Washington University

Jane Ades, NHGRI

Originally published on Wednesday, February 26, 2014. Updated to include audio from St. Louis on the Air. It cost billions of dollars and took more than a decade to sequence the first human genome .

That was more than ten years ago. Our understanding of human genetics has advanced considerably since then, and these days anybody can find out a lot about their genetic make-up just by sending in a sample of their DNA in the mail.

But with our genetic information...

Provost Holden Thorp
Washington University

Seated in his office on the second floor of Brookings Hall on the eastern edge of the Washington University campus, Provost Holden Thorp has a pretty good metaphor for what his job entails compared with that of university Chancellor Mark Wrighton . “You can see the chancellor’s office is across the hall,” Thorp said in a recent interview. “His office faces the park and the Arch and downtown. My office is on this side and faces out to the old quad. “So, yes, I’m the person who is in charge of...

(Via Flickr/InspiredHomeFitness)

Obesity has increased dramatically in the United States over the past several decades. In Missouri , almost two-thirds of adults ― and more than a quarter of children and teens ― are either overweight or obese. Washington University researcher Debra Haire-Joshu works to prevent obesity, particularly in young children. She spoke with St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra. Why does it matter if we’re overweight? Haire-Joshu: Well, if you’re overweight and/or obese, you’re going to have...

(via Wikimedia Commons/Blausen Medical)

Research led by Washington University confirms that medication and lifestyle changes are safer and more effective at preventing certain strokes than surgery. Most strokes are caused by a reduction in blood flow to the brain ― usually from a blocked artery in the heart or neck. In about a tenth of cases, a narrowed brain artery is to blame. In this study, patients with narrowed brain arteries took medication to reduce blood clots, and to lower blood pressure and cholesterol ― all risk factors...

The professor and students can see each other, participate in chat and see course materials at the same time.
Screenshot from promotional video

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Bill Lowry considers himself to be a “pretty low-tech guy – no iPhone, no apps, any of that stuff” – so he thought it was pretty ironic that he is teaching the first class at Washington University’s entry into the growing field of internet education. Dubbed Semester Online , the program joins Washington U. with other schools, including Emory, Northwestern and Notre Dame, for online instruction that is less open, less massive than the so-called MOOCs – massive online open courses -- that have been popping up all over in recent years.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Lots of teachers tell students to stay away from Wikipedia. At Washington University, Joan Strassmann has her students write articles for it. Her undergraduate course in behavioral ecology is an officially designated Wikipedia course, where students learn not only about subjects like social insects but also about how to translate their scientific knowledge into terms the Wikipedia-using public can understand.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Collaboration and cooperation are common buzzwords on campus these days, but Washington University and the University of Missouri at St. Louis engineered their own special partnership back in 1993. That’s when they began a program in which aspiring engineers could take their basic science and math courses at UMSL, then get their upper-level engineering training at Washington U.

(via Flickr/NWABR)

A multi-disciplinary study released today finds that in relation to school dropout rates, health plays a bigger role than one might think. The study is part of ‘ For The Sake of All ,’ a five part series from Washington University and Saint Louis University that focuses on the health of African Americans in the St. Louis region. The brief, authored by Washington University scholar Dr. William F. Tate, found that childhood illness and mental health issues can have a strong effect on overall...

Washington University

Updated on August 29 to change 13% to 11% after further clarification from study co-author Graham Colditz. A new study out of Washington University suggests that young women who drink regularly are at increased risk for developing breast cancer. The study focused on women between the age of first menstruation and first pregnancy. The researchers reviewed data on the breast cancer incidence and drinking habits of just over 91,000 mothers who were enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II from...

(via Flickr/espensorvik)

Employment in the field of information security, web development and computer networks—cybersecurity—is expected to increase 22 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics . Washington University and Fontbonne University are offering new cybersecurity programs this Fall in response to the growing demand in the workforce for people in this field. Engineering professor Jack Zaloudek is the program director for Washington University’s new Master’s degree in Information...

