Science & Technology

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Migratory bears down in the dumps

June 23, 2016

University of Utah biologists working in Turkey discovered two surprising facts about a group of 16 brown bears: First, six of the bears seasonally migrated between feeding and breeding sites, the first known brown bears to do so. Second, and more sobering, the other 10 bears stayed in one spot all year long: the city […]


Douglas Jones, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Utah.

Why people help distant kin

June 15, 2016

June 15, 2016 – It’s easy to understand why natural selection favors people who help close kin at their own expense: It can increase the odds the family’s genes are passed to future generations. But why assist distant relatives? Mathematical simulations by a University of Utah anthropologist suggest “socially enforced nepotism” encourages helping far-flung kin. […]


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Pitch range produced by vocal cords

June 11, 2016

  Picture a singer, accompanied by a grand piano. As the singer’s voice dances through multiple octaves of range, the pianist’s fingers trip from one end of the keyboard to the other. Both the singer’s voice and the piano are dynamic instruments. But while the piano creates its music using the vibration of hundreds of strings, […]


This illustration shows how the AIDS-causing virus normally buds and releases from an infected cell (upper right to middle left) and how a new approach to fighting the virus could render release virus particles noninfectious (upper right, curing back to the left). The blue band in the illustration represents the surface of an infected cell. The process begins at the upper right as a new HIV particle begins to emerge or bud from an infected cell (first two light blue partial spheres), with viral envelope proteins protruding from the emerging virus particle. The budded particle is shown at the center, now with a cutaway view of the inside of the HIV, which includes Gag proteins (yellowish orange) and Pol proteins (blue), which include enzymes needed for the virus to replicate. At this point the virus is still attached to the cell. The last two HIV particles on the left represent the normal budding process, in which the HIV particle or “viron” is released from the cell, with an orange capsid protein inside the virus carrying the enzymes that make it infectious. University of Utah scientists have found that if they can delay the budding process – represented by the three HIV particles extending from the center to the middle right – they can render it noninfectious. In that case, the delay allows the enzymes inside the HIV particle to leak back into the host cell, so that when the virus finally is released, it lacks the enzymes in the capsid protein that makes it infectious.

A new way to nip AIDS in the bud

June 9, 2016

When new AIDS virus particles bud from an infected cell, an enzyme named protease activates to help the viruses mature and infect more cells. That’s why modern AIDS drugs control the disease by inhibiting protease. Now, University of Utah researchers found a way to turn protease into a double-edged sword: They showed that if they […]


This view of Zion Canyon in Utah’s Zion National Park shows the flat valley floor created when part of the peak named the Sentinel collapsed in a gigantic landslide, creating a dam and forming a lake, which eventually filled in with sediment. A new University of Utah study provides the first direct date for the landslide, determining it happened 4,800 years ago and showing it was so large that it would have covered New York City’s Central Park with 275 feet of debris. This photo is the cover image for the June issue of the Geological Society America’s journal GSA Today, which is publishing the Utah study.

How a huge landslide shaped Zion National Park

May 26, 2016

  A Utah mountainside collapsed 4,800 years ago in a gargantuan landslide known as a “rock avalanche,” creating the flat floor of what is now Zion National Park by damming the Virgin River to create a lake that existed for 700 years. Those are key conclusions of a new University of Utah study that provides […]


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Spring snow a no-go?

May 25, 2016

Spring snowpack, relied on by ski resorts and water managers throughout the