious for being difficult to degrade, and remains a costly obstacle for wood processing industries such as biofuels and paper, the termite is the keeper of a highly sought after secret: a natural system for fully breaking down biomass. "The speed and efficiency with which the termite is breaking down the lignin polymer is totally unexpected," says John Ralph, a UW-Madison professor of biochemistry, researcher at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) and lignin expert. "The tantalizing implication is that this gut system holds keys to breaking down lignin using processes that are completely unknown." Hongjie Li, co-first author of the study, began studying the termite as graduate student at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. Now a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of UW-Madison bacteriology professor and GLBRC researcher Cameron Currie, Li was the first to keep this genus of termite alive in a lab setting, and the first to observe close-up the symbiotic system that unites the termites with the fungus Termitomyces. The entire process, as is often the case with social insects, is complex. Young termites, or young workers, collect and eat the wood. The termites' fungal-laden feces then become an integral part of a fungal comb, a sponge-like structure the termites create within a protected chamber. On the comb, the fungi further degrade the wood until its simple sugars are ready, some 45 days later, to be consumed by old worker termites. "For decades, everybody just thought that the young worker wasn't doing anything, because of how rapidly the wood passes through its gut," says Li. "But after observing the termites in the lab, I assumed there were some functions there, since the fungi simply cannot live on the wood on their one." To explore those functions, Li enlisted the help of co-first author Daniel Yelle, a research forest products technologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Products Laboratory, and an expert in wood-degrading fungal systems. "This system is unique because the fungus and the termite can't live without each other," says Yelle. "They're symbiotic, and they work together very efficiently to do things fungi can't do in nature. Together they do everything more rapidly." The system may be symbiotic, but the processes involved in the gut transit -- or the mechanisms by which the termite gut succeeds in cleaving even the hardest-to-cleave portions of the lignin -- are still unknown. Future research will focus on determining which enzymes or bacterial systems might be at work in the gut. If that super enzyme or process can be replicated outside of the termite, it could result in a dramatic improvement in the way we process wood and make biofuels, improving economics and cutting energy use. "This is a great example of the value of basic science research," says Currie. "Studying how termites process plant biomass in nature not only helps us understand our natural world, but it could contribute to our own efforts to break down biomass."


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

MADISON, Wis. -- When summer temperatures rise and people turn to their air conditioners to stay cool, something else also increases: air pollution. A new study published Wednesday (May 3, 2017) in the journal Environmental Science & Technology shows that the electricity production associated with air conditioning causes emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide to increase by hundreds to thousands of metric tons, or 3 to 4 percent per degree Celsius (or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). "The hottest days of the summer typically coincide with the days of highest air pollution," says study lead author David Abel, a graduate student in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "We quantified the relationship between daily temperature and power plant emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide on a state-by-state basis in a comprehensive manner that hasn't been done before." Increased emissions of these gases can affect not only the environment but also people's health. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides -- both of which are regulated in the U.S. -- can cause respiratory problems, particularly in children, people with asthma and the elderly. Carbon dioxide is a primary greenhouse gas targeted by power plant regulations. "We show that increased electricity demand may play a key role in high levels of ozone, particulate matter and other pollutants, so efforts to reduce peak demand could be beneficial to public health," Abel explains. Scientists have long known that air pollution is highest on hot days but few studies have looked at the specific effects of electricity emissions on the hottest days and what they contribute to air pollution. The report's state-specific findings provide valuable data for policymakers and other local stakeholders, who can see how emissions in their region respond to temperature. "Most of the research on climate and air pollution has focused on other emission sources, chemical reactions in the air, and how weather patterns can trap pollution," says Tracey Holloway, who led the study. Holloway is a professor of environmental studies at the Nelson Institute and in the UW-Madison Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. She says the study carries the discussion a step further: "We showed that hot summer days also have higher emissions from power plants." The study team included scientists at Seventhwave, a Madison-based nonprofit, and Paul Meier, an engineer at Blumont/International Relief and Development who was with the Wisconsin Energy Institute at UW-Madison when he completed the work. Using data collected between 2003 and 2014, the team crunched the numbers on electricity emissions in 26 states in the eastern U.S., along with Texas. They showed that power plants released 3.35 percent more sulfur dioxide on average per degree Celsius increase in temperature, and that nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide rose by 3.60 percent and 3.32 percent, respectively. Although overall emissions dropped in the study period -- primarily due to increased use of emissions-control devices and a decrease in coal use -- the analysis showed large regional variability. The researchers were surprised to find that states with lower overall emissions in the Northeast show the highest sensitivity to temperature. This, they say, highlights the importance of peak electricity generation on hot days and the role of older or less regulated facilities that may only be turned on when people blast their air conditioners. These are often the days when pollution control is most important to protect public health. Abel says a large portion of the U.S. population continues to regularly encounter air pollution. The researchers plan to continue studying the impacts and interactions of increases in emissions on hot summer days with other processes that affect concentrations of ozone, particulates, and other forms of air pollution. "Our next step is to compare the impact of electricity emissions with other factors affecting pollution formation - especially chemistry, natural emissions, and wind patterns," notes Holloway. "We'd like to be able to say how these processes interact. For example, relative to other factors controlling pollution formation, how important is the response of emissions from power plants?" The study was funded by UW-Madison, the National Institutes of Health and NASA. Adapted from a release by Christine Suh at the American Chemical Society.


After a 29-year quest, Ian Duncan, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has finally pinpointed the cause of a serious neurologic disease in a colony of rats.


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: phys.org

Their investigation began when Boe showed Johnson a photo of a cup plant flower teaming with insects, including a large colony of bright red aphids. Boe grows cup plants at two locations near Brookings to evaluate the plant—a member of the sunflower family—as a potential feedstock for biofuel production. The project, which is done in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is funded by the Sun Grant Initiative. "What these researchers are uncovering about the agronomics of cup plant, as well as the insects that affect them, will help us decide how they can be integrated into a bioenergy cropping system," said Vance Owens, director of the North Central Regional Sun Grant Center. "People have not looked closely at these insects—we brought everything together in understanding the biology of this one genus of parasitic wasps," Johnson said. He collaborated with research entomologist Robert Kula of the Systemic Entomology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. The work also involved entomologist Thelma Heidel-Baker, then at Purdue University, who supplied specimens from Indiana. The South Dakota researchers reared two species of parasitic wasps from the aphids, while Heidel-Baker reared five species. "Now we know that all the wasps of the genus Acanthocaudus are specialists on different species of aphids on different host plants," Johnson said. The taxonomy of each wasp species now correlates with the host aphids and their plant hosts. A parasitic wasp identified from Uroleucon aphids in South Dakota cup plants, for instance, had characteristics similar to specimens of a known species, A. tissoti, found in British Columbia and Florida. Kula ascertained that the species from South Dakota was, indeed, A. tissoti. Heidel-Baker reared a new related species of parasitic wasp, now called A. bicolor, on a different host Uroleucon aphid that feeds on asters. Their findings were published in the January 2017 issue of Zootaxa. Parasitic wasps protect the plants against aphid infestations, Johnson explained as he described wasp-aphid interaction on cup plants. What begins as a few dozen aphids per plant in mid-July can become as many as 800 aphids per leaf by the end of July or the first week of August. "The aphids feed on the juices, which can cause deformities and general weakness of the plant," Johnson said. The parasitic wasps sting the aphids to inject their eggs into the aphids' bodies.As these eggs hatch, the larvae feed internally on the aphids, he explained. By the second week in August, nearly 98 percent of the aphids had been parasitized by wasps. "When the larvae become adults, they chew a hole and pop out of the aphids," Johnson said. "It's like an alien movie." The parasitic wasps are beneficial to the cup plant. "If you have wasps around, you don't need to spray the cup plant," Johnson said. Explore further: Cunning super-parasitic wasps sniff out protected aphids and overwhelm their defenses


