The S.J. Quinney Law celebrates the grand opening of its new building on Sept. 1, 2015.

U celebrates grand opening of award-winning College of Law building

The University of Utah on Sept.1 will celebrate the opening of its newest building on campus, a state-of-the art law school designed to enhance innovation in legal education, bolster community service and provide students with new opportunities for skills training. Governor Gary Herbert and U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch will join University of Utah President David W. Pershing and S.J. Quinney College of Law Dean Robert Adler in dedicating the facility. Other dignitaries will also attend the dedication of the building.

“This new, sustainable home for the S.J. Quinney College of Law is the embodiment of the exceptional and innovative education that … Read more

Do Republicans have happier marriages than Democrats? New research finds that is the case.

U researcher: Republicans are happier in their marriages than Democrats

A new study by University of Utah sociologist Nicholas Wolfinger and a colleague from the University of Virginia reveals that Republicans tend to be happier in their marriages than Democrats, and are less likely to be divorced.

Wolfinger and W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia, published the study Monday in Family Studies: The Blog of the Institute for Family Studies. Titled “Red Families vs. Blue Families: Which are Happier?,” the findings add to an ongoing debate over which set of political ideals help to lead people to a happy life, said Wolfinger.

(The research) contributes to an ongoing … Read more

Suresh Venkatasubramanian, an associate professor in the University of Utah’s School of Computing, leads a team of researchers that have discovered a technique to determine if algorithms used for tasks such as hiring or administering housing loans could in fact discriminate unintentionally. The team also has discovered a way to fix such errors if they exist. Their findings were recently revealed at  the 21st Association for Computing Machinery’s SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining in Sydney, Australia.

Programming and prejudice

Software may appear to operate without bias because it strictly uses computer code to reach conclusions. That’s why many companies use algorithms to help weed out job applicants when hiring for a new position.

But a team of computer scientists from the University of Utah, University of Arizona and Haverford College in Pennsylvania have discovered a way to find out if an algorithm used for hiring decisions, loan approvals and comparably weighty tasks could be biased like a human being.

The researchers, led by Suresh Venkatasubramanian, an associate professor in the University of Utah’s School of Computing, have discovered a technique to … Read more

Big families share viruses in a big way

Viruses Thrive In Big Families, In Sickness and In Health

The BIG LoVE (Utah Better Identification of Germs-Longitudinal Viral Epidemiology) study, led by scientists at the University of Utah School of Medicine, finds that each bundle of joy puts the entire household at increased risk for infection with viruses that cause colds, flu, and other respiratory illnesses.

People living in childless households were infected with viruses on average 3-4 weeks during the year. In households with one child, that number jumped to 18 weeks, and for those with six children, there was virus in the household for up to 45 weeks out of the year.

Yet on average only half of those … Read more

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4 million years at Africa’s salad bar

As grasses grew more common in Africa, most major mammal groups tried grazing on them at times during the past 4 million years, but some of the animals went extinct or switched back to browsing on trees and shrubs, according to a study led by the University of Utah.

“It’s as if in a city, there was a whole new genre of restaurant to try,” says geochemist Thure Cerling, first and senior author of the study published today by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “This is a record of how different mammals responded. And almost all of … Read more

A team led by Christopher Gregg, Ph.D., associate professor in neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine reports a targeted version of parental control over gene expression is more common than classic genomic imprinting. Published in Cell Reports, so-called noncanonical imprinting is particularly prevalent in the brain, and skews the genetic message in subpopulations of cells so that mom, or dad, has a stronger say. Subsets of cells predominantly express a single copy of the autism-linked gene Ahi1 inherited from one parent (one dot) while others express both copies (two dots).

Genetic Tug of War in the Brain Influences Behavior

Not every mom and dad agree on how their offspring should behave. But in genetics as in life, parenting is about knowing when your voice needs to be heard, and the best ways of doing so. Typically, compromise reigns, and one copy of each gene is inherited from each parent so that the two contribute equally to the traits who make us who we are. Occasionally, a mechanism called genomic imprinting, first described 30 years ago, allows just one parent to be heard by completely silencing the other.

Now, researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine report on a … Read more

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Drought’s lasting impact on forests

In the virtual worlds of climate modeling, forests and other vegetation are assumed to bounce back quickly from extreme drought. But that assumption is far off the mark, according to a new study of drought impacts at forest sites worldwide. Living trees took an average of two to four years to recover and resume normal growth rates after droughts ended, researchers report today in the journal Science.

“This really matters because in the future droughts are expected to increase in frequency and severity due to climate change,” says lead author William R.L. Anderegg, an assistant professor of biology at the University … Read more