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The Lead

Two lakes beneath Greenland’s ice gone within weeks

January 22, 2015 8:57 am | by Pam Frost Gorder, The Ohio State Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers who are building the highest-resolution map of the Greenland Ice Sheet to date have made a surprising discovery: two lakes of meltwater that pooled beneath the ice and rapidly drained away. One lake once held billions of gallons of water and emptied to form a mile-wide crater in just a few weeks. The other lake has filled and emptied twice in the last two years.

The best offense against bacteria is a good defense

January 7, 2015 11:13 am | by Emily Caldwell, Ohio State Univ. | News | Comments

A small protein active in the human immune response can disable bacterial toxins by exploiting a...

DNA origami could lead to nano “transformers” for biomedical applications

January 5, 2015 3:59 pm | by Pam Frost Gorder, Ohio State Univ. | Videos | Comments

If the new nanomachines built at The Ohio State Univ. look familiar, it’s because they were...

Study: Ancient Earth made its own water

December 17, 2014 10:06 am | by Pam Frost Gorder, Ohio State Univ. | News | Comments

A new study is helping to answer a longstanding question that has recently moved to the...

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Adding 'spice' to curcumin’s health-promoting benefits

November 6, 2014 2:55 pm | by Emily Caldwell, The Ohio State Univ. | News | Comments

The health benefits of over-the-counter curcumin supplements might not get past your gut, but new research shows that a modified formulation of the spice releases its anti-inflammatory goodness throughout the body.           

Batteries included: A solar cell that stores its own power

October 3, 2014 9:07 am | by Pam Frost Gorder, Ohio State Univ. | News | Comments

The world’s first “solar battery”, invented by researchers at Ohio State Univ., is a battery and a solar cell combined into one hybrid device. Key to the innovation is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery, and a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode. Inside the device, light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery.

Math model designed to replace invasive kidney biopsy for lupus patients

September 19, 2014 8:34 am | by Emily Caldwell, Ohio State Univ. | News | Comments

Mathematics might be able to reduce the need for invasive biopsies in patients suffering kidney damage related to the autoimmune disease lupus. In a new study, researchers developed a math model that can predict the progression from nephritis, or kidney inflammation, to interstitial fibrosis, scarring in the kidney that current treatments cannot reverse. A kidney biopsy is the only existing way to reach a definitive diagnosis.

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Could a Milky Way supernova be visible from Earth in next 50 years?

November 1, 2013 8:05 am | News | Comments

Astronomers have calculated the odds that, sometime during the next 50 years, a supernova occurring in our home galaxy will be visible from Earth. The good news: They’ve calculated the odds to be nearly 100% that such a supernova would be visible to telescopes in the form of infrared radiation. The bad news: The odds are much lower that the shining stellar spectacle would be visible to the naked eye in the nighttime sky.

New UV LED could lead to portable, low-cost devices

September 10, 2013 7:31 am | News | Comments

Commercial uses for ultraviolet (UV) light are growing, and now a new kind of light-emitting diode (LED) under development at The Ohio State Univ. could lead to more portable and low-cost uses of the technology. The patent-pending LED creates a more precise wavelength of UV light than today’s commercially available UV LEDs, and runs at much lower voltages.

Physicists offer explanation for strange magnetic behavior at semiconductor interfaces

August 26, 2013 7:57 am | News | Comments

They're not exactly the peanut butter and jelly of semiconductors, but when you put them together, something magical happens. Alone, neither lanthanum aluminate nor strontium titanate exhibit any particularly notable properties. But when they are layered together, they become not only conductive, but also magnetic.

Researchers move closer to low-cost, implantable electronics

June 10, 2013 1:37 pm | News | Comments

New technology under development at Ohio State Univ. is paving the way for low-cost electronic devices that work in direct contact with living tissue inside the body. The first planned use of the technology is a sensor that will detect the very early stages of organ transplant rejection.

Redesigned material could lead to lighter, faster electronics

April 10, 2013 12:57 pm | News | Comments

The same material that formed the first primitive transistors more than 60 years ago can be modified in a new way to advance future electronics, according to a new study. Chemists at The Ohio State University have developed the technology for making a one-atom-thick sheet of germanium, and found that it conducts electrons more than ten times faster than silicon and five times faster than conventional germanium.

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Byrd came close, but probably didn’t reach North Pole

April 8, 2013 6:02 pm | by Pam Frost Gorder, OSU | News | Comments

When renowned explorer Richard E. Byrd returned from the first-ever flight to the North Pole in 1926, he sparked a controversy that remains today: Did he actually reach the pole? Studying supercomputer simulations of atmospheric conditions on the day of the flight and double-checking Byrd’s navigation techniques, a researcher at Ohio State University has determined that Byrd neared the Pole, but did not reach it.

Simulations uncover obstacle to harnessing laser-driven fusion

March 27, 2013 7:50 am | News | Comments

A once-promising approach for using next-generation, ultra-intense lasers to help deliver commercially viable fusion energy has been brought into serious question by new experimental results and first-of-a-kind simulations of laser-plasma interaction. So-called fast ignition, this process involves a long-discussed possibility of using a hollow cone to help focus laser energy on the pellet core to induce fusion. Unfortunately, these cones appear to fail in that mission.

