Melissa Steinken


University researcher helps clear up controversy around brain cells

For more than 30 years, a University of Minnesota neuroscience professor Eric Newman has worked to combat misunderstandings around brain cell function. Now, Newman’s research on the cells and blood flow could lead to new treatments for diabetes. Glial cells have long been considered the “glue” that keeps the central nervous system together.

Female U profs pave way in cancer research

Researchers at the University of Minnesota are developing new methods for cancer cell research. Wendy Gordon — assistant professor in biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics — works with light-emitting sensors that measure how lung and bone cancer proteins respond to force on cells.

University professor assists in gene cloning to fight wheat disease

Farmers in Minnesota and elsewhere have seen toxins shrivel and kill their wheat crops in recent years. In November, University of Minnesota researchers helped over 100 scientists at universities nationwide and in China clone a gene resistant to wheat scab — a disease they say is the greatest threat to crops. “We’re talking about identifying one gene out of 60,000 genes,” said James Anderson, University agronomy and plant genetics professor and researcher on the project.

U grad student designs bike sensors to stop collisions

Dangerous collisions between cars and bikes could be a thing of the past with the help of a University of Minnesota student. At a conference hosted by the University’s Center for Transportation Studies earlier this month, a professor and graduate student presented a system to detect cars in a bicyclist’s blind spot. Mechanical engineering student Woongsun Jeon and Professor Rajesh Rajamani created a method that places sensors on the side and back of a bicycle.

New polymer in oral med could increase absorption and drive down prices

Researchers at the University of Minnesota created a new polymer that could increase the body’s absorption of drugs and drive down future pharmaceutical prices. The polymer allows the body to easily dissolve medication and absorb chemicals into the bloodstream and could eventually make drugs less concentrated — in turn decreasing oral drug prices.

U researchers make renewable soap molecule

of Minnesota recently created a renewable soap molecule for laundry detergents, hand soaps and even future makeup products. Scientists in the Dauenhauer Research Group created the molecule that works better in hard water before it was licensed by a local startup company, Sironix Renewables.

For one study, hyenas make an unexpected research partner

University of Minnesota students and hyenas at the Milwaukee County Zoo are stripping meat from bones to replicate and study prehistoric behavior. University anthropology graduate student Katrina Yezzi-Woodley cleans, processes and analyzes bone fragments broken by hyena teeth and human-made stone tools.

Hundreds protest Hennepin County involvement in Dakota Access Pipeline arrests

Demonstrators, including members of Black Lives Matter, gathered outside the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis on Friday to support those protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. More than 200 demonstrators rallied outside the courthouse, holding banners that said, “We Are Protectors Not Protestors,” and chanting, “Water is Life.” Many in attendance said they could not travel to North Dakota, so they came to the courthouse to show their support instead. “There’s so much about racism, colonization and environmental issues mixed in this situation that you just have to be here,” said Natalia Vargas Marquez, a University of Minnesota graduate student. She said it is important for the community to respond after Hennepin County Sheriff’s deputies were recently seen using force on protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest near Standing Rock, North Dakota. Between speakers, tribe members presented songs about Mother Earth and defending Standing Rock. Some members came because they said the pipeline will impact the cleanliness of drinking water along its proposed route.