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The Community for Accredited Online Schools, a leading resource provider for higher education information, has determined the best online colleges and universities in Wisconsin for 2017. The list recognized 23 four-year schools, with University of Wisconsin Madison, Concordia University Wisconsin, Viterbo University, Marquette University and Edgewood University scoring as the top five schools. Of the 13 two-year colleges that also made the list, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Lakeshore Technical College, Fox Valley Technical College, Western Technical College and Mid-State Technical College were the top five. “The schools on our list offer outstanding online educational resources in the state of Wisconsin,” said Doug Jones, CEO and founder of AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org. “These certificate and degree programs offer online students the same high-quality education as traditional students, with the added bonus of flexibility that online education provides.” To earn a position on Wisconsin’s “Best Online Schools” list, colleges and universities must be accredited, public or private not-for-profit institutions. Each college is also evaluated based on additional metrics which include financial aid availability, student services, academic counseling resources, student/teacher ratios and graduation rates. For more details on where each school falls in the rankings and the data and methodology used to determine the lists, visit: Wisconsin’s Best Online Four-Year Schools for 2017 include the following: Cardinal Stritch University Concordia University-Wisconsin Edgewood College Lakeland College Maranatha Baptist University Marian University Marquette University Ottawa University - Wisconsin University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire University of Wisconsin-Green Bay University of Wisconsin-La Crosse University of Wisconsin-Madison University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh University of Wisconsin-Parkside University of Wisconsin-Platteville University of Wisconsin-River Falls University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point University of Wisconsin-Stout University of Wisconsin-Superior University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Viterbo University Wisconsin Lutheran College Wisconsin’s Best Online Two-Year Schools for 2017 include the following: Fox Valley Technical College Gateway Technical College Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College Lakeshore Technical College Mid-State Technical College Milwaukee Area Technical College Moraine Park Technical College Nicolet College Northcentral Technical College Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Western Technical College Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College ### About Us: AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org was founded in 2011 to provide students and parents with quality data and information about pursuing an affordable, quality education that has been certified by an accrediting agency. Our community resource materials and tools span topics such as college accreditation, financial aid, opportunities available to veterans, people with disabilities, as well as online learning resources. We feature higher education institutions that have developed online learning programs that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational success.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

You dream more than you know. A new way to detect dreaming has confirmed that it doesn’t only occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and has shown why we often don’t remember our dreams. “There is much more dreaming going on than we remember,” says Tore Nielsen at the University of Montreal, Canada. “It’s hours and hours of mental experiences and we remember a few minutes.” During sleep, low-frequency brainwaves are detectable across the brain. Now Francesca Siclari at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her colleagues have discovered that a decrease in these waves in an area at the back of the brain is a sign that someone is dreaming. “This zone was a little bit more awake, showing high-frequency brainwaves more common during wakefulness,” says Siclari. This one region seems to be all that’s necessary for dreaming, she says. Siclari’s team found this dream signature by using EEG caps to map the brain activity of 32 people while they slept. The team woke the sleepers when they showed various patterns of brainwave activity, and asked them if they had been dreaming. Some participants reported having dreams with a narrative structure, while others were more impressionistic. The experiment seems to have had an influence for some. “One had a dream about reporting a dream,” Siclari says. The team found such a strong correlation between dreaming and fewer low-frequency waves in the “hot zone” that they could successfully predict whether a person was dreaming 91 per cent of the time. The researchers then used this sign of dreaming to investigate how our brains behave as we dream. We normally associate dreams with REM sleep, and the team saw that dreams during this phase were linked to a rise in high-frequency brainwaves in areas that are active in waking hours. This activity matched the brain areas that would have been active if the dreamers had been living out their dreams in real life. The dream signature also revealed how much we dream during non-REM sleep. Monitoring seven people over five to 10 nights of sleep, Siclari found the volunteers dreamed during 71 per cent of their non-REM sleep, in addition to 95 per cent of their REM sleep. Despite all this dreaming, many dreams are forgotten. Sometimes participants had a foggy idea they had been dreaming, but couldn’t remember what about. In a further experiment with 10 people, the team found that being able to later remember a dream was linked to higher activity in the prefrontal cortex – which is associated with memory – while dreaming. “The region for remembering the dream was different from the region for having a dream,” Siclari says. Christoph Nissen, at University Psychiatric Services in Bern, Switzerland, says the team’s mapping of dreaming brain activity could lead to ways of modulating our perception of sleep or even manipulating our dreams – perhaps using transcranial direct-current stimulation to alter dream-associated brainwaves. “There’s treatment potential here for people who have non-restorative sleep, like those with insomnia, or nightmares from PTSD,” says Nissen. “You might think about evoking the dream state or suppressing dream states, and even combine these interventions with psychological techniques to improve the perception of sleep in the case of insomnia, or to improve nightmares.” This article will appear in print under the headline “Sleep signature reveals how much we dream” Read more: “Want to control your dreams? These tips may boost your chances“


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: phys.org

But it takes 21st-century technology to push the amount of silver needed to combat disease-causing microbes into the nanoscale realm—something like a sheet of paper divided by 100,000. As researchers explore these limits, they are walking a fine line between silver's desirable properties and its potential toxicity to the environment. A perfect case in point is a recent question that Andrea Hicks, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues set out to answer: What is the environmental impact of nanoscale silver-coated reusable hospital gowns, compared to the single-use disposable gowns employed by 80 percent of our hospitals, when the goal is to reduce the incidence of hospital-acquired infections? These nosocomial infections cause an estimated 99,000 deaths per year in the United States; combined with other forms of medical error, they are considered the third-biggest killer after heart attacks and cancer. "It's one of these silent things that most people don't think about," Hicks says. "But the rise of MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a few years ago illustrates the importance of preventing hospital textiles from transmitting pathogens." Since most nanosilver textiles lose some of their silver coating every time they're laundered, Hicks zoomed in on a novel technology that aims to solve this problem. "The nanosilver solution we studied is sold with a chemical linking agent," Hicks explains. "You put the silver and linking agent into an industrial washer, along with the reusable hospital gown, and it will re-coat the textile every time." Hicks used a tool called life cycle assessment to model the energy required to produce the two types of hospital gown—silver-coated reusable versus disposable—and the energy needed to maintain and eventually dispose of them. The concept of "embodied energy" is a commonly used metric for comparing the environmental impact of different products. After a single use, a disposable gown ends up in the landfill, while a reusable gown is laundered an average of 75 times before it is discarded. Taking into account the greater amount of energy needed to produce and maintain the reusable gown, Hicks found the break-even point, or environmental parity, to be about 12 wearings. "After 12 uses, the reusable gown has a lower environmental impact than the disposable gown," Hicks says. "The longer it is in use, the greater the difference will be." The exact difference depends on how often the silver has to be reapplied to maintain its antibacterial properties. For the current study, the researchers estimated this quantity from the amount of silver needed to inhibit the growth of E. coli, one of the best-characterized human bacteria. The environmental parity point would likely change if other pathogens were considered. The environmental impact also depends on the chemical form in which silver is released during the gown's use phase. From the wastewater treatment plant, the laundry water is ultimately discharged into a natural body of water. The researchers assumed a worst-case scenario of ionic silver—more toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms than silver chloride or silver sulfite—being released at that time. While the environmental scale tipped in favor of nano-enabled reusable gowns under these assumptions, Hicks considers it premature to endorse their large-scale adoption. "We need to better understand how well they protect against hospital-acquired infections and how to prevent the silver from harming the environment or our own bodies before deciding whether the benefits outweigh the convenience and lower cost of disposable gowns," she says. Hicks plans to pursue these questions in future work, but won't limit herself to nanosilver textiles. "I enjoy studying novel consumer technology, whether it is used in textiles, plastic containers, coffee pods or light bulbs, because estimating a new product's environmental legacy is an important aspect of bringing it to market," she says. Explore further: Rampant use of antibacterial nanosilver is a resistance risk


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

LearnHowToBecome.org, a leading resource provider for higher education and career information, has ranked the best colleges in Wisconsin for 2017. Of the 35 four-year schools who made the list, University of Wisconsin Madison, Marquette University, Saint Norbert College, Viterbo University and Lawrence University ranked the highest. 16 two-year schools also made the list; Chippewa Valley Technical College, Mid-State Technical College, Fox Valley Technical College, Lakeshore Technical College and Western Technical College were determined to be the best five. A full list of all schools is included below. “Strong economic benefits can come from having a highly-educated workforce,” said Wes Ricketts, senior vice president of LearnHowToBecome.Org. “These Wisconsin schools not only offer quality degree programs that show the value of higher education, they also have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring their students’ post-college success.” To be included on the “Best Colleges in Wisconsin” list, schools must be regionally accredited, not-for-profit institutions. Each college is also appraised on additional data that includes annual alumni earnings 10 years after entering college, career counseling services, student/teacher ratio, availability of financial aid and graduation rate. Complete details on each college, their individual scores and the data and methodology used to determine the LearnHowToBecome.org “Best Colleges in Wisconsin” list, visit: The Best Four-Year Colleges in Wisconsin for 2017 include: Alverno College Beloit College Cardinal Stritch University Carroll University Carthage College Concordia University-Wisconsin Edgewood College Lakeland College Lawrence University Maranatha Baptist University Marian University Marquette University Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design Milwaukee School of Engineering Mount Mary University Northland College Ottawa University-Milwaukee Ripon College Saint Norbert College Silver Lake College of the Holy Family University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire University of Wisconsin-Green Bay University of Wisconsin-La Crosse University of Wisconsin-Madison University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh University of Wisconsin-Parkside University of Wisconsin-Platteville University of Wisconsin-River Falls University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point University of Wisconsin-Stout University of Wisconsin-Superior University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Viterbo University Wisconsin Lutheran College The Best Two-Year Colleges in Wisconsin for 2017 include: Blackhawk Technical College Chippewa Valley Technical College Fox Valley Technical College Gateway Technical College Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College Lakeshore Technical College Mid-State Technical College Milwaukee Area Technical College Moraine Park Technical College Nicolet College Northcentral Technical College Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Waukesha County Technical College Western Technical College Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College About Us: LearnHowtoBecome.org was founded in 2013 to provide data and expert driven information about employment opportunities and the education needed to land the perfect career. Our materials cover a wide range of professions, industries and degree programs, and are designed for people who want to choose, change or advance their careers. We also provide helpful resources and guides that address social issues, financial aid and other special interest in higher education. Information from LearnHowtoBecome.org has proudly been featured by more than 700 educational institutions.


