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Sequestration Budget Cuts Hit St. Louis Scientists

Jun 17, 2013
(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."

(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.

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.

Wash U To Engineer Bacteria To Kill Intestinal Parasites

May 21, 2013
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.

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.

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.

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.        

Wash U Center Aims To Increase Collaboration On Global Health

Apr 12, 2013
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.

Tiny Implantable LED Devices Help Shed Light On The Brain

Apr 11, 2013
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.

Wash U Researchers Trick Cells Into Moving Toward Light

Apr 8, 2013
(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.

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.”

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 42nd 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.

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.

(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 the same amount.

Clinton To Visit St. Louis In April

Mar 6, 2013
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.
 

First Results From Brain Mapping Project Ready For Download

Mar 5, 2013
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.

Julie Stapen

In 2009, Susannah Cahalan, a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, was a healthy 24-year old journalist at the New York Post.

One day that year, she found herself alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to speak.

Cahalan had no memory, at the time, of her month long hospital stay, hallucinations and violent actions.

“(The doctors) became convinced I had bi-polar disorder,” she told host Don Marsh.

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