Science and Technology

MU researchers grow stem cells in pigs

Jun 19, 2014
Pig
File Photo / KBIA

For years, medical researchers have been searching for a way to study the effectiveness of stem cell therapies without testing them on humans. But it's difficult, and many problems pop up, including the fact that many animals reject the stem cell grafts or transplants.

MU researchers Dr. R. Michael Roberts and Dr. Randall S. Prather believe they've found the answer: The two have collaborated to create a genetically modified pig with an immune system that doesn't allow rejection.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order on Wednesday, officially launching the development of a comprehensive state energy plan.

President Obama unveiled a proposal on Tuesday that would create the world's largest ocean sanctuary south and west of Hawaii, The Washington Post and The Associated Press are reporting.

Christine Karim / Creative Commons

                Researchers at the University of Missouri are working towards improving water quality throughout the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico.

You may have noticed a trend clinking around on the shelves of your local liquor store: More and more fancy craft beer is showing up in aluminum cans.

Maureen Lewis-Stump / KBIA

The Columbia Public Works Department had a problem. There were too many employees for its small parking lot. Workers would park along the street, disturbing residents living close to the department. At the end of the parking lot was an underground cavity, which was used to drain water into local creeks and rivers in the 1980s and has not been used since. But it was a good place to add onto the current lot, however there was a worry about drainage.

Jason Empey / FLICKR

A group founded last month in Columbia is trying to educate Missourians about black bears.

Veronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the first-ever rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

Bridgit Bowden / KBIA

  Ameren’s Callaway nuclear plant near Fulton is in its 30th year of operation. It has a 40-year license and is in the process of getting it renewed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or NRC.

Missouri Coalition for the Environment is heading an effort to stop it from being re-licensed.

One of their main concerns is spent, or used, radioactive rods that are left over after making power. When they’re taken out of the reactor, they’re still extremely hot and need to be stored in a cooling facility.

stormwater drain
Thirteen of Clubs / flickr

The Columbia Public Works Department had a problem. 

Jason Empey / FLICKR

The Missouri Department of Conservation now estimates that the Show Me State’s black bear population is about 300.

Building Columbia’s first net-zero energy house

May 22, 2014
KBIA

The house under construction at the corner of Ash and Sanford streets isn’t like its neighbors. Beyond the huge roof and shiny silver siding, the house is designed to produce energy as well as consume it.

columns at university of missouri
File Photo / KBIA

A task force established by the Environmental Protection Agency to curtail farmland pollution that flows into the Mississippi River has reached an agreement with 12 universities.

The EPA says states already collaborate with universities on local water quality research and agricultural programs but to date there hasn't been a formal process for sharing university research and ideas across the 12 task force states.

Helping hands for Missouri Monarchs

May 21, 2014
Gary Grigsby / KBIA News

  Most of us are familiar with that icon of the insect world, the black and orange Monarch butterfly.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

As Wednesday’s rush hour dies down on Interstate 70, Scott Campbell is merging onto the highway.

“Off like a herd of turtles,” he says.

Campbell is with Missouri’s Department of Transportation and he’s spending the night here with the maintenance team to repaint the yellow stripe in the fast lane. The caravan of trucks, with mounted signs, flashing arrows and bright lights, spreads out for more than a mile creeping along at 10 miles per hour. Even all these emblazoned alerts didn’t protect Campbell when was struck by a pickup on the job two weeks ago.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Farmers can expect more challenges, thanks to climate change. That’s according to a recent report released by the White House.

Iowa State University professor Gene Takle co-authored the chapter on agriculture in the 2014 National Climate Assessment. He says expected changes in humidity, precipitation and temperature may produce more extreme weather events.

“We need to be thinking forward as to the kinds of adaptation strategies that we need to adopt while at the same time we are looking for measures to mitigate the underlying cause of climate change,” Takle says.

Lance Cheung for USDA / Flickr

Missouri's solar energy industry is rallying to resurrect a popular rebate program created by a 2008 renewable-energy ballot initiative that was curtailed when the state's largest utility said it had to cease participation to avoid rate increases capped by the voter-approved law.

Amylovesyah / Flickr

An Oregon-based medical sciences company announced this morning a multimillion-dollar plan to build a radioisotope production facility in Columbia.

Staff / Missouri Department of Conservation

The White House released a new climate change report Tuesday. It predicts threats to agriculture including severe weather, more pests and greater demands for water and energy. Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports.

Staff / Missouri Department of Conservation

The Missouri Department of Conservation is searching for help to track the state's turtle population. Interested biology enthusiasts would help trap and release turtles in the water at the Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area south of Columbia. The department needs between two and three dozen people who don't mind getting messy in the name of science.

Eagle Bluffs manager Vic Bogosian says the information gathered during these turtle round ups are crucial to ensuring the continued well-being of the animals.

Bridgit Bowden / KBIA

  Food waste is something we all produce, but don’t like to think about. That’s why several large universities in Missouri are turning food waste from dining halls into compost.

Unlocking prairie secrets from a sod house

May 1, 2014
Jackie Sojicko / Harvest Public Media

 

Ecologists in Nebraska are trying to find out what the Great Plains looked like when homesteaders settled there in the 19th century. To do that, they’re working with a team of archaeologists and historians dissecting a sod house, a house built out of bricks cut from dirt.

Larry Estes has had a sod house in his backyard in Gates, Neb., for as long as he can remember. He never really thought anything about it until a year ago when a repairman asked him about it.

Jacob McCleland / Harvest Public Media

    

Water experts in the Midwest are worried about Asian carp. They say the invasive fish are taking over U.S. waterways -- the Mississippi River and its tributaries like the Illinois and Missouri Rivers, where they out compete native fish.

But as Jacob McCleland reports for Harvest Public Media, river watchers at their wits end have found new hope. And it lies on dinner tables in China.

Monarch butterflies are in trouble. The latest estimates show their numbers have dropped dramatically at their wintering grounds in Mexico.

Marissane Lewis-Stump / KBIA

When we think of plants, intelligence is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. But maybe plants are more than a decorative feature to our dining room table.

KBIA’s Marissanne Lewis-Thompson checked in with a monthly science conversation series in Columbia. This month’s topic: the secret lives of plants.

Training the brain to learn a new dominant hand

Apr 17, 2014
Jacob Jones / KBIA

University of Missouri researchers are starting to uncover details about how the brain adapts to the loss or impairment of an individual's dominant hand. Dr. Scott Frey with MU's Department of Psychological Sciences has been working with amputation and stroke patients and his research may hold the secret to training the brain and the body to use a non-dominant hand. I recently say down with Frey to learn more: 

Can you give me a little background information as to what got you started with this research?

Intelligent plants? Researcher unravels mysteries of plant life

Apr 17, 2014
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson / KBIA

When we think of plants, intelligence is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. But maybe plants are more than a decorative feature to our dining room table.

On a recent Tuesday night, the sounds of restaurant chatter, music and the aroma of food fill Columbia’s Broadway Brewery. But in the middle of the crowd, on a wooden stool sits an ordinary green plant.

Sara Pang / KBIA

Dr. Robert Gallo is the biomedical researcher who unearthed HIV as the cause of AIDS and was the first to identify a human retrovirus known to cause human cancer. Gallo’s discoveries don’t just stop there; his current research includes finding a prevention for the disease despite the challenges.

With all the bickering taking place in Congress about what to do or what not to do about climate change, you might think federal agencies wouldn't be dealing with it either.

Some studies being done at the University of Missouri may shed some light on how stroke victims learn to regain control of an impaired hand, or even learn how to use their opposite hand. 

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