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

MADISON, Wisconsin -- The adage "put your thinking caps on" might evoke visions of an elementary classroom, where a teacher has just admonished cherubic little learners about to embark on a particularly difficult academic adventure. In today's high-stakes world, where we all need to think, learn or act quickly, the adage still rings true: Mastering a new task, skill or information often takes the right environment, mindset, sharp focus and lots of hard work, repetition and time. Yet, in some time-sensitive or high-pressure situations, a big boost in learning ability and speed from that proverbial thinking cap would not only be welcome, but critical. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, biomedical engineer Justin Williams is leading an effort to do just that. With up to $9.85 million in funding from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Williams and neuroscience experts from around the country will develop a low-cost, easy-to-use system -- think "learning goggles" -- that aims to accelerate learning by stimulating nerves in the head and neck to boost neural activity in the brain. The system will be particularly useful for military personnel, whose safety and our national security depends on their ability to quickly master new skills or digest vast quantities of important information. The concept is rooted in a promising new area of research, called targeted neuroplasticity training, in which activating peripheral nerves -- those outside of the brain and spinal cord -- can promote and strengthen connections of neurons in the brain. Acupuncturists have known for centuries that the face and head are excellent places to stimulate peripheral nerves. For example, the auricular vagus nerve is located just below the skin and runs past the tragus -- the little flap on your outer ear -- and down through the neck. Stimulating nerves such as the vagus can boost brain chemicals such as acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. During learning, those chemicals, known as neuromodulators, regulate changes in the connections between neurons in the brain -- and brain function improves. In recent experiments, other researchers in the field demonstrated that stimulating the vagus nerve while an animal was learning a basic task dramatically increased the speed at which the animal learned the task. "It seemed to work, whether it was a motor task, memory, auditory task or something else," says Williams, UW-Madison Vilas Distinguished Service Professor in Biomedical Engineering. Williams is among the nation's leaders in neural interface technology research and optimization. In 2009, for example, Time magazine included him on its list of the year's 50 best inventions for developing a "thinking cap": a brain-computer interface that allows paralyzed or "locked-in" people to type and send a tweet using only their thoughts. With the DARPA funding, he and his collaborators initially will leverage their combined expertise to develop ways to discover, measure, monitor and optimize the brain's response during targeted neuroplasticity training. Ultimately, they hope to use that knowledge to eventually develop a noninvasive, user-friendly technology that simultaneously delivers a stimulus, monitors neural response and dramatically accelerates learning. "Can we optimize the production of neurotransmitters at the right time and in the right place in the brain during a task to enhance learning?" asks Williams. Beyond military applications, the technology also might be useful, in controlled environments, for people who have learning disorders or who are afflicted with diseases such as Alzheimer's. Williams' collaborators at UW-Madison include: Samuel Poore, professor of surgery; Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma, professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Aaron Suminski, senior scientist in neurological surgery and biomedical engineering. Collaborators from around the country include: David McCormick, professor of neuroscience and psychology at Yale University; Matthew McGinley, professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine; Robert Froemke, professor of otolaryngology and neuroscience and physiology at New York University; and Kendall Lee and Kip Ludwig, director and associate director, respectively, of the Mayo Clinic Neural Engineering Laboratory.


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

Entomologists will find it easier to identify parasitic wasps and their host aphids, thanks to the work of South Dakota State University entomologist Paul Johnson and forage breeder Arvid Boe. Both are professors in the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science. Their investigation began when Boe showed Johnson a photo of a cup plant flower teaming with insects, including a large colony of bright red aphids. Boe grows cup plants at two locations near Brookings to evaluate the plant, which is a member of the sunflower family, as a potential feedstock for biofuel production. The project, which is done in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is funded by the Sun Grant Initiative. “What these researchers are uncovering about the agronomics of cup plant, as well as the insects that affect them, will help us decide how they can be integrated into a bioenergy cropping system,” said Vance Owens, director of the North Central Regional Sun Grant Center. “People have not looked closely at these insects—we brought everything together in understanding the biology of this one genus of parasitic wasps,” Johnson said. He collaborated with research entomologist Robert Kula of the Systemic Entomology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. The work also involved entomologist Thelma Heidel-Baker, then at Purdue University, who supplied specimens from Indiana. The South Dakota researchers reared two species of parasitic wasps from the aphids, while Heidel-Baker reared five species. “Now we know that all the wasps of the genus Acanthocaudus are specialists on different species of aphids on different host plants,” Johnson said. The taxonomy of each wasp species now correlates with the host aphids and their plant hosts. A parasitic wasp identified from Uroleucon aphids in South Dakota cup plants, for instance, had characteristics similar to specimens of a known species, A. tissoti, found in British Columbia and Florida. Kula ascertained that the species from South Dakota was, indeed, A. tissoti. Heidel-Baker reared a new related species of parasitic wasp, now called A. bicolor, on a different host Uroleucon aphid that feeds on asters.  Their findings were published in the January 2017 issue of Zootaxa. Parasitic wasps protect the plants against aphid infestations, Johnson explained as he described wasp-aphid interaction on cup plants. What begins as a few dozen aphids per plant in mid-July can become as many as 800 aphids per leaf by the end of July or the first week of August. “The aphids feed on the juices, which can cause deformities and general weakness of the plant,” Johnson said. The parasitic wasps sting the aphids to inject their eggs into the aphids’ bodies. As these eggs hatch, the larvae feed internally on the aphids, he explained.  By the second week in August, nearly 98 percent of the aphids had been parasitized by wasps. “When the larvae become adults, they chew a hole and pop out of the aphids,” Johnson said. “It’s like an alien movie.” The parasitic wasps are beneficial to the cup plant. “If you have wasps around, you don’t need to spray the cup plant,” Johnson said.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

It’s sometimes practically impossible to tell similar colours apart. Even side by side, they look the same. A special pair of spectacles gives us new power to see more distinct colours, and could one day help to spot counterfeit banknotes or counteract camouflage. The glasses, devised by a team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, basically enhance the user’s colour vision, allowing them to see metamers – colours that look the same but give off different wavelengths of light – as recognisably distinct hues. Human colour vision relies on three types of cone cells that react to short (blue), medium (green) and long (red) wavelengths. While brushing up on his knowledge of the eye before teaching a photonics class, physicist Mikhail Kats had a brainwave. Could the eye be tricked into effectively having another type of cone cell? In theory, this could take our vision from being trichromatic, which uses three colour channels, to tetrachromatic. Some animals see in four (or more) channels. Goldfish, for example, have cells for red, blue, green and ultraviolet light. Some researchers suggest that a very small number of humans may be tetrachromats too. To make their glasses, Kats and his colleagues designed two colour filters, one for each eye that strip out specific parts of the blue light spectrum. With each eye receiving slightly different spectral information about blue things, the team hypothesised that any subtle differences in colour would be more pronounced. And they were right. They tested the effect by displaying blocks of colour that people perceived as metamers on a computer and smartphone screen. To the naked eye, they looked identical, but with the glasses they were easily told apart. “They look exactly the same and you look through the spectacles and, holy crap, they’re two different things,” says Kats. The team used two filters because although one filter would reveal differences in certain metamers, it could also make other colours that normally look different appear the same. The two filters counteract this effect. “It’s a really fun idea,” says Jay Neitz, a colour vision researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle. “There’s no doubt when you do this glasses thing, you would be able to discriminate metamers.” Neitz has experimented with colour filters in the past, but found that sending different information to each eye can be uncomfortable. Kats’s team made their filters only subtly different, which Kats says improves their metamer-distinguishing ability and makes them no more irritating than sunglasses. At the moment, the filters only distinguish metamers at the blue end of the visible spectrum. Kats is hoping to target green wavelengths next. Once extended to differentiate between more hues, Kats says the filters could be developed into tools for tasks such as detecting counterfeit currency, seeing changes on the surface of fruit and vegetables that are about to spoil, or picking out camouflaged objects. “I really want to put these on and go walk around a forest or a park,” he says.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: phys.org

