News highlights for March 10, 2011

CisionPoint news monitoring provides this small sampling of the university's daily news coverage. Click headline to read full text via Cision or link directly to the online article where available. For questions or comments about this service, or to add or delete a name from the mailing list, please contact Gerry Everding.

Times Higher Education

Six ‘superbrands’: their reputations precede them


Washington University in St. Louis tied with eight other institutions for the 71st spot in Times Higher Education’s new ranking of the world’s most prestigious universities; Harvard University is #1. Elite Anglo-American names dominate the first World Reputation Rankings. The full listing of the top 100 universities places M.I.T. at #2, University of California-Berkeley as #4 and Stanford University as #5. Link to Article See also Bloomberg News, BBC, Huffington Post

Discovery Channel

Cash Cab Chicago

The Discovery Channel’s “Cash Cab” program — a sort of Jeopardy game show on wheels — visits Chicago where it asks two young men the $100 question: To avoid confusion with other schools, what Midwestern university added the words “in St. Louis” to its name in 1976? “That’s Washington University… In St. Louis,” they replied, moving on quickly to a question about an Indian board game allegedly played by emperors using harem girls. Link to Broadcast

The Wall Street Journal
Gene work yields new treatment for lupus

The FDA approved the first new drug for lupus in more than 50 years, a milestone in the effort to mine data from the human genome to discover and develop new medicines. “In select patients, Benlysta appears to have made a major difference in how they were able to deal with their disease,” said Benjamin Schwartz, a lupus expert at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. “The drug may not help everybody, but it does appear to help many people and improve their quality of life.” Link to Article See also Nature News, Science Magazine / Science Now

The Economist

How illuminating


Biotechnology: Scientists have uncovered the biochemical mechanisms used by living organisms to produce light, known as bioluminescence — and are putting those tricks to a dazzling range of uses. In one experiment, David Piwnica-Worms at Washington University, St Louis placed mice in a dark box and photographed them using a special camera. The images collected by this camera showed the virus progressing through a single mouse at frequent intervals. Link to Article

Under-the-radar tick diseases spreading across U.S.


A raft of under-the-radar tick diseases is spreading across the United States. The symptoms — fever, headache, and muscle and joint pain — resemble many other common viral infections,” says Gregory A. Storch, M.D., a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at Washington University in St. Louis, which created a multidisciplinary tickborne-disease research team because cases have surged there.

Link to Article

Science Magazine

Getting to the guts of malnutrition

A roomful of mice may offer a surprising explanation for why some starving children develop a form of malnutrition. In Malawi, a hot spot for severe malnutrition, nutrition scientist Mark Manary of Washington University in St. Louis is running a long-term study of twins to learn how best to deal with malnutrition. With the help of WUSTL microbiologists, he recently discovered variations in gut bacteria that may explain why some twins have less than identical responses to malnutrition. Link to Article

Opinion L.A.

Happiness is … some time alone, away from Facebook

Using statistics on characteristics believed to contribute to happiness, Gallup has found the happiest man in America. Of course, there are other ways to arrive at happiness. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Larry David would advise against the “stop-and-chat,” as would researchers at the University of Arizona and Washington University in St. Louis. The story references a study by WUSTL psychologist Simine Vazire. Link to Article

Related news release


Brewery waste scientific fodder for producing liquid biofuels

Anyone cracking open a cold beer is probably not considering the wastewater left over after the beer was brewed. But Cornell University researcher Largus T. Angenent and colleagues from University of Colorado and Washington University in St. Louis found that the vinegary effluent is a scientific playground for devising ways to transform wastewater into biofuels. Employing genome sequencing tools, the scientists gained new insight into how efficiently the microbes in large bioreactors produce methane from brewery waste. Link to Article

MedPage Today
Pregnancy hormone diet once more claiming believers


A fad diet that involves daily dosing of a pregnancy hormone is experiencing a “rebirth” with a big push from one of America’s most popular television doctors. “The resurgence of the hCG diet only goes to show that fads, much as their name states, come and go on a regular basis,” said Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis. “It is more important that people lose weight with an eating and activity plan that ensures they can keep the weight off.” Link to Article

Milwaukee News Buzz

What’s up, postdoc?


A new ranking by the British life sciences news magazine,The Scientist, places the Medical College of Wisconsin as the 19th best institution for postdoctoral research in the U.S. The online survey asked scientists to rate the postdoctoral institution they had worked for on the quality of training and mentoring, the career opportunities they offer, the funding available for research and other factors. Washington University ranked 17. Link to Article

News in Higher Education

Chicago Tribune

Colleges urged to screen more for depression

According to a report published in the January issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, about a quarter of all students who visited an on-campus health center facility were diagnosed as depressed. Link to Article


University of Southern California receives $200 million donation

The University of Southern California will receive a $200 million gift, the largest in its history, from alumnus David Dornsife and his wife Dana to expand support for undergraduate programs, research and Ph.D. programs in the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Nicole Malec, a USC spokeswoman, declined to say whether the donation is an outright gift or a pledge to be paid over time. Link to Article

MPR News (Minnesota Public Radio)

U of M seeks more revenue from inventions

The University of Minnesota made nearly $84 million in revenue from technologies and inventions created by its employees last year, but a big chunk of that revenue will soon disappear when royalty payments stop on an AIDS drug developed at the school. Link to Article

San Francisco Chronicle

Stanford drops list of ‘easy’ classes for athletes

After inquiries from reporters, Stanford has discontinued a list of courses distributed only to Stanford athletes. The list, which has existed since at least 2001, was widely regarded by athletes as an easy class list. More than a quarter of the courses on the list did not fulfill university general education requirements. Link to Article

For additional higher education news (subscription may be required):
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Inside Higher Ed
University Business

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