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Life, Earth and Space

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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Measuring elements of life in Milky Way

Jan. 6, 2017—Astronomers participating in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey have announced the results of the first study that shows how the abundance of the "elements of life" varies across the Milky Way galaxy.

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Faster (cheaper) method for making big bioactive ring molecules

Dec. 12, 2016—A pair of Vanderbilt chemists have developed a faster, cheaper method for synthesizing ring molecules called cyclic depsipeptides found in antibiotics, anti-retrovirals and pesticides.

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Blood-brain barrier on a chip sheds new light on “silent killer”

Dec. 6, 2016—A new microfluidic device containing human cells that faithfully mimics the behavior of the blood-brain barrier is providing new insights into brain inflammation, the silent killer.

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Tennessine approved as name of newly discovered element

Nov. 30, 2016—Tennessee joins California to become only the second American state memorialized in the periodic table of elements.

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Each animal species hosts a unique microbial community and benefits from it

Nov. 28, 2016—A laboratory study of four animal species and their microbiota finds that each species hosts a unique community of microbes that can significantly improve its health and fitness.

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‘Origami’ rapid malaria test receives Grand Challenges Explorations grant

Nov. 15, 2016—A novel "origami" rapid diagnostic test for malaria has received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

Oct. 27, 2016—A team of Vanderbilt scientists have genetically modified luciferase, the enzyme that produces bioluminescence, so that it acts as an optical sensor that records activity in brain cells.

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