"Sketches are difficult and time-consuming to grade," said Northwestern University's Ken Forbus. "Intelligent tutoring systems, which enable students to receive feedback on their work anywhere and anytime, rarely are capable of understanding sketches." Forbus, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Computer Science in Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering, and his team have developed a new solution called "Sketch Worksheets," a software equivalent of pencil and paper worksheets commonly found in classrooms. The difference? The software can also provide on-the-spot feedback by analyzing student sketches and then comparing them to the instructor's sketches. An instructor might ask students to draw the chambers of the heart, for example. If a student misplaces an atrium, then he or she is immediately alerted to the mistake by the Sketch Worksheet. Supported by Northwestern's Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC), the research was recently published in the journal Topics in Cognitive Science. Forbus was the paper's first and corresponding author. Sketch Worksheets software is based on CogSketch, an artificial intelligence platform previously developed in Forbus' laboratory. A sketch-understanding system and high-level model of human vision, CogSketch uses visual processing algorithms to automatically reproduce and understand human-drawn sketches. Sketch Worksheets' comparisons of student and instructor sketches is carried out by an analogy model, developed in collaboration with Northwestern psychology professor Dedre Gentner. Students and instructors apply conceptual labels to their sketches to express relationships among the drawings' different parts. (For example, the Earth's core is inside the mantle, or the heart's aorta is above the left atrium.) Without needing a deep understanding of the sketch's subject matter, CogSketch uses analogy to compare the labels and provide feedback. One of Forbus' main goals is for Sketch Worksheets to be accessible to instructors in any field—not just computer science. To ensure this, his team and SILC collaborators tested the software on more than 500 students in biology, geoscience, and engineering, ranging from the fifth grade through college. A team of geoscientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have already used the software to develop a set of 26 sketches that cover topics in introductory classes. These worksheets are publicly available and have been used in classes at the University of Wisconsin and Northwestern. "We hope that others will follow the lead of the geoscientists and create Sketch Worksheets to help their students learn," Forbus said. "This is a step in creating software that can communicate with people as flexibly as we communicate with each other." Explore further: Making AI systems that see the world as humans do


News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

Entomologists will find it easier to identify parasitic wasps and their host aphids, thanks to the work of South Dakota State University entomologist Paul Johnson and forage breeder Arvid Boe. Both are professors in the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science. Their investigation began when Boe showed Johnson a photo of a cup plant flower teaming with insects, including a large colony of bright red aphids. Boe grows cup plants at two locations near Brookings to evaluate the plant, which is a member of the sunflower family, as a potential feedstock for biofuel production. The project, which is done in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is funded by the Sun Grant Initiative. “What these researchers are uncovering about the agronomics of cup plant, as well as the insects that affect them, will help us decide how they can be integrated into a bioenergy cropping system,” said Vance Owens, director of the North Central Regional Sun Grant Center. “People have not looked closely at these insects—we brought everything together in understanding the biology of this one genus of parasitic wasps,” Johnson said. He collaborated with research entomologist Robert Kula of the Systemic Entomology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. The work also involved entomologist Thelma Heidel-Baker, then at Purdue University, who supplied specimens from Indiana. The South Dakota researchers reared two species of parasitic wasps from the aphids, while Heidel-Baker reared five species. “Now we know that all the wasps of the genus Acanthocaudus are specialists on different species of aphids on different host plants,” Johnson said. The taxonomy of each wasp species now correlates with the host aphids and their plant hosts. A parasitic wasp identified from Uroleucon aphids in South Dakota cup plants, for instance, had characteristics similar to specimens of a known species, A. tissoti, found in British Columbia and Florida. Kula ascertained that the species from South Dakota was, indeed, A. tissoti. Heidel-Baker reared a new related species of parasitic wasp, now called A. bicolor, on a different host Uroleucon aphid that feeds on asters.  Their findings were published in the January 2017 issue of Zootaxa. Parasitic wasps protect the plants against aphid infestations, Johnson explained as he described wasp-aphid interaction on cup plants. What begins as a few dozen aphids per plant in mid-July can become as many as 800 aphids per leaf by the end of July or the first week of August. “The aphids feed on the juices, which can cause deformities and general weakness of the plant,” Johnson said. The parasitic wasps sting the aphids to inject their eggs into the aphids’ bodies. As these eggs hatch, the larvae feed internally on the aphids, he explained.  By the second week in August, nearly 98 percent of the aphids had been parasitized by wasps. “When the larvae become adults, they chew a hole and pop out of the aphids,” Johnson said. “It’s like an alien movie.” The parasitic wasps are beneficial to the cup plant. “If you have wasps around, you don’t need to spray the cup plant,” Johnson said.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: phys.org

Scientists have known for half a century that these two processes are coupled in bacteria, but only now have they finally had a look at the structure that makes this possible. In a paper published in Science today, biochemists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry in Germany have revealed the defined architecture of what is called the "expressome." The researchers say this work using the model bacteria E. coli could open numerous doors for research into how bacteria impact human health, including a better basic understanding of gene regulation and possible development of new antibiotics. "The existence of this complex in bacteria has been postulated based on evidence but nobody had ever documented that it exists," explains Robert Landick, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry at UW-Madison and author on the study. "It's the first demonstration that you can form one large super-cellular machine out of these two already pretty complicated machines." The process of transcription utilizes an enzyme called RNA polymerase to turn DNA into RNA. Following that process, another molecular machine called a ribosome translates the RNA, more specifically called messenger RNA, into proteins the bacteria can use to function. In the bacterial expressome, the polymerase and ribosome form one complex structure to carry out these two processes in a coupled manner, and this newly solved structure provides a snapshot of this taking place, says Rachel Mooney, a research scientist in Biochemistry and co-author on the paper. Transcription and translation occur in animals and humans, too, but they are not coupled like they are in bacteria. Rather, they take place in two physically different parts of the cell. If scientists can find a way to disrupt the expressome, they may be able to develop drugs that target bacteria but leave human cells unharmed, the researchers say. "Any time you find a novel interface in research like this, such as where the polymerase and ribosome come together, that interface becomes a target for drugs," Landick says. "If you can find something to disrupt that, it can work synergistically with other antibiotics or on its own." Landick adds that the finding also extends into studies of the microbiome, the community of microbes in and around the human body. Ongoing research shows how important the microbiome is for human health and understanding gene regulation in these microbial communities is a critical part of these endeavors. The expressome now provides a fundamental building block for this understanding. "We tend to think about human biology as what goes on in human cells but there's at least as many bacterial cells as human cells on and in our bodies," he says. "E. coli may not be really prevalent there, but we use it as a model to extend our research to other bacteria critical to human processes." Landick and Mooney teamed up with Rebecca Kohler and Patrick Cramer, a director at MPI. The German team's equipment helped solve the structure of the expressome, which was assembled using RNA polymerase supplied by the UW-Madison team. "It was a great example for how to do an interdisciplinary project," says Cramer. "Our work explains old observations that both processes - transcription and translation - are coupled in these cells." Researchers are also interested in the origin of this complex. Why the processes are coupled in bacteria, but not organisms like humans, is a case study in evolution. "One perspective on it is to simply appreciate that bacteria are much more evolved than we are," Landick explains. "It's counterintuitive but technically they have had many, many more generations than we have. The evolutionary pressures that bacteria face have led to the emergence of this very streamlined and efficient way to take DNA and turn it into proteins." For Landick, this work also has an important connection. The famed UW-Madison biochemist Gobind Khorana won a Nobel Prize in 1968 for his work on the molecular basis of gene action and Landick was inspired by his work to pursue a career in biochemistry and molecular biology. "In our department, Khorana did some really seminal research that defined the genetic code and how the information encoded in DNA is propagated and converted to proteins, a paradigm called the central dogma of molecular biology," he says. "So did others in the department for years after him. To be performing similar research toward the same goals is very exciting." Explore further: Atomic-scale view of bacterial proteins offers path to new tuberculosis drugs