(Rendering courtesy of Washington University)

This summer, the Washington University School of Medicine intends to break ground on a new research facility. The six-story, 138,000 square-foot facility is part of an ongoing effort by the university to encourage interdisciplinary research in biology and medicine. The $75 million project is slated to house researchers involved in genetics, genomics and biological regeneration. Washington University says the new facility will help replace aging laboratories with energy-efficient, flexible and...

(Sarah Skiöld-Hanlin/St. Louis Public Radio)

It has been just over three months since the federal spending cuts known as sequestration first took effect. A handful of programs were spared — but not scientific research, which amounts to about $140 billion in annual government spending. As St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra found out, at universities here in St. Louis, some scientists are worried about what the budget cuts will mean for their research — and for their students. "I had to let go of some science." Rachel Delston now...

(Courtesy: Washington University in St. Louis)

Four of the top twenty-one influential researchers in the world live in the St. Louis area. The researchers are from Washington University in St. Louis and all are in the field of genomics. The findings come from Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch, an open web resource for science metrics and analysis. Professor Richard K. Wilson is the world’s “hottest” researcher, in part, for a landmark paper, “A Map of Human Genome Variation from Population-Scale Sequencing.” The three other “hot” researchers...

Elliot Elson
Gloria Ross | For the St. Louis Beacon |2013

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Part of Elliot Elson’s current research has led to the creation of artificial heart tissue that can beat on its own. Tiny pieces thump, thump, thump in petri dishes. The engineered muscles permit scientists to study the possible causes, effects and treatments of heart attacks and hypertension.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

A Washington University researcher has received a $100,000 global health grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support research focused on preventing the transmission of parasitic diseases in developing countries.

Although there are drugs to help kill parasitic worms and their eggs in the human body, stopping their transmission in the environment is challenging.

Washington University’s Tae Seok Moon will use the funding from the Gates Foundation to...

HOK

One of the country’s largest startup incubators will soon be moving into the Cortex bioscience district in St. Louis. The move marks Cambridge Innovation Center’s first expansion out of the Boston area, where it houses more than 500 small to mid-sized companies. CIC’s president and CEO, Ranch Kimball, says he expects the new St. Louis facility to attract mostly technology startups, but says CIC will be open to a variety of businesses. "We’d expect we’d have some healthcare firms, some...

Land Lab Aims To Find New Use for Vacant Lots

Apr 26, 2013
Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

If you live in any big city in the Midwest, and St. Louis in particular, you’re probably all too familiar with the site of vacant, empty land where homes and businesses used to be. This issue of vacant land in an otherwise urban environment presents tough challenges for cities. This weekend ground will be broken on several projects which aim to change the way neighborhoods and cities deal with vacant property. The Washington University Sustainable Land Lab Competition chose 5 winning designs...

Erin Williams

Since his days as a student in the classrooms of Washington University, Arsalan Iftikhar has made a career out of educating others on the myths and realities in the Muslim world. Iftikhar, whose website and Twitter handle are both titled " The Muslim Guy, " s ays his life changed the day he saw his religion come under attack after September 11, 2001, and has since dedicated himself to encouraging international and interfaith dialogue through his weekly commentary on NPR’s ‘Tell Me More,’ news...

Gary Weil/Washington University School of Medicine

Researchers from all over the world are gathering today at Washington University for a conference on global health . The event is the first to be organized by the university’s recently-created Center for Global Health and Infectious Disease . St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra spoke with the Center’s director Bill Powderly about its mission. POWDERLY: It’s a virtual center. What we’re trying to do is get together investigators and their students who have an interest in a variety of...

These miniaturized LED devices are small enough to safely implant in a mouse brain.
University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and Washington University-St. Louis

Researchers at Washington University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed miniaturized electronic devices small enough to safely insert into the brains of live mice. The tiny wireless devices can target specific brain cells and influence behavior. University of Illinois materials scientist John Rogers co-led the study and helped design the devices. He says they’re on the same size-scale as cells, so they can penetrate far down into the brain. “Those devices are...

