Predicting which species most at risk from voracious lionfish predators

We have only two to five years to act once lionfish arrive

Predicting which species most at risk from voracious lionfish predatorsCoastal countries have between two and five years to act to protect native fish species once voracious lionfish arrive in their waters, according to a University of Alberta ecology professor who helped create a tool to predict which fish are in danger. The lionfish, originally a popular aquarium species native only to the Pacific and…

Online tool helps canola producers get a leg up on blackleg disease

Calculator helps farmers assess potential crop losses and plan for future growing seasons

Online tool helps canola producers get a leg up on blackleg diseaseThe work of a University of Alberta researcher has been used to develop a tool for Western Canadian canola farmers to get a better idea of how a disease common to the plant could affect their bottom line. The Blackleg Yield Loss Calculator is part of the Canola Council of Canada’s suite of agronomic tools being offered to producers…

What baseball fights tell us about ourselves

Baseball fights are highly ritualized cultural behaviour

What baseball fights tell us about ourselvesThere's no crying in baseball, as Tom Hanks says in A League of Their Own. But there is fighting. When it happens, the violence is minimal, the brawl is short-lived and no one sheds a tear. Why is that? “Baseball fights are highly ritualized cultural behaviour,” explains U of A archeologist André Costopoulos. “Everybody involved knows…

Robotics, AI key to faster cardiac ultrasound system under development

U of A cardiologist teams up with computer scientists, engineers to create 3-D heart imaging device

Robotics, AI key to faster cardiac ultrasound system under developmentA University of Alberta-based team is developing a system to improve the way heart conditions are diagnosed by blending robotics and artificial intelligence with existing cardiac ultrasound technology. “Current echocardiography (heart ultrasound) is used for virtually all patients with cardiac symptoms, but it has limitations. For example, it doesn’t typically capture the entire heart in…

Grant of $2.85 million to accelerate and support ALS research

Sanjay Kalra is creating the most comprehensive biological picture of ALS yet

Grant of $2.85 million to accelerate and support ALS researchUniversity of Alberta researcher Sanjay Kalra is leading a team of investigators awarded $2.85 million from Brain Canada to create a platform that will help ALS researchers better understand the complex disease and find ways to treat patients with a more personalized approach. ALS, often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurological disease that affects…

The fight against future pandemics must be proactive

Instead of playing catch-up with the next virus, precision medicine lets us deal with it swiftly

The fight against future pandemics must be proactiveOn March 17, David Wishart, ’83 BSc (Hons), fielded a call from Medellin, Colombia. A company called Quantrack had a job for him. The novel COVID‑19 coronavirus had its hooks in the country. The Quantrack team figured that if Wishart, a professor of both biology and computing science, could make one of his famous heat…

Venomous fangs evolved independently in vipers and cobras

U of A biology grads shed new light on the evolution of an iconic feature of some modern snakes

Venomous fangs evolved independently in vipers and cobrasVenom fangs evolved separately in several species of modern snakes, according to a new study led by former University of Alberta students and post-doctoral fellows in an international collaboration. “This research provides a textbook example of convergent evolution, in which two or more lineages with a common ancestor tweak that ancestral body plan in similar…

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…