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Tampa, Fla. (May 1, 2017) - At the 24rd Annual Conference of the American Society of Neural Therapy and Repair (ASNTR), held April 27-29 in Clearwater Beach, Florida, ASNTR awarded The 2017 Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Brain Repair to Li-Ru Zhao, PhD, MD, a tenured Associate Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University and research scientist at the Syracuse (NY) Veterans Administration Medical Center. The award, presented to her on Saturday April 29, recognized her significant research contributions in acute and chronic stroke, vascular dementia, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Zhao received her MD from Hebei Medical College in Shijizhaung China in 1982 and her PhD in neuroscience from the Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, Lund University, Lund, Sweden in 2004. She carried out postdoctoral work at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis. She subsequently served as a researcher and assistant at Northwestern University, and associate professor at Louisiana State University prior to coming to SUNY Upstate Medical University and the Syracuse VA Medical Center. Dr. Zhao's extensive investigation into potential treatments for the debilitating effects of stroke includes the first demonstration of the neuroprotective properties of stem cell factor (SCF), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and SCF + G-CSF combinations in treating the effects of acute and chronic stroke. She discovered that these growth factors - naturally occurring substances capable of stimulating cellular growth, proliferation and healing - could be used alone or in combination to reduced brain damage from stroke and improve motor function. Her many studies into SCF and G-CSF used a variety of approaches, including molecular and cell biology as well as brain and cell imaging. Her contributions to Alzheimer's disease (AD) research have investigated how amyloid plaques in the brain (one of the causes thought to be behind the development of AD) might be cleared by injections of bone marrow-derived monocytes/macrophages (BMDMs) and SCF+G-CSF, all of which have been found to be low in the blood and bone marrow of AD patients. In her most recent stroke studies she is investigating Cerebral Autosomal-Dominant Arteriopathy with Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL), the most common yet rare form of hereditary stroke disorder. Using animal models, she found that neural stem cells were radically reduced in patients with CADSIL, causing cognitive impairment. Currently, there is no drug that can improve the functional or delay the progressive brain damage caused by CADASIL. Her laboratory is currently studying how the bone marrow stem cell factors (SCF and G-CSF) repair the brain in both AD and CADASIL and is working at determining how the bone marrow stem cell factors regulate neuronal process formation, synaptic generation, and stem cell growth and differentiation. "Dr. Zhao's studies have significantly advanced our understanding about the contribution of SCF and G-CSF in slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Barry J. Hoffer, MD, PhD, scientist emeritus at the National Institutes of Health and an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "She has also carried out exceptional service activities as a peer reviewer for grants for NIH, AHA, and Alzheimer's Association, as well as for a large number of scientific journals." According to Dr. Hoffer, she has successfully balanced her career and personal life, including raising an "exceptionally gifted" son who is currently a resident in neurosurgery at University Hospitals of Cleveland. The award Dr. Zhao received is named for Bernard Sanberg, father of Dr. Paul Sanberg (University of South Florida), a co-founder of the ASNTR. After Bernard Sanberg died of a stroke in 1999, the award bearing his name was established and is presented by the ASNTR annually to an individual who has made outstanding research contributions in the field of neural therapy and repair. The award, first presented in 2000, is presented every year at ASNTR's Annual Meeting. Recent past winners of the Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Brain Repair include: Mariana E. Emborg, PhD, MD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, John D. Elsworth, PhD, Yale School of Medicine, Douglas Kondziolka, MD, NYU Langone Medical Center; Mike Modo, PhD, University of Pittsburgh; Timothy Collier, PhD, Michigan State University; Donald Eugene Redmond, MD, Yale University; Shinn-Zong Lin, MD, PhD, China Medical University; Howard J. Federoff, MD, PhD, Georgetown University; Barry J. Hoffer, MD, PhD, National Institutes of Health ASNTR's 25th Annual Conference will be held April 25-29, 2018 in Clearwater Beach, Florida. For more information, email Donna Morrison dmorriso@health.usf.edu or visit the ASNTR website http://www. ASNTR is a society for basic and clinical neuroscientists using a variety of technologies to better understand how the nervous system functions and establish new procedures for its repair in response to trauma or neurodegenerative disease. Member scientists employ stem/neural cell transplantation, gene therapy, trophic factor and neuroprotective compound administration and other approaches.


News Article | February 6, 2017
Site: compositesmanufacturingmagazine.com

Delft University of Technology (Delft, Netherlands) won the inaugural SpaceX Hyperloop Competition Weekend – a test among university students at 30 universities around the world to produce the best possible prototype of a Hyperloop pod. The Hyperloop was unveiled by Elon Musk in 2013 as a new high-speed ground transport and transit system, with capsules traveling in a system of air pressure tubes. The competition followed 18 months of designing, building and development by each student team, which was judged on speed, efficiency, safety and scalability of design. Delft Hyperloop’s team, who won the overall award in addition to the award for best construction and design, was one of only three teams who passed the criteria to progress to a run in the SpaceX Hyperloop test track. TenCate Advanced Composites, a leading global composite materials company, supported Delft University of Technology by providing the team with epoxy-based carbon fiber composite materials to manufacture the pod’s monocoque. As a result, their half-scale pod, which measures 4.5m long and 0.85m in diameter, was strong yet lightweight, coming in at only 149 kg. “We’re excited to be part of TU Delft’s journey during this historic Hyperloop pod competition,” said Steven Mead, Chief Commercial Officer of TenCate Advanced Composites. “This is a prime example of where the inherent lightweight and strong properties of advanced composite materials meet the demand for the new frontiers of mass transportation.” Many of the other secondary award-winning teams also used composites, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which won a Pod Innovation Award; MIT, which won the Safety and Reliability Award; and the Technical University of Munich, which won Fastest Pod Award. The final phase of the competition will be held sometime this summer at a date to be determined. All 30 teams will be welcome to attend, but those that did not meet the requirements needed to gain access to the test track last weekend will have to edit their designs.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Downtown Madison was recently honored with two prestigious awards from Hilton Worldwide for outstanding hotel performance in 2016. The CARE Cup and Pride Awards are two of the top accolades that were presented to the hotel in March. Winning the coveted CARE Cup is a goal that is at the top of the hotel's agenda each year. The DoubleTree has a CARE Committee, which is comprised of over 20 team members that volunteer and work to make a difference in the local community. In 2016, the hotel donated their time and resources to several different local agencies, such as the Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity, American Family Children's Hospital, Porchlight, Second Harvest Food Bank and other small community organizations. The award is presented semi-annually to the hotel that leads the brand in two categories, exceptional community service projects and guest satisfaction scores. The Pride Award is given to the top ten performing hotels out of the 345 currently operating in the Americas. Guest survey satisfaction scores as well as the condition and cleanliness of the hotel rank the DoubleTree properties amongst their competition within the brand. "We are humbled to accept these two prestigious honors," said Tom Ziarnik, General Manager. "We are committed to serving not only our hotel guests, but also our local Madison community. I am fortunate to have the pleasure of leading the best team of hospitality professionals in the nation." Located at 525 West Johnson Street, the DoubleTree by Hilton Madison is situated in Downtown Madison near the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kohl Center and State Street. The DoubleTree by Hilton provides every guest with complimentary parking and Internet, in addition to complimentary shuttle service to the Dane County Regional Airport and University of Wisconsin – Madison campus. The hotel is owned by Madison-based Neviaser Investments. For more information, please visit us at: http://doubletree3.hilton.com/en/hotels/wisconsin/doubletree-by-hilton-hotel-madison-MSNDTDT/index.html or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.gizmag.com

One of the problems with heart attacks (as if there weren't enough already) is that when the heart heals afterwards, it grows scar tissue over the part of the heart that was damaged. That scar tissue never does become beating heart tissue, so it leaves the heart compromised for the rest of the patient's life. There may be hope, however, as scientists from the University of Minnesota have created a new patch that allows the heart to heal more completely. First of all, yes, this has been done before. We have already seen experimental "heart patches" from places like the University of Tel Aviv, Brown University and MIT, which allow the heart to heal with a minimum of scar tissue growth. One of the things that makes this latest patch unique is the fact that it's 3D-bioprinted out of structural proteins native to the heart. It takes the form of a scaffolding-like matrix, which is subsequently seeded with cardiac cells derived from stem cells. The result is a patch of material, similar in structure and material to heart tissue, containing actual functioning heart cells – as opposed to inert scar tissue. In lab tests, one of the patches was placed on the heart of a mouse that had suffered a simulated heart attack. Within just four weeks, the scientists noted a "significant increase in functional capacity." The patch was ultimately absorbed by the body, so no additional surgeries were required to remove it after its job was done. "We were quite surprised by how well it worked given the complexity of the heart," says associate professor Brenda Ogle, who is leading the research. "We were encouraged to see that the cells had aligned in the scaffold and showed a continuous wave of electrical signal that moved across the patch." A larger patch is now in the works, which will be tested on a pig heart. Other institutions involved in the study include the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Alabama-Birmingham. A paper on the research was recently published in the journal Circulation Research.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A team of biomedical engineering researchers, led by the University of Minnesota, has created a revolutionary 3D-bioprinted patch that can help heal scarred heart tissue after a heart attack. The discovery is a major step forward in treating patients with tissue damage after a heart attack. The research study is published today in Circulation Research, a journal published by the American Heart Association. Researchers have filed a patent on the discovery. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. killing more than 360,000 people a year. During a heart attack, a person loses blood flow to the heart muscle and that causes cells to die. Our bodies can't replace those heart muscle cells so the body forms scar tissue in that area of the heart, which puts the person at risk for compromised heart function and future heart failure. In this study, researchers from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Alabama-Birmingham used laser-based 3D-bioprinting techniques to incorporate stem cells derived from adult human heart cells on a matrix that began to grow and beat synchronously in a dish in the lab. When the cell patch was placed on a mouse following a simulated heart attack, the researchers saw significant increase in functional capacity after just four weeks. Since the patch was made from cells and structural proteins native to the heart, it became part of the heart and absorbed into the body, requiring no further surgeries. "This is a significant step forward in treating the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S.," said Brenda Ogle, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota. "We feel that we could scale this up to repair hearts of larger animals and possibly even humans within the next several years." Ogle said that this research is different from previous research in that the patch is modeled after a digital, three-dimensional scan of the structural proteins of native heart tissue. The digital model is made into a physical structure by 3D printing with proteins native to the heart and further integrating cardiac cell types derived from stem cells. Only with 3D printing of this type can we achieve one micron resolution needed to mimic structures of native heart tissue. "We were quite surprised by how well it worked given the complexity of the heart," Ogle said. "We were encouraged to see that the cells had aligned in the scaffold and showed a continuous wave of electrical signal that moved across the patch." Ogle said they are already beginning the next step to develop a larger patch that they would test on a pig heart, which is similar in size to a human heart. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, University of Minnesota Lillehei Heart Institute, and University of Minnesota Institute for Engineering in Medicine. In addition to Ogle, other biomedical engineering researchers who were part of the team include Molly E. Kupfer, Jangwook P. Jung, Libang Yang, Patrick Zhang, and Brian T. Freeman from the University of Minnesota; Paul J. Campagnola, Yong Da Sie, Quyen Tran, and Visar Ajeti from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Jianyi Zhang, Ling Gao, and Vladimir G. Fast from the University of Alabama, To read the full research paper entitled "Myocardial Tissue Engineering With Cells Derived from Human Induced-Pluripotent Stem Cells and a Native-Like, High-Resolution, 3-Dimensionally Printed Scaffold," visit the Circulation Research website.


