A simple sniff

A team of engineers from Washington University in St. Louis has combined nanoparticles, aerosol science and locusts in new proof-of-concept research that could someday vastly improve drug delivery to the brain, making it as simple as a sniff.

Studying the brain’s suspension system in TBIs

Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can be devastating and debilitating. Researchers know that the membranes separating the skull from the brain play a key role in absorbing shock and preventing damage caused during a head impact, but the details remain largely mysterious. New research from a team of engineers at Washington University in St. Louis takes a closer at this “suspension system” and the insight it could provide to prevent TBI.

Rice goes rogue

We tend to assume that domestication is a one-way street and that, once domesticated, crop plants stay domesticated. A new study of rice shows, however, that different methods of farming change the evolutionary pressures on crop plants, and the plants easily “de-domesticate,” evolving to take advantage of these opportunities.

Mars in the hallway

Geologist Phil Skemer, of Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, is assembling a database of three-dimensional models of crystal structures, rock outcrops and landforms that will allow students to study geology in three dimensions.
House mouse from a Maasai village

Mouse in the house tells tale of human settlement

Long before the advent of agriculture, hunter gatherers began putting down roots in the Middle East, building more permanent homes and altering the ecological balance in ways that allowed the common house mouse to flourish, suggest new research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Mice run by starry clocks

Star-shaped cells called astrocytes, long considered boring, “support cells,” are finally coming into their own. To everyone’s surprise they even play an important role in the body’s master clock, which schedules everything from the release of hormones to the onset of sleepiness.

Unintended consequences of beachgrass

A four-year study of one rare and one common lupine growing in coastal dunes showed that a native mouse steals most of the rare lupines seeds while they are still attached to the plant. The mouse is a “subsidized species,” given cover for nocturnal forays by European beachgrass, originally planted to stabilize the dunes.

Preventing lead spread

While lead pipes were banned decades ago, they still supply millions of American households with water each day. A team of engineers at Washington University in St. Louis has developed a new way to track where dangerous lead particles might be transported in the drinking-water supply during a common abatement procedure.