(via WashU/copyright PNAS)

Researchers at Washington University have genetically-engineered cells to react to light. By taking light-sensing receptors from the eye — called opsins — and inserting them into immune cells, the researchers were able to trick the cells into moving toward a laser beam, in the same way they would move toward a bacterial infection. Washington University molecular biologist N. Gautam led the research. “Our thought was that if we used light to activate a receptor like this, we could have...

Former President Bill Clinton chats with volunteers at Gateway STEM High School in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Washington University is hosting the Clinton Global Initiative University this weekend, an event that's expected to bring nearly a thousand students from all over the world to the private institution. The event is aimed at bringing some of the world’s most prominent thinkers together with hundreds of college students from around the country. Besides Bill and Chelsea Clinton, the weekend's guest roster includes Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and actress Jada Pinkett-Smith. Comedian Stephen Colbert will interview Bill Clinton on Saturday.

UPI

In 2005, President Bill Clinton established the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). The goal of the ongoing project is to “create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges.” Part of CGI is the Clinton Global Initiative University , an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students “who are developing commitments in their communities and around the world.” This year, CGI U is at Washington University in St. Louis, April 5-7. Nearly 1,200 people are...

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: President Bill Clinton is no stranger to Washington University. The private university was home to the first presidential debate in 1992 , when the then-Arkansas governor squared off in a rhetorical showdown with incumbent President George H.W. Bush and Texas businessman Ross Perot. Less than a month later, Clinton would defeat both men to become the nation’s 42 nd president.

(via Flickr/Rhubarble)

For many years, it’s been thought that Stonehenge, the ancient monolith in southwestern England, was created by Druids around 460 B.C. New research shows that is incorrect. “Even today, a lot of people think Stonehenge is connected to Druids. We are very certain from radon carbon dating that it happened before,” said British archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson, Professor at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and leader of the Stonehenge Riverside Project. As part of the...

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Washington University plans to spend $30 million on sustainability efforts over the next five years, a push that comes as the institution gears up to host a big meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative . The university announced on Wednesday afternoon that it plans to spend $30 million over the next five or six years on energy conservation projects.

(via Flickr/e-MagineArt.com)

Medication is often a routine treatment for children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A recently released report by the Centers for Disease Control shows nearly 9 percent of Missouri’s children are diagnosed with ADHD and that about 80 percent of them receive prescription medication for the behavioral disorder, a rate second only to Mississippi. “I think it’s a case of the good, bad, and the ugly. As far as Missouri’s ranking second in terms of the proportion of...

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Another study has shown a link between disrupted sleep patterns and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Washington University looked at 32 people who have what’s known as “preclinical” Alzheimer’s disease. They have a marker in their spinal fluid associated with Alzheimer’s, but they still don’t have any symptoms of dementia. Wash U neurologist and sleep specialist Yo-El Ju says when she and her colleagues compared those people to 110 healthy controls, they found the two groups slept about...

Credit: Adam Schultz / Clinton Global Initiative

Former President Bill Clinton will be in St. Louis next month as part of his Clinton Global Initiative. The sixth annual Clinton Global Initiative University will be April 5-7 at Washington University. Among the featured speakers will be Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, and comedian Stephen Colbert.

The event is expected to include more than 1,000 college students and celebrities discussing things such as education, the environment, human rights and climate change.

D. Barch, M. Harms, G. Burgess for the WU-Minn HCP consortium.

An international brain mapping project led by Washington University has released its first set of results. The Human Connectome Project is a five-year effort to study brain circuits and how the wiring of the brain relates to human behavior. Project researchers are working to obtain high-resolution brain scans of 1,200 healthy adults, along with information about their cognitive abilities, personalities, and other characteristics. Study co-lead, Wash U neuroscientist David Van Essen , says the...

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