Liu Z.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Liu Z.,Peking University
Journal of Climate | Year: 2012

The emerging interest in decadal climate prediction highlights the importance of understanding the mechanisms of decadal to interdecadal climate variability. The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of our understanding of interdecadal climate variability in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. In particular, the dynamics of interdecadal variability in both oceans will be discussed in a unified framework and in light of historical development. General mechanisms responsible for interdecadal variability, including the role of ocean dynamics, are reviewed first. A hierarchy of increasingly complex paradigms is used to explain variability. This hierarchy ranges from a simple red noise model to a complex stochastically driven coupled ocean-atmosphere mode. The review suggests that stochastic forcing is the major driving mechanism for almost all interdecadal variability, while ocean-atmosphere feedback plays a relatively minor role. Interdecadal variability can be generated independently in the tropics or extratropics, and in the Pacific or Atlantic. In the Pacific, decadal-interdecadal variability is associated with changes in the wind-driven upper-ocean circulation. In the North Atlantic, some of the multidecadal variability is associated with changes in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). In both the Pacific and Atlantic, the time scale of interdecadal variability seems to be determined mainly by Rossby wave propagation in the extratropics; in the Atlantic, the time scale could also be determined by the advection of the returning branch of AMOC in the Atlantic. One significant advancement of the last two decades is the recognition of the stochastic forcing as the dominant generation mechanism for almost all interdecadal variability. Finally, outstanding issues regarding the cause of interdecadal climate variability are discussed. The mechanism that determines the time scale of each interdecadal mode remains one of the key issues not understood. It is suggested that much further understanding can be gained in the future by performing specifically designed sensitivity experiments in coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models, by further analysis of observations and cross-model comparisons, and by combining mechanistic studies with decadal prediction studies. © 2012 American Meteorological Society.


Ives A.R.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Garland T.,University of California at Riverside
Systematic Biology | Year: 2010

We develop statistical methods for phylogenetic logistic regression in which the dependent variable is binary (0 or 1) and values are nonindependent among species, with phylogenetically related species tending to have the same value of the dependent variable. The methods are based on an evolutionary model of binary traits in which trait values switch between 0 and 1 as species evolve up a phylogenetic tree. The more frequently the trait values switch (i.e., the higher the rate of evolution), the more rapidly correlations between trait values for phylogenetically related species break down. Therefore, the statistical methods also give a way to estimate the phylogenetic signal of binary traits. More generally, the methods can be applied with continuous-and/or discrete-valued independent variables. Using simulations, we assess the statistical properties of the methods, including bias in the estimates of the logistic regression coefficients and the parameter that estimates the strength of phylogenetic signal in the dependent variable. These analyses show that, as with the case for continuous-valued dependent variables, phylogenetic logistic regression should be used rather than standard logistic regression when there is the possibility of phylogenetic correlations among species. Standard logistic regression does not properly account for the loss of information caused by resemblance of relatives and as a result is likely to give inflated type I error rates, incorrectly identifying regression parameters as statistically significantly different from zero when they are not.


Studer A.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Zhao Q.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Ross-Ibarra J.,University of California at Davis | Doebley J.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Nature Genetics | Year: 2011

Genetic diversity created by transposable elements is an important source of functional variation upon which selection acts during evolution. Transposable elements are associated with adaptation to temperate climates in Drosophila, a SINE element is associated with the domestication of small dog breeds from the gray wolf and there is evidence that transposable elements were targets of selection during human evolution. Although the list of examples of transposable elements associated with host gene function continues to grow, proof that transposable elements are causative and not just correlated with functional variation is limited. Here we show that a transposable element (Hopscotch) inserted in a regulatory region of the maize domestication gene, teosinte branched1 (tb1), acts as an enhancer of gene expression and partially explains the increased apical dominance in maize compared to its progenitor, teosinte. Molecular dating indicates that the Hopscotch insertion predates maize domestication by at least 10,000 years, indicating that selection acted on standing variation rather than new mutation. © 2011 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


Kampinga H.H.,University of Groningen | Craig E.A.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology | Year: 2010

Heat shock 70 kDa proteins (HSP70s) are ubiquitous molecular chaperones that function in a myriad of biological processes, modulating polypeptide folding, degradation and translocation across membranes, and proteinĝ€"protein interactions. This multitude of roles is not easily reconciled with the universality of the activity of HSP70s in ATP-dependent client protein-binding and release cycles. Much of the functional diversity of the HSP70s is driven by a diverse class of cofactors: J proteins. Often, multiple J proteins function with a single HSP70. Some target HSP70 activity to clients at precise locations in cells and others bind client proteins directly, thereby delivering specific clients to HSP70 and directly determining their fate. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.92K | Year: 2013

ABSTRACT: Agiltron and the University of WisconsinMadison will develop the first SWIR Image Sensor with a flexible FPA. The sensor is based on the integration of single-crystal Si and Ge nanomembranes, which has the potential to achieve defect-free Ge-based photodiodes for SWIR imaging while eliminating the need for an epitaxial step. In Phase I, we have successfully demonstrated Ge-based PIN photodiodes with SWIR responsivity and bulk-like dark current. In Phase II, we will build and test a complete SWIR Image Sensor featuring a fully-flexible FPA. BENEFIT: This program addresses the lack of SWIR image sensors with array sizes larger than 10241024 and pixel pitches smaller than 10 & #956;m. Increasing the resolution and sensitivity in SWIR imaging is critical for night-vision applications such as surveillance, passive imaging, target acquisition and designation, and forward observation, and for insertion into Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) military and security systems. In addition, developing imaging technology on flexible substrates allows new system capabilities such as a tunable field of view and reduced imaging optics complexity. This will enable high-performance, low-SWAP imagers with a field of view that far exceeds the state of the art possible with planar focal plane arrays.


