Nutrition researcher gets funding to find out why diet affects immunity

Immunology is at the centre of virtually every chronic disease

Nutrition researcher gets funding to find out why diet affects immunityTwo decades ago, Catherine Field’s University of Alberta nutrition lab showed that specific fatty acids in breast milk during the crucial first period of life could program how the immune system responds to food allergens. Her group looked at milk, egg and soy allergies – the ones babies tend to grow out of but can still…

Inhibitors could lead to new antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19

May be the best option for treating outbreaks in unvaccinated and under-vaccinated populations

Inhibitors could lead to new antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19The rapid development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines has been a major step forward in helping bring the pandemic under control. But with the rise of variants and an uneven global distribution of vaccines, COVID-19 is a disease that will have to be managed for some time. Antiviral drugs that target the way the…

COVID-19 culture shock creates a huge social experiment

Life is supposed to get back to normal. So why does it feel like we’re entering the unknown?

COVID-19 culture shock creates a huge social experimentIn March 2020, most of the globe reluctantly embarked on a social experiment. We changed our behaviours in the hopes of slowing the spread of a new virus. We learned what life was like without seeing our friends and families. We prioritized public health above all else. After 16 months, the “new normal” became routine.…

Sensor detects when firefighters’ protective clothing is no longer safe

Textiles scientist works with industry to develop a faster, easier way to detect damage from heat, moisture and UV light

Sensor detects when firefighters’ protective clothing is no longer safeFirefighters risk their lives battling blazes, and ageing protective gear can put them at even greater risk. A University of Alberta researcher is working with industry to reduce that risk with a sensor that can detect the gradual breakdown in garments from exposure to heat, moisture and ultraviolet (UV) light. “These fibres age silently and…

The future of farming is smarter

In the drive to become more efficient and adaptive, farms are becoming innovation incubators

The future of farming is smarterThe future of farming might bring tiny drone pollinators or a fishy foray into conserving water in greenhouses. It might bring an app that diagnoses plant disease, artificial intelligence that reduces a farmer’s driving time, or robotics that lend some extra hands. Future farming might bring some, all or none of those. What it will…

Massive ancient lake emptied quickly enough to set off an ice age

U of A-led international team estimates the flood from Glacial Lake Agassiz may be largest known in Earth’s history

Massive ancient lake emptied quickly enough to set off an ice ageA flood of epic proportions drained at a rate of more than 800 Olympic swimming pools a second from a glacial lake that spanned the Prairie provinces more than 12,000 years ago, according to a University of Alberta-led study. The finding bolsters a theory that the event may have propelled the warming Earth back into…

Researchers find possible culprit in COVID-19 deaths

Blood plasma protein galectin-9 linked to ‘cytokine storms’ that damage organs and tissue

Researchers find possible culprit in COVID-19 deathsAs clinical evidence mounts that the leading cause of death in COVID-19 patients is the dangerous condition known as a cytokine storm, University of Alberta researchers have identified a protein in the blood that could be responsible. The team found that COVID-19 patients have significantly elevated levels of a protein called galectin-9 in their blood…

New laser equipment gives medical technology developers a boost

Microfabrication tools allow inventors to design and test precision medical devices at rapid speeds

New laser equipment gives medical technology developers a boostIn the world of precision medicine, really, really small is a really big deal. That’s certainly the case for western Canadian entrepreneurs who have big ideas for tiny medical devices, thanks to a new investment from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) in a University of Alberta facility. Medical device developers now have access to $1.5 million in…

Artifacts from composer’s life included in international registry

Designation signifies late U of A professor’s importance to the Canadian cultural landscape as a renowned classical music composer

Artifacts from composer’s life included in international registryAn archival collection documenting the life and accomplishments of a University of Alberta music professor has struck a high note by earning a world-class designation. The Violet Archer fonds at the U of A has been accepted into the Canada Memory of the World Register, part of a UNESCO program that showcases the most meaningful documents in humanity’s…

Sensors embedded in bandages could monitor diabetic foot wounds

Tiny sensors could be used to detect and treat foot wounds before they get bad enough to require amputation

Sensors embedded in bandages could monitor diabetic foot woundsIt was sparked by a chance conversation. Simon Palfreyman and Manisha Gupta got to talking about their research after a meeting. He’s an expert in wound care and she’s a leader in making biosensors that can be attached to the skin to monitor things like temperature or the presence of germs. Palfreyman, an assistant professor…

Common chemotherapy drug linked to hearing loss in children

Half of children with cancer being treated with cisplatin suffer irreversible hearing loss

Common chemotherapy drug linked to hearing loss in childrenA University of Alberta research lab has helped identify a genetic variant that increases the risk of hearing loss in children with cancer who are treated with the widely used drug cisplatin. Amit Bhavsar, assistant professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology and Canada Research Chair in Functional Genomic Medicine, led the U…

New texting services support first responders’ mental health

Daily positive messages are designed to help emergency personnel cope with trauma of the job, similar to successful Text4Hope

New texting services support first responders’ mental healthTwo free text messaging services have been launched to support the mental health of Alberta’s first responders. Text4PTSI and Text4Well-being are designed to help emergency personnel cope positively with feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, disturbed sleep and suicidal thoughts, said project lead Vincent Agyapong, clinical professor of psychiatry and global mental health in the University of Alberta Faculty…

Research project explores new way to boost canola production

Latest technology will test how well different breeds convert the power of the sun, offering hope of better yields for farmers

Research project explores new way to boost canola productionA University of Alberta researcher is working to capture the power of sunshine to boost canola yield for western Canadian farmers. Over the next three years, plant scientist Linda Gorim of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences (ALES) will assess up to 300 breeding lines of canola from around the world to find out which are…

Professors promote science as a tool for Indigenous governance

Kim TallBear and Jessica Kolopenuk are addressing increasing demands for Indigenous governance in STEM

Professors promote science as a tool for Indigenous governanceIt’s a common misconception, Dr. Kim TallBear says, that while Indigenous peoples have culture and tradition, white people own science and technology. As TallBear mentions in a video trailer for one of the Faculty of Native Studies’ newest online courses, this myth doesn’t only undermine the myriad ways Indigenous peoples have produced science, technology and knowledge systems throughout history…

Coal mining waste material more than 90% effective at removing heavy metal

Nano humus works like a sponge that attaches to and holds cadmium, a common byproduct of mining

Coal mining waste material more than 90% effective at removing heavy metalA low-value byproduct of the coal mining process is proving highly effective at helping reclaim the land and water used in mining, University of Alberta research shows. Nano humus, a substance extracted from coal mine deposits and then crushed to a black, powdery material, has “outstanding physical and chemical properties” that remove heavy metals from…