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Life, Earth and Space

Professor, Chemist, Mentor: Steve Townsend, assistant professor of chemistry

Oct. 29, 2019—Steven Townsend, whose research into human milk could one day help all babies get their best start in life, is also a committed mentor devoted to helping young scholars get the best start on their careers.

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National Academies committee including Vanderbilt astrophysicist publishes review of latest NASA Science Plan

Oct. 18, 2019—An astrophysicist at Vanderbilt is part of the committee behind a review of NASA’s updated Science Plan, a five-year strategic roadmap for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

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EPA-funded study aims to create novel platform for research into long-term neurotoxin exposure

Oct. 16, 2019—A new Vanderbilt study funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to construct a new platform and reliable approach for future studies into organophosphate compounds, such as pesticides, insecticides and similar nerve agents.

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New method reveals how differences in the genetic “instruction booklet” between humans and Neanderthals influenced traits

Oct. 7, 2019—When it comes to our differences from Neanderthals, most of what we know comes from comparing fossils. But fossils can only tell us about bones and not whole living organisms. That’s changing thanks to a new paper from a team of genomics researchers at Vanderbilt, who have developed a first-of-its-kind computational method. Their approach uses...

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High standards of female songbirds could be driving their mates to evolve

Sep. 4, 2019—Picky females force male songbirds to become better singers.

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Rare study of Earth-sized planet uses technique pioneered by Vanderbilt professor

Aug. 19, 2019—A groundbreaking study, using data from NASA and a technique pioneered by a Vanderbilt professor, is giving humankind a glimpse at a distant exoplanet with a size similar to Earth and a surface which may resemble Mercury or Earth’s Moon. Located nearly 49 light-years from Earth, the planet known as LHS 3844b was first discovered...

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Rokas to lead budding cross-disciplinary collaboration on evolutionary studies

Aug. 14, 2019—The Vanderbilt Evolutionary Studies Initiative seeks to position the university as a global leader in evolutionary studies by engaging a large group of scholars who share this research interest.

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Behavioral science models can help identify the greenest dietary changes

Aug. 9, 2019—Spreading the gospel of veggie-only diets may not be the most effective way to help reduce overall, food-related greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new model based on behavioral science. In new commentary published Aug. 9 in Nature Sustainability, Jonathan Gilligan, associate professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, examines the importance of including realistic examples...

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Intense look at La Brea Tar Pits explains why we have coyotes, not saber-toothed cats

Aug. 5, 2019—The most detailed study to date of ancient predators trapped in the La Brea Tar Pits is helping Americans understand why today we’re dealing with coyotes dumping over garbage cans and not saber-toothed cats ripping our arms off.

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‘Research squad’ propels student during two summer immersions

Jul. 19, 2019—Chemistry major Puxin Xuanyuan put her creativity to work this summer while splitting time between an immersion experience at a medical biotech startup in Toronto and conducting cancer-fighting research on the Vanderbilt campus.

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Computer model illuminates critical moment in Drosophila development

Jun. 19, 2019—A computer model of forces exerted by cells during development of a fertilized egg into a fruit fly larvae holds promise to help scientists understand the morphogenesis of organisms that are much more complicated. Shane Hutson, professor of physics and biological sciences and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, said the model sought...

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Ediacaran dinner party featured plenty to eat, adequate sanitation, computer model shows

Jun. 19, 2019—“They are behaving like animals, and that’s a link between them and what we recognize as animals," says paleontologist Simon A.F. Darroch.

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