A Year of Eurekas
13 things Tigers discovered in 2013
Mizzou researchers were busy this year. They toiled in their laboratories. They investigated in the field. They poked and probed, analyzed and scrutinized.
Here’s what they found.
1. Mizzou’s own insect
Ben Puttler in plant sciences found a previously undiscovered insect species that exclusively inhabits St. John’s wort plants at Mizzou Rec. He named it Aphis mizzou.
2. A laziness gene
By selectively breeding rats, Frank Booth and Michael Roberts in medicine and veterinary medicine identified specific genes that can spark or sap one’s motivation to be active.
3. A snapping turtle invasion
Snapping turtles are moving into urban areas, according to Bill Peterman in biological sciences, because their natural habitats are polluted. (Look out for mutated adolescent, martial-arts-adept turtles in sewers.)
4. An invisible force field that stops oil spills
Jae Kwon in engineering developed a way to control and confine the movement of oily liquids in water. The technique could protect sea life from oil spills.
5. Mental illness in social media
Elizabeth Martin in psychology found that Facebook activity reveals personality characteristics and psychological disorders, such as paranoia or social anxiety.
6. Meatballs that are good for you
Ayca Gedikoglu in food science found a way to insert healthful citrus fiber into ground-beef meatballs — without adversely affecting flavor.
7. A scientific basis for the principle of “brothers before significant others”
Mark Finn in anthropology was knee-deep in testosterone this year. He learned men’s testosterone levels increase during male bonding in group competition — whether watching football or fighting wars — and decrease during interaction with their friends’ wives.
8. An app that saves cows
Don Spiers and his research team developed a mobile app that monitors bovine respiration and weather conditions and alerts farmers when cows are at risk for heat stress.
9. An app that saves farmers
A. Bulent Koc and Bo Liu in agricultural systems management developed a mobile app that automatically calls for help when a tractor rolls over.
10. A treatment for meth addiction — in grapes
Dennis Miller in psychology discovered that resveratrol, a natural compound found in colored vegetables and fruits (especially grapes), helps methamphetamine addicts control their cravings.
11. Portable X-ray power
A tiny device made by Scott Kovaleski and his engineering research team provides a controlled source of radiation, with an on/off switch, that can be used for portable X-ray machines and scientific fieldwork.
12. A cancer treatment with no side effects
Cancer research rock star M. Frederick Hawthorne created a radiation therapy technique that targets cancer cells without harming surrounding tissue. Oh, and he also received the National Medal of Science Award from President Barack Obama.
13. The key to happiness
Ken Sheldon and Yuna Ferguson in psychology have figured it out. Step 1: Set the intention to be happy. Step 2: Add music.