Barbey A.K.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Koenigs M.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Grafman J.,Traumatic Brain Injury Research Laboratory
Cortex | Year: 2013

Although neuroscience has made remarkable progress in understanding the involvement of prefrontal cortex (PFC) in human memory, the necessity of dorsolateral PFC (dlPFC) for key competencies of working memory remains largely unexplored. We therefore studied human brain lesion patients to determine whether dlPFC is necessary for working memory function, administering subtests of the Wechsler Memory Scale, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, and the N-Back Task to three participant groups: dlPFC lesions (n = 19), non-dlPFC lesions (n = 152), and no brain lesions (n = 54). DlPFC damage was associated with deficits in the manipulation of verbal and spatial knowledge, with left dlPFC necessary for manipulating information in working memory and right dlPFC critical for manipulating information in a broader range of reasoning contexts. Our findings elucidate the architecture of working memory, providing key neuropsychological evidence for the necessity of dlPFC in the manipulation of verbal and spatial knowledge. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 1.55M | Year: 2013

This proposal sits within a field of great scope, stretching from some of the most fundamental problems in physics, to current practical issues in engineering, to some of the most powerful modern techniques in topology and geometry. Although these topics are all very different, it has become apparent that many of the biggest future developments in each area will require overcoming key research challenges that are remarkably similar. It is these challenges that we will address in this proposed research. At the heart of each of the topics above lie Geometric Partial Differential Equations (PDE). Each of these equations could be perhaps a law of physics, or an equation modelling an industrial process, or more abstractly, a rule under which a geometric object can be processed in order to improve it. Smooth solutions to Geometric PDE have been extremely successful in applications to pure and applied problems, but the equations are generally nonlinear, and it is therefore typical that singularities will occur in solutions. The next generation of applications, with extensive potential impact, require us to transform our understanding of these singularities that develop. We must understand when and why they occur, their structure and stability, and how they encode what the PDE is doing. We must analyse to what extent they break the classical theory of smooth solutions, and what effects this has. These are the main challenges of this proposal, and we have compiled a team to address them with complementary expertise in singularity analysis and experience of applying geometric PDE across subjects such as Mathematical Relativity, Geometric Flows and Minimal Surfaces. In Mathematical Relativity, one sees singularities in solutions of the Einstein equations, first written down by Einstein in 1915 as the fundamental equations of the large-scale universe. Progress in the research challenges we propose will have potentially major impact in some of the most famous open problems in this field such as the Cosmic Censorship Conjectures, and the Black Hole Stability Problem. We also find singularities in the field of Geometric Flows, by which we mean the evolution equations of `parabolic type that are currently being so successful in applications to geometry, topology and engineering, and in modelling phenomena in physics and biology. The most famous application in recent years has been the resolution of the Poincaré conjecture, which was named by the journal `Science as the scientific `Breakthrough of the year, 2006, but is considered by many to be the greatest achievement of mathematics in the past 100 years. The research challenges we propose are central to future applications of these equations, whether we are using them to classify manifolds with a certain curvature condition, or manipulate an image from a medical scanner. Intimately connected with these two subjects is the theory of Minimal Surfaces. These surfaces have been historically used to model soap films, but the general theory has developed into a powerful tool with applications to a wide range of subjects from black holes to topology. In this direction, we are particularly interested in applying progress on the research challenges of this proposal to unravel the connection between the existence of higher-index minimal surfaces and the singularities that occur in flows and variational problems that are designed to find them.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 748.22K | Year: 2012

In this STTR effort, Los Gatos Research (LGR) and the University of Wisconsin (UW) propose to develop a highly-accurate sensor for high-purity oxygen determination. The analyzer, which is based on LGR's patented Off-Axis ICOS technique, will be capable of rapidly quantifying high-purity oxygen (95 – 100 %) with very high accuracy (better than ? 0.03 %), minimal calibration, and no zero drift. Moreover, the sensor will require no consumables and be sufficiently compact and robust for deployment aboard the International Space Station (ISS). In Phase I, LGR and UW successfully demonstrated technical feasibility by fabricating a prototype that quantified high-purity oxygen with a precision of ? 0.017 % and a 24-hour drift of less than 0.05 %. The analyzer distinguished a 0.1 % change in highly pure oxygen and provided a linear response (R2 = 0.999997) over a wide dynamic range (0 – 100 % oxygen). The prototype was found to be accurate to 0.07 % by testing it at NASA Johnson Space Center on oxygen purified by the Cabin Air Separator for EVA Oxygen (CASEO) project. Due to the success of this program, LGR released a commercial O2/CO2 analyzer for environmental applications. In Phase II, LGR and UW will refine the measurement strategy, miniaturize the hardware, ruggedize the analyzer, and test the resulting instrument. The measurement strategy will be improved to reduce long-term drift and extended to include other species (H2O, O2 isotopes, N2). The hardware will be modified to meet the technical requirements for deployment aboard the ISS (e.g. power, size, weight, and environmental specifications). The prototype will be manufactured and tested to empirically determine its accuracy, precision, linearity, long-term drift, and time response. Finally, the Phase II instrument will be delivered to researchers in the Life Support and Habitability Systems Branch at NASA Johnson Space Centers for characterization of high-purity oxygen generators.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Fellowship | Award Amount: 807.01K | Year: 2015

Complex fluid flows are ubiquitous in both the natural and man-made worlds. From the pulsatile flow of blood through our bodies, to the pumping of personal products such as shampoos or conditioners through complex piping networks as they are processed. For such complex fluids the underlying microstructure can give rise to flow instabilities which are often totally absent in simple Newtonian fluids such as water or air. For example, many wormlike micellar surfactant (soap/detergent) systems are known to exhibit shear-banding where the homogenous solution splits into two (or more) bands of fluid: such flows are often unstable to even infinitesimally small perturbations. At higher pump speeds the flows can develop chaotic motion caused by the elastic normal-stresses developed in flow. Such elastic turbulence can also develop for other flowing complex fluids, such as polymer solutions and melts, and give rise to new phenomena. Often such instabilities are unwelcome, for example in rheometric devices when the aim is to measure material properties or in simple pumping operations when they can give rise to unacceptably large pressure drops and prevent pumping. In other cases they can give rise to enhanced mixing of heat and mass which would otherwise be difficult to achieve (e.g. microfluidics applications).


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.94K | Year: 2015

The objective of the proposed Phase-I effort proposed by Spectral Energies LLC is to develop a versatile hyperspectral sensor system capable of performing >100 kHz in situ temperature and species concentration measurements of CO, CO2 and H2O in rotating detonation engines (RDEs) for gas temperatures up to 3000 K and gas pressures up to 50 bar. Development will include both the laser system as well as strategies for optical access into the RDE. The proposed laser system will consist of two main aspects. First, a broad scanning near-IR laser will used to measure high precision H2O temperatures at 100 kHz. In addition, another system consisting of several frequency-division-multiplexed fixed wavelength lasers will be used to determine CO, CO2 and H2O concentrations and temperatures at 800 kHz. Preliminary measurements using existing available hardware will be used to measure H2O, CO and CO2 concentrations and temperatures in an RDE facility located at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, OH. Based on the Phase-I results, we propose to design, build and deliver a compact dedicated sensor system along with robust optical access tools for measuring temperature and species concentrations at speeds up to 800 kHz along multiple lines-of-sight during the Phase-II research effort.


Veasey S.C.,University of Pennsylvania | Morgan B.J.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | O'Donnell C.P.,University of Pittsburgh
Physiological Reviews | Year: 2010

Sleep-induced apnea and disordered breathing refers to intermittent, cyclical cessations or reductions of airflow, with or without obstructions of the upper airway (OSA). In the presence of an anatomically compromised, collapsible airway, the sleep-induced loss of compensatory tonic input to the upper airway dilator muscle motor neurons leads to collapse of the pharyngeal airway. In turn, the ability of the sleeping subject to compensate for this airway obstruction will determine the degree of cycling of these events. Several of the classic neurotransmitters and a growing list of neuromodulators have now been identified that contribute to neurochemical regulation of pharyngeal motor neuron activity and airway patency. Limited progress has been made in developing pharmacotherapies with acceptable specificity for the treatment of sleep-induced airway obstruction. We review three types of major long-term sequelae to severe OSA that have been assessed in humans through use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment and in animal models via long-term intermittent hypoxemia (IH): 1) cardiovascular. The evidence is strongest to support daytime systemic hypertension as a consequence of severe OSA, with less conclusive effects on pulmonary hypertension, stroke, coronary artery disease, and cardiac arrhythmias. The underlying mechanisms mediating hypertension include enhanced chemoreceptor sensitivity causing excessive daytime sympathetic vasoconstrictor activity, combined with overproduction of superoxide ion and inflammatory effects on resistance vessels. 2) Insulin sensitivity and homeostasis of glucose regulation are negatively impacted by both intermittent hypoxemia and sleep disruption, but whether these influences of OSA are sufficient, independent of obesity, to contribute significantly to the "metabolic syndrome" remains unsettled. 3) Neurocognitive effects include daytime sleepiness and impaired memory and concentration. These effects reflect hypoxic-induced "neural injury." We discuss future research into understanding the pathophysiology of sleep apnea as a basis for uncovering newer forms of treatment of both the ventilatory disorder and its multiple sequelae. Copyright © 2010 the American Physiological Society.


