A plasma globe operating in a darkened room.
In a sense, kinases are like cellular spark plugs, says Kaine Korzekwa, a science writer for the UW–Madison biochemistry department. They help kick-start complex cellular machines, like the ones that decipher genome to transcribe RNA from DNA. But in another sense, he says, they’re like electrical relays, transferring signals from one cellular […]

Shutting down cellular “spark plugs” to understand how they work


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Don’t be fooled by the size of Hepatitis B: Despite being one of the smallest known viruses, it annually infects nearly 3 million more people and kills almost 1 million. Yet surprisingly little is known about its biology. Ok, a little more than a little is known. Hepatitis B (HBV) […]

Living in the liver: New insights into Hepatitis B chronic ...


Informational flyers posted to a kiosk outside the Memorial Union at the University of Wisconsin-Madison serve as a reminder for eligible student voters of locations on campus to cast their ballots on Nov. 6, 2012, for the presidential election and several state positions. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)
“It’s much easier to predict the election than a lot of things,” says Laura Albert McLay. The election of the president of the United States, she means. Which seems surprising, even coming from a professor of industrial and systems engineering who models complex systems like emergency services and healthcare in […]

More than one way to play presidential pick ’em



An outburst of Perseid meteors lights up the sky in August 2009 in this time-lapse image. Stargazers expect a similar outburst during next week’s Perseid meteor shower, which will be visible overnight on Aug. 11 and 12//Credit: NASA/JPL
The following is a guest post from Jim Lattis, director of UW Space Place and astronomy historian from the UW-Madison Department of Astronomy: The Perseid meteors are one of our best and most reliable meteor showers of the year. Their peak activity typically now occurs on the nights of August 11-13, […]

How the Perseid meteor shower helped modernize astronomy


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“Jacquelyn Gill is a talented young paleoecologist at the University of Maine — achieving lead-author status as a graduate student back in 2009 on a much-cited paper in Science that shed light on what did, and didn’t, contribute to the great die-off of mammoths and other ‘megafauna’ in North America as […]

Megafauna, dung and mastering science communication


Plants grow in the courtyard of Bascom Hall
The following is a guest post from Jill Sakai, communications director for the UW–Madison Office of Sustainability: An unassuming door off a stairway in Bascom Hall leads to a small courtyard, often overlooked even by the building’s occupants. Thanks to a student effort, there is a new reason for people […]

A “secret” garden atop Bascom Hill (and it’s edible)



close-up of owl with researcher looking through medical instrument to it's eye.
Some of nature’s most interesting eyes will alight on campus this Saturday for the third annual Vision at the Arboretum, an opportunity to learn more about your own sight through the prism of some flying peepers. “Studies of animal vision help us to understand our own visual system,” says Nansi […]

Vision at the Arboretum: Get eye-to-eye with a bat.


Historic image of Aztalan
It was late in the first millennium (AD). The site, a grassy expanse along the banks of the Crawfish River. A small group of Late Woodland peoples, native to Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest, lived off of the land here and built a sense of community alongside migrants from Cahokia. […]

Excavating Aztalan: Ancient people, modern story


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Recent news reports about the Biggest Loser TV series brought disheartening news to millions eager to shed excess pounds, but it raised eyebrows with a long-time metabolism researcher at UW-Madison. After excruciating diet-and-exercise routines, a study published in the journal Obesity showed that the contestants’ bodies adjusted so they were […]

‘Biggest Loser’ study: Reality-TV solution to obesity is unreal