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Life, Earth and Space

VU’s high-quality natural sciences research output rises according to 2018 Nature Index

Jun. 7, 2018—The Nature Index tracks author affiliation information from articles published in 68 prestigious natural science journals and ranks institutions according to their rate of inclusion in those journals.

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Building the tiniest recording studios in Music City to understand vocal learning

Jun. 4, 2018—Humans aren't the only animals who can learn vocal communication from others. By studying the process in zebra finches, we may better understand how it works in humans, too.

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Prehistoric people also likely disrupted by environmental change

May. 24, 2018—A prehistoric community in the Mississippi Delta may have abandoned a large ceremonial site after the bayou it sits on began to dry up.

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Insect gene allows reproductive organs to cope with harmful bacteria

May. 17, 2018—Bordenstein’s team studied Nasonia parasitic wasps, which are about the size of a sesame seed, and they serve as one of the best models to dissect and characterize the evolution of insect genomes.

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Looking beyond the ‘magic bullet’ approach to drug discovery

May. 1, 2018—Vanderbilt scientists have developed a new process that can rapidly and inexpensively identify personalized cancer drugs derived from nature.

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Unraveling genetic mystery next step in Zika and dengue fight

Apr. 23, 2018—How a bacteria hijacked insect fertility remained a mystery for five decades, until Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Seth Bordenstein and his team helped solve it.

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Q&A: Going to Mars with astronomy professor David Weintraub

Apr. 20, 2018—We can go to Mars—soon. But should we? Astronomy Professor David Weintraub asks the ethical questions in his new book, "Life on Mars: What to Know Before We Go."

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NASA’s TESS mission to discover new worlds will use a map developed at Vanderbilt

Apr. 16, 2018—Vanderbilt’s Keivan Stassun serves as a deputy principal investigator on the mission and is tasked with identifying the most promising stars to target in its search for habitable nearby planets.

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Mississippi River Delta will lose more land than can be reclaimed

Apr. 11, 2018—Before the Industrial Age, the Mississippi Delta grew at a rate of two to three square miles per year, suggesting that, even with current reclamation efforts, it is unlikely that it will be possible to offset the current rate of loss--15 to 20 square miles per year

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VU BreakThru: What can a finch teach us about language?

Apr. 4, 2018—Is the mystery of human speech hidden in the song of a finch? Vanderbilt researchers in the Music, Mind and Society TIPs program are analyzing the songs of zebra finches to study the development and nuance of spoken language. Learn more in this fascinating VUBreakThru blog post written by Ph.D. candidate Kate T. Snyder. Read more about TIPs grants and other internal faculty funding programs—including University Courses, Discovery Grants and Research Scholar Grants—at the VU BreakThru blog.

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Professor and student travel to the bottom of the earth, searching for climate clues

Apr. 4, 2018—Vanderbilt geologist Dan Morgan and undergraduate Andrew Grant took immersion to an extreme, trekking all the way to Antarctica to hunt for the oldest ice ever found.

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Planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1 star provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds

Mar. 20, 2018—The newly discovered planets appear to have too much water to sustain life but provide hints at what sorts of planets might do so.

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