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Life, Earth and Space

New method for tapping vast plant pharmacopeia to make more effective drugs

Apr. 14, 2017—Geneticists have developed an effective new method for identifying the genes that produce the chemicals plants use to protect themselves from predators, which are an important natural drug source.

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Forget sponges: the earliest animals were marine jellies

Apr. 10, 2017—A powerful new method has been devised to settle contentious phylogenetic tree-of-life issues. such as "What is the oldest branch of the animal family tree?"

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State commends tennessine discoverers

Mar. 29, 2017—On March 27, Tennessee state Sen. Ken Yager presented a resolution commending physicists from Vanderbilt, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville for discovering a new element and naming it tennessine.

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‘Flying saucer’ quantum dots hold secret to better, brighter lasers

Mar. 20, 2017—Vanderbilt University chemists collaborated in research that ‘squashes’ the shape of nanoparticles to create inexpensive lasers that continuously emit light in a customizable rainbow of colors.

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For female mosquitoes, two sets of odor sensors are better than one

Mar. 15, 2017—A team of Vanderbilt biologists has found that the malaria mosquito has a second complete set of odor receptors that are specially tuned to human scents.

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Fossils at the Fort is March 25

Mar. 15, 2017—Fossils at the Fort is happening on Saturday, March 25, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fort Negley Visitors Center and Park. The event is free and will take place rain or shine.

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Fish eyes may hold key to regenerating human retinas

Mar. 9, 2017—Research into retinal regeneration in zebrafish has identified a signal that appears to trigger the self-repair process, raising the possibility of inducing retinal repair in human eyes.

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New tool for combating mosquito-borne disease: insect parasite genes

Feb. 27, 2017—Genes used by the insect parasite Wolbachia to control its hosts' reproduction can be used to help control the spread of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, Zika and malaria.

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Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart’s biomechanical properties

Feb. 22, 2017—Scientists at Vanderbilt University have created a three-dimensional organ-on-a-chip that can mimic the heart’s amazing biomechanical properties in order to study cardiac disease, develop heart drugs.

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Environmental chemist and citizen scientist David J. Wilson has died

Feb. 14, 2017—Professor Emeritus of Chemistry David James Wilson died peacefully Jan. 12 in Belleville, Michigan, following a three-year bout with melanoma. He was 86.

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Climate change helped kill off super-sized Ice Age animals in Australia

Jan. 26, 2017—A new study has compared the diet of a variety of Australian megafaunal herbivores from the period when they were widespread (350,000 to 570,000 years ago) to a period when they were in decline (30,000 to 40,000 years ago) by studying their fossil teeth. The analysis suggests that climate change had a significant impact on their diets and may well have been a primary factor in their extinction.

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$1M gift to support research and immersion experiences for Vanderbilt’s Earth and Environmental Sciences

Jan. 24, 2017—Vanderbilt’s College of Arts and Science received a $1 million anonymous gift to bolster faculty research and student immersion experiences in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

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