Holeski L.M.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Jander G.,Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research | Agrawal A.A.,Cornell University
Trends in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2012

Rapidly accumulating evidence shows that herbivore and pathogen attack of plants can generate particular defense phenotypes across generations. What was once thought to be an oddity of plant defense induction now appears to be a taxonomically widespread phenomenon with strong potential to impact the ecology and evolution of species interactions. DNA methylation, histone modifications, and small RNAs each contribute to transgenerational defense initiation; examples in several species demonstrate that this induction can last for multiple generations. Priming of the offspring generation for more rapid induction following subsequent attack has also been reported. The extent to which transgenerational induction is predictable, detectable in nature, and subject to manipulation will determine the ability of researchers to decipher its role in plant-herbivore and plant-pathogen interactions. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Fernandes R.M.,University of Minnesota | Chubukov A.V.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Schmalian J.,Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Nature Physics | Year: 2014

Although the existence of nematic order in iron-based superconductors is now a well-established experimental fact, its origin remains controversial. Nematic order breaks the discrete lattice rotational symmetry by making the x and y directions in the iron plane non-equivalent. This can happen because of a regular structural transition or as the result of an electronically driven instability-in particular, orbital order or spin-driven Ising-nematic order. The latter is a magnetic state that breaks rotational symmetry but preserves time-reversal symmetry. Symmetry dictates that the development of one of these orders immediately induces the other two, making the origin of nematicity a physics realization of the 'chicken and egg problem'. In this Review, we argue that the evidence strongly points to an electronic mechanism of nematicity, placing nematic order in the class of correlation-driven electronic instabilities, like superconductivity and density-wave transitions. We discuss different microscopic models for nematicity and link them to the properties of the magnetic and superconducting states, providing a unified perspective on the phase diagram of the iron pnictides. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.


Wuthrich M.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Deepe Jr. G.S.,Veterans Affairs Hospital | Deepe Jr. G.S.,University of Cincinnati | Klein B.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Annual Review of Immunology | Year: 2012

Only a handful of the more than 100,000 fungal species on our planet cause disease in humans, yet the number of life-threatening fungal infections in patients has recently skyrocketed as a result of advances in medical care that often suppress immunity intensely. This emerging crisis has created pressing needs to clarify immune defense mechanisms against fungi, with the ultimate goal of therapeutic applications. Herein, we describe recent insights in understanding the mammalian immune defenses deployed against pathogenic fungi. The review focuses on adaptive immune responses to the major medically important fungi and emphasizes how dendritic cells and subsets in various anatomic compartments respond to fungi, recognize their molecular patterns, and signal responses that nurture and shape the differentiation of T cell subsets and B cells. Also emphasized is how the latter deploy effector and regulatory mechanisms that eliminate these nasty invaders while also constraining collateral damage to vital tissue. © 2012 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


Saffman M.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Walker T.G.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Molmer K.,University of Aarhus
Reviews of Modern Physics | Year: 2010

Rydberg atoms with principal quantum number n 1 have exaggerated atomic properties including dipole-dipole interactions that scale as n4 and radiative lifetimes that scale as n3. It was proposed a decade ago to take advantage of these properties to implement quantum gates between neutral atom qubits. The availability of a strong long-range interaction that can be coherently turned on and off is an enabling resource for a wide range of quantum information tasks stretching far beyond the original gate proposal. Rydberg enabled capabilities include long-range two-qubit gates, collective encoding of multiqubit registers, implementation of robust light-atom quantum interfaces, and the potential for simulating quantum many-body physics. The advances of the last decade are reviewed, covering both theoretical and experimental aspects of Rydberg-mediated quantum information processing. © 2010 The American Physical Society.


Burdick J.A.,University of Pennsylvania | Murphy W.L.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Nature Communications | Year: 2012

Hydrogels are water-swollen polymer networks that have found a range of applications from biological scaffolds to contact lenses. Historically, their design has consisted primarily of static systems and those that exhibit simple degradation. However, advances in polymer synthesis and processing have led to a new generation of dynamic systems that are capable of responding to artificial triggers and biological signals with spatial precision. These systems will open up new possibilities for the use of hydrogels as model biological structures and in tissue regeneration. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2016

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project is to enable anyone with internet to access extremely powerful computing facilities to perform scientific computing. High performance computing is essential for computational prototyping in many areas of modern engineering, such as solar cells, automobiles, aerospace, and communication devices. However, significant barriers make it difficult for ordinary engineers to easily access powerful computing facilities. By leveraging the low-cost commercial cloud, the project will develop key technology that allow commercial clouds to perform extremely high performance scientific computing, thereby significantly reducing the cost and increasing the accessibility of high performance computing. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop technologies that overcome key challenges in using commercial clouds for high performance computing. Unlike high performance computers, commercial clouds are not designed for scientific computing. They have high latency, intermitted availability, and heterogeneously distributed resources. These features make it difficult to conduct scientific computing. This project will develop new computing methods that fully take into account the heterogeneous nature of the commercial cloud. It enables anyone to access high performance scientific computing anywhere with an easy-to-use interface. Computing is provided as on-demand service. Engineers would not need to own any high performance computers and the computing resources are virtually unlimited.


Storz G.,Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development | Vogel J.,University of Würzburg | Wassarman K.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Molecular Cell | Year: 2011

Research on the discovery and characterization of small, regulatory RNAs in bacteria has exploded in recent years. These sRNAs act by base pairing with target mRNAs with which they share limited or extended complementarity, or by modulating protein activity, in some cases by mimicking other nucleic acids. Mechanistic insights into how sRNAs bind mRNAs and proteins, how they compete with each other, and how they interface with ribonucleases are active areas of discovery. Current work also has begun to illuminate how sRNAs modulate expression of distinct regulons and key transcription factors, thus integrating sRNA activity into extensive regulatory networks. In addition, the application of RNA deep sequencing has led to reports of hundreds of additional sRNA candidates in a wide swath of bacterial species. Most importantly, recent studies have served to clarify the abundance of remaining questions about how, when, and why sRNA-mediated regulation is of such importance to bacterial lifestyles. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Huttenlocher A.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Horwitz A.R.,University of Virginia
Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology | Year: 2011

Integrin-based adhesion has served as a model for studying the central role of adhesion in migration. In this article, we outline modes of migration, both integrin-dependent and -independent in vitro and in vivo. We next discuss the roles of adhesion contacts as signaling centers and linkages between the ECM and actin that allows adhesions to serve as traction sites. This includes signaling complexes that regulate migration and the interplay among adhesion, signaling, and pliability of the substratum. Finally, we address mechanisms of adhesion assembly and disassembly and the role of adhesion in cellular polarity. © 2011 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.98K | Year: 2014

In Phase I we successfully reached all goals and milestones in developing liquid crystal sensors that detected 100 ppb of each of four target gases (DMMP, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen dioxide and ammonia) within 60 seconds. In Phase II, we propose to expand this detection capability to a total of seven gases, adding volatile organic compounds, chlorine and half-mustard to the set. We then propose to develop three types of sensors for three gases (threshold, semi-quantitative and quantitative), develop a subsystem for integration of threshold sensors into unmanned vehicles, and test one of the sensors on the ARA Pointman robot. Our first target product for Phase II is a threshold sensor for hydrogen sulfide suitable for integration with unmanned ground vehicles.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2013

We aim to develop lightweight and rugged liquid crystal (LC)-based sensors suitable for integration into small unmanned vehicles, including hand-launched UAVs and throwable robots. For Phase I proof of concept, we propose to develop sensors that detect DMMP, H2S, NO2 and NH3. These gases include simulants of chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals, selected for their relevance to DoD and civilian security. The sensors will be fabricated and tested through a collaboration between Platypus Technologies LLC and University of Wisconsin. We will (i) optimize the design of chemically functionalized surfaces to enable sensitive LC-based detection of the target gases; (ii) perform infrared spectroscopy to advance our understanding of the intermolecular interactions that underlie the response of the LC sensors to the targeted gases, so that we will be better able to design further improvements and broader detection capabilities in Phase II; and (iii) design and fabricate simple microstructures that host LCs in a manner suitable for fabrication of LC sensors for deployment in small UMVs. Benefits of these sensors include their robustness and uniquely low power and weight parameters, which facilitate their use in small UMVs. Commercial applications extend to civilian markets such as monitoring gas pipelines, wells, mines.


Francis J.A.,Rutgers University | Vavrus S.J.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2012

Arctic amplification (AA)-the observed enhanced warming in high northern latitudes relative to the northern hemisphere-is evident in lower-tropospheric temperatures and in 1000-to-500hPa thicknesses. Daily fields of 500hPa heights from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Reanalysis are analyzed over N. America and the N. Atlantic to assess changes in north-south (Rossby) wave characteristics associated with AA and the relaxation of poleward thickness gradients. Two effects are identified that each contribute to a slower eastward progression of Rossby waves in the upper-level flow: 1) weakened zonal winds, and 2) increased wave amplitude. These effects are particularly evident in autumn and winter consistent with sea-ice loss, but are also apparent in summer, possibly related to earlier snow melt on high-latitude land. Slower progression of upper-level waves would cause associated weather patterns in mid-latitudes to be more persistent, which may lead to an increased probability of extreme weather events that result from prolonged conditions, such as drought, flooding, cold spells, and heat waves. copyright 2012 by the American Geophysical Union.

Loading University of Wisconsin - Madison collaborators
Loading University of Wisconsin - Madison collaborators