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VUToday: Man-eating lions in weekly roundup of VU news stories

Apr. 21, 2017, 1:56 PM

University News and Communications publishes VUToday, a compilation of Vanderbilt mentions in the media, each weekday. Here, read a selection of those Vanderbilt news stories for the week of April 17. To subscribe to the daily VUToday newsletter, visit

National Geographic: Why man-eating lions prey on people—new evidence

More than a century ago, African lions terrorized a railroad-construction project in Tsavo, Kenya, killing and eating 35 workers. But how and why the big cats became “man-eaters” is still a matter of scientific debate. An analysis of the notorious Tsavo man-eating lions’ teeth led by Larisa DeSantis, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, has revealed some surprises.

Time: Always hungry? This one ingredient may be to blame

Everyone knows that salty foods make you thirsty. But according to a Vanderbilt-led study, when people increase their sodium intake long-term, they actually drink less water. And that’s not the study’s only surprising finding: High sodium levels also increase feelings of hunger, the authors say, which may suggest that high-salt diets contribute to weight gain. Study co-author Jens Titze, associate professor of medicine and of molecular physiology and biophysics, is quoted.

The Atlantic: Can grade-skipping close the STEM gender gap?

Many of the estimated 1.5 million to 2.5 million mathematically gifted girls don’t have the option to accelerate. However, creating more opportunities for super-bright girls to skip grades might be one of the most viable ways to open cracks in the glass ceiling that has plagued STEM fields for decades, which would perhaps allow their peak career- and family-building years not to overlap. The article highlights the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth, and co-authors Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development, and David Lubinski, professor of psychology, are quoted throughout.

The Christian Science Monitor: Why Trump’s palace intrigue matters

Chatter about who’s up (economic adviser Gary Cohn) and who’s down (chief strategist Steve Bannon) in President Trump’s administration all seems like so much schoolyard gossip. But it’s a window on Trump’s evolving policy positions. Thomas Schwartz, professor of history, is quoted.

International Business Times: Medicinal plants: Researchers develop technique to identify gene pathways that produce active compounds

Over a period of hundreds of millions of years, plant species across the globe have evolved to manufacture chemicals that, among other things, serve to protect them from predators. In a new study, a team of Vanderbilt researchers has described what it says is an “effective and powerful” technique to identify these gene networks. Co-authors Jennifer Wisecaver, a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt, and Antonis Rokas, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Biological Sciences, are quoted.

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