Researchers find new way for plants to pass traits to next generation

March 26, 2013 12:50 pm | by Emily Caldwell, Ohio State University | News | Comments

Scientists have shown that an enzyme in corn responsible for reading information from DNA can prompt unexpected changes in gene activity—an example of epigenetics that breaks accepted rules of genetic behavior. Though some evidence has suggested that epigenetic changes can bypass DNA’s influence to carry on from one generation to the next, this is the first study to show that this epigenetic heritability can be subject to selective breeding.

Tiny piece of RNA keeps “clock” running in early life

March 11, 2013 4:12 pm | News | Comments

New research shows that a tiny piece of RNA has an essential role in ensuring that embryonic tissue segments form properly. The study, conducted in chicken embryos, determined that this piece of RNA regulates cyclical gene activity that defines the timing of the formation of tissue segments that later become muscle and vertebrae.

New coal technology harnesses energy without burning

February 6, 2013 10:08 am | News | Comments

A new form of clean coal technology reached an important milestone recently, with the successful operation of a research-scale combustion system at Ohio State University. The technology is now ready for testing at a larger scale. For 203 continuous hours, the Ohio State combustion unit produced heat from coal while capturing 99% of the carbon dioxide produced in the reaction.

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New factor could limit life of hybrid and electric car batteries

December 13, 2012 8:02 am | News | Comments

A new study of the batteries commonly used in hybrid and electric-only cars has revealed an unexpected factor that could limit the performance of batteries currently on the road. Researchers led by Ohio State University engineers examined used car batteries and discovered that over time lithium accumulates beyond the battery electrodes—in the "current collector," a sheet of copper which facilitates electron transfer between the electrodes and the car's electrical system.

DNA analysis of microbes in a fracking site yields surprises

December 3, 2012 3:15 pm | by Pam Frost Gorder, Ohio State University | News | Comments

Researchers have made a genetic analysis of the microbes living deep inside a deposit of Marcellus Shale at a hydraulic fracturing. They expected to find many tough microbes, such as single-celled archaea, suited to extreme environments. Instead, they found very few genetic biomarkers for archaea, and many more for species that derive from bacteria.They also found that the populations of microbes changed dramatically over a short period of time.

Scientists develop single-cell imaging method to watch cell clock

November 13, 2012 11:55 am | News | Comments

A new way to visualize single-cell activity in living zebrafish embryos has allowed scientists to clarify how cells line up in the right place at the right time to receive signals about the next phase of their life. The findings increase understanding of cyclical behaviors in all types of cells at many developmental stages.

Butterfly wings inspire new high-tech surfaces

November 7, 2012 2:33 pm | by Pam Frost Gorder, Ohio State University | News | Comments

After carefully studying the structure of butterfly wings and rice leaves, Ohio State University engineers designed a coated plastic surface resembling a butterfly wing’s texture. Butterflies in the wild need to have bright, clean wings for reproduction and flying, and the surface created by engineers was reportedly easier to keep free of dust particles than a flat surface. The finding could inform designs for a variety of surfaces in various industries.

After long-ago mass extinction, global warming hindered species' recovery

November 5, 2012 9:53 am | News | Comments

Researchers have discovered why plants and animals had a hard time recovering from the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history 250 million years ago. The reason: global warming. Because of environmental consequences of rising temperatures, those species that survived the extinction didn’t fully recover for 5 million years.

Scientists discover RNA phenomenon that challenges dogma

August 27, 2012 10:50 am | News | Comments

Some RNA molecules spend time in a restful state akin to hibernation rather than automatically carrying out their established job of delivering protein-building instructions in cells. This restful period appears to be a programmed step for RNA produced by certain types of genes. Protein production in cells is not as clear-cut as biology textbooks suggest, scientists say.

Genetically engineered algae for biofuel pose potential risks

August 20, 2012 8:53 am | News | Comments

Algae are high on the genetic engineering agenda as a potential source for biofuel, and they should be subjected to independent studies of any environmental risks that could be linked to cultivating algae for this purpose, two prominent researchers say. The researchers argue that ecology experts should be among scientists given independent authority and adequate funding to explore any potential unintended consequences of this technological pursuit.

GPS can now measure ice melt

July 24, 2012 8:07 am | News | Comments

Researchers have found a way to use GPS to measure short-term changes in the rate of ice loss on Greenland—and reveal a surprising link between the ice and the atmosphere above it. The study hints at the potential for GPS to detect many consequences of climate change, including ice loss, the uplift of bedrock, changes in air pressure—and perhaps even sea level rise.

Some harmful effects of light at night can be reversed

July 24, 2012 4:59 am | News | Comments

Chronic exposure to dim light at night can lead to depressive symptoms in rodents—but these negative effects can be reversed simply by returning to a standard light-dark cycle, a new study suggests. These findings add to the growing evidence that suggest chronic exposure to artificial light at night may play some role in the rising rates of depression in humans during the past 50 years.

One step closer to new thermoelectric 'heat engine'

July 11, 2012 10:26 am | News | Comments

Researchers who are studying a new magnetic effect that converts heat to electricity have discovered how to amplify it a thousand times over—a first step in making the technology more practical.

Researchers take virus-tracking software worldwide

May 22, 2012 9:35 am | News | Comments

A biomedical informatics researcher who tracks dangerous viruses as they spread around the globe has restructured his innovative tracking software to promote even wider use of the program around the world.

Workers get assembly line help from tilting cars

May 14, 2012 7:30 am | News | Comments

Two recent studies that tested two ways to protect autoworkers from injury found letting autoworkers sit while they reach into a car's interior to perform assembly could help prevent shoulder and back strain. But a possibly better overall solution the researchers suggested might be to tilt the entire car so that workers can stand up.

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