Scientist at Work: Alessandro Vespignani

Vespignani image Alessandro Vespignani arrived at Indiana University Bloomington little more than five years ago as part of a gamble by now retired IU School of Informatics Dean Mike Dunn to develop what Dunn hoped would be the foundation for a world-class research group for the study of complex systems and networks.  Full Story

New physics center, leadership announced for IU Cyclotron Facility


Indiana University has announced a restructuring at its IU Cyclotron Facility that creates a new physics research center and moves operational responsibility for the cyclotron to the Indiana University School of Medicine. The new center, called the Indiana University Center for Matter and Beams (IUCMB), will be devoted to inquiry-based research in nuclear, condensed matter and accelerator-based physics.

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For this microbe, cousins not particularly welcome

Myxococcus xanthus fruiting body

A bacterial species that depends on cooperation to survive is discriminating when it comes to the company it keeps. Scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and Netherlands' Centre for Terrestrial Ecology have learned Myxococcus xanthus cells are able to recognize genetic differences in one another that are so subtle, even the scientists studying them must go to great lengths to tell them apart. The scientists' report, which appears in a recent issue of Current Biology, also provides further evidence that cooperation in nature is not always a festival of peace and love.

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Ellen Ketterson a 2009 AAAS fellow

Ellen Ketterson

Indiana University Bloomington biologist Ellen Ketterson is IU's newest fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the organization announced last month. Ketterson is invited to attend a special ceremony at the AAAS annual meeting in San Diego on Feb. 20, 2010. Honorees are selected for "their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications," according to the AAAS press release. Ketterson was chosen for her "contributions to novel research in animal behavior and evolutionary biology, especially for experimental field research involving 'phenotypic engineering.'"

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Biologist's cell cycle research gets $1.39 million in NIH support

Joe Pomerening and student

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences has awarded Indiana University Bloomington biologist Joe Pomerening $1.39 million over five years to study the biochemical controls of cell division, otherwise known as mitosis. The NIGMS is a division of the National Institutes of Health. Pomerening is an expert on the regulation of the cell cycle, a complex network of genetic and biochemical interactions that directs cells to grow in size and divide -- or not, in the case of cells instructed to stop dividing. When something goes wrong with the cell cycle, the result can be cancerous, uncontrolled growth.

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Underground gases tell the story of ice ages -- and America's split jet stream

Black Mesa cross section

Deep underground aquifers in the American Southwest contain gases that tell of the region's ancient climate, and support a growing consensus that the jet stream over North America was once split in two. The discoveries were made with a new paleohydrogeology tool, developed by Indiana University Bloomington geologist Chen Zhu and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology geologist Rolf Kipfer, that depends on the curious properties of noble gases as they seep through natural underground aquifers. Noble gases (neon and helium, for example) are elements that resist chemical reactions, and therefore have the potential to record information from Earth's past. In the January issue of Geology, the scientists report the results of their tool's first serious test amid the Navajo sandstone aquifers of northeast Arizona.

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Virtual reality tele-rehab improves hand function


Remotely monitored in-home virtual reality videogames improved hand function and forearm bone health in teens with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, helping them perform activities of daily living such as eating, dressing, cooking and other tasks for which two hands are needed. The project was done in collaboration with the Rutgers University Tele-Rehabilitation Institute, headed by Grigore Burdea, professor of electrical and computer engineering. The study appears in the January 2010 issue of Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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Previous issue

Kafadar image

The Dec. 15, 2009, issue of Discoveries, featured IU Bloomington statistician Karen Kafadar and her work to make complex, real-world phenomena -- from pathogen epidemics to high-energy particle physics -- easier to understand. Also featured were stories on the IU Vice President for Research finalists, introns, renewable energy, blood tests for hallucinaters, a new mathematical theory, and IU research at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

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