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Author: David Salisbury

Discovery of jumping gene cluster tangles tree of life

Feb. 4, 2011—Since the days of Darwin, the “tree of life” has been the preeminent metaphor for the process of evolution, reflecting the gradual branching and changing of individual species. The discovery that a large cluster of genes appears to have jumped directly from one species of fungus to another, however, significantly strengthens the argument that a...

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When events conspire

Feb. 1, 2011—Have you ever had the feeling that events beyond your control are working in your favor? That certainly seems to have been the case in the extraordinary sequence of events that led Vanderbilt chemist Brian Bachmann to establish the first systematic program designed to search for novel drugs among cave microbes. The first event was...

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Going underground in search of new drugs

Feb. 1, 2011—Every few months, chemist Brian Bachmann sheds his white lab coat, collects his flashlight, helmet, surgical gloves and knotted rope, puts on old clothes and hiking boots and heads to a nearby cave. Bachmann, an assistant professor of chemistry at Vanderbilt, has combined his industrial experience in natural products drug discovery with his undergraduate hobby...

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Tuning graphene film so it sheds water

Feb. 1, 2011—Windshields that shed water so effectively that they don’t need wipers.  Ship hulls so slippery that they glide through the water more efficiently than ordinary hulls. These are some of the potential applications for graphene, one of the hottest new materials in the field of nanotechnology, raised by the research of James Dickerson, assistant professor...

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Trillion, trillion everywhere

Jan. 20, 2011—The number trillion has popped up in the news several times in recent weeks. On January 11, for example, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III – a scientific consortium that includes Vanderbilt – announced that it had created the largest digital image of the sky and is releasing it to the public. The color image contains...

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Vanderbilt’s role in largest digital sky image

Jan. 13, 2011—The Sloan Digital Sky Survey-III collaboration, which includes Vanderbilt University, has resulted in a picture of the sky so big that it would take 500,000 high-definition TVs to view it at full resolution. The color image contains more than a trillion pixels and covers about one-third of the entire sky.

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Tackling the erosion of a special river island

Dec. 14, 2010—E&ES Professor David Furbish and students Grace Loy and John Rosenberry study the dynamics of the Columbia River around Locke Island, an island sacred to Native Americans endangered by erosion, in order to help determine how best to preserve the site.

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Developing robots for the hospital emergency room

Dec. 6, 2010—Are you ready for robots in the ER? A group of computer engineers at Vanderbilt University is convinced that the basic technology is now available to create robot assistants that can perform effectively in the often-chaotic environment of the emergency room. The specialists in emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are enthusiastic about the...

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Babies’ biological clocks dramatically affected by birth light cycle

Dec. 6, 2010—The season in which babies are born can have a dramatic and persistent effect on how their biological clocks function. That is the conclusion of a new study published online on Dec. 5 by the journal Nature Neuroscience. The experiment provides the first evidence for seasonal imprinting of biological clocks in mammals and was conducted...

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New initiative to develop a system that controls prosthetic limbs naturally

Nov. 17, 2010—Using beams of light to allow amputees not only to control but also to feel the movement of prosthetic limbs is the ambitious goal of a new $5.6 million Department of Defense initiative. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is tapping the new and rapidly growing field of “neurophotonics” to overcome one the biggest technical...

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Image of mosquito’s heart wins first place in Nikon’s ‘Small World’ photomicrography competition

Oct. 15, 2010—Jonas King, a member of the research group of Julián Hillyer, assistant professor of biological sciences, captured the image as part of the group's research on the circulatory system of Anopheles gambiae, a mosquito that spreads malaria.

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ARRA grant allows update of nanoscience institute’s air-handling equipment

Oct. 13, 2010—If there is one thing that nanoscientists need above all else to study the behavior of materials and create devices at the scale of individual atoms, it is an ultra-clean environment. The fresh air that we breathe contains something like one million microscopic particles in a cubic foot, more than enough to wreak havoc with...

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