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Steve ScarpaOctober 17, 20223min
A new Wesleyan research project will explore the possibility that more chemical elements than previously thought could be used to help create inexpensive and renewable energy storage technologies. Associate Professor of Chemistry Michelle Personick’s lab was the recipient of a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to encourage research into clean-energy technologies and low carbon manufacturing. Researchers at 54 universities and 11 National Laboratories received awards in late August. Platinum group elements (PGE) like platinum, palladium, and rhodium are crucial in the production of many energy storage technologies, like fuel cells and the sustainable production of liquid fuel…

Steve ScarpaSeptember 26, 20226min
Recent research by Erika A. Taylor, associate professor of chemistry, suggests that the way scientists have long believed some antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections work could be incorrect. Aminoglycoside antibiotics have broad-spectrum, bacterial killing abilities and are often prescribed for childhood infections caused by Gram-negative bacterial pathogens, which can be found in E. coli, Salmonella, and V. cholera, amongst others. The stakes of the research are real, Taylor explained. Improved antibiotics would prevent needless deaths from E. coli, Salmonella and other Gram-negative bacteria. Relatively simple treatments, such as those for urinary tract infections, would be more efficient, improving people’s…

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Olivia DrakeNovember 19, 20218min
While it's considered acceptable, or even expected, for women to cover fine lines and wrinkles with makeup, creams, injectables, or undergo cosmetic procedures like facelifts as they age, the idea of altering skin tone—especially for Black and brown people who are the most likely to face colorism—is a newer, and oddly popular, skincare craze. "For [some] Black people it’s not about whether our skin is dewy, glowing, or glassy, or whether we're trying to conceal acne scars or minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It’s about whether we're trying to appear closer to white," said Robyn Autry, associate…

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Olivia DrakeSeptember 29, 20216min
A team of researchers at Wesleyan has discovered new strains of bacteria—located on the University's campus—that may have the ability to break down microplastics and aid in the world's ongoing plastic waste crisis. Microplastics, which measure less than .20 of an inch, enter the ecosystem— and our bodies— largely through the abrasion of larger plastic pieces dumped into the environment. According to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, the average person consumes at least 50,000 particles of microplastic a year and inhales a similar quantity. "Plastic is typically classified as a non-biodegradable substance. However, some…

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Olivia DrakeJuly 1, 20217min
When launching spacecrafts and missiles, small navigational mistakes could lead to catastrophic results. A satellite could spin completely out of orbit, a missile could mistakenly strike a civilian territory, or a spaceship could end up at another planet altogether. Three Wesleyan researchers are collaborating on the development of a novel sensor that would benefit navigation and several other applications. The new, hypersensitive acceleration sensor is based on a principle borrowed from nuclear physics and has been developed at Wesleyan. It provides enhanced sensitivity and precision compared to conventional sensors. "Our underlying concept can be applied in a variety of sensing…

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Rachel Wachman '24June 8, 20212min
The entrance to the Science Library in Exley Science Center houses a taxidermied peacock that has been restored by faculty and students in the biology department. The peacock, originally rediscovered in 2018 and put on exhibit in spring 2019, is part of a bird collection that was first displayed at the museum in Judd Hall and now belongs to the Wesleyan Museum of Natural History. The restoration team, which includes Professor of Biology Ann Campbell Burke, Yu Kai Tan BA/MA ’21, Andy Tan ’21, and Fletcher Levy ’23, recently updated the display to include new signage and fresh peacock feathers…

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Katie AberbachNovember 13, 20193min
Stephen Angle, Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies, professor of philosophy, has had a number of recent publications. Angle is the editor of “The Adolescence of Mainland New Confucianism,” special issue 49:2 of Contemporary Chinese Thought (2018). The issue is devoted to recent mainland Chinese Confucian philosophizing, and particularly to arguments about what “Mainland New Confucianism” signifies, which were prompted by noted Taiwanese scholar Li Minghui’s 2015 remarks about Mainland New Confucianism. Angle also wrote an introduction to the issue, which explores how Mainland New Confucianism has entered a somewhat more diverse and mature stage than previously. The introduction…

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Olivia DrakeSeptember 3, 20195min
The rare Guadalupe fescue once thrived in abundance atop mountains spanning the Texas-Mexico border, however, the desert-growing perennial grass is now so endangered, it only flourishes in two locations on Earth. The rapid population decline is leaving scientists puzzled. "Developing an effective recovery plan is essential for protecting Guadalupe fescue, however, the lack of basic information about this species’ ecology is a serious barrier to that goal," explained Helen Poulos, adjunct assistant professor of environmental studies. "Urgent action is needed to stabilize the two extant populations." This summer, under Poulos's leadership, Wesleyan received a National Park Service Grant to study…

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Olivia DrakeSeptember 14, 20172min
A new collaborative research hub, supported by Wesleyan's Quantitative Analysis Center, provides faculty and students with the tools to prepare, analyze and disseminate information on movement, travel and communication in easily-accessible formats. The Traveler’s Lab, developed by faculty members Gary Shaw, Jesse Torgerson and Adam Franklin-Lyons at Marlboro College, connects the faculty with each others' projects, but also with students who are interested in an interdisciplinary approach to historical research. (more…)

Frederic Wills '19October 27, 20162min
Mike Robinson, assistant professor of psychology, is a co-author of a paper titled “The impact of junk-food diet during development on ‘wanting’ and ‘liking’.” The paper was recently published in The Behavioral Brain Research Journal. His co-authors include Wesleyan alumni Ellen Nacha Lesser ’15, Aime Arroyo-Ramirez ‘16, and Sarah Jingyi Mi ’16. The research looked at the developmental impacts of a chronic junk-food diet throughout development and how it blunts pleasure and affects motivation. The study found that chronic exposure to a junk-food diet resulted in large individual differences in weight gain (gainers and non-gainers) despite resulting in stunted growth as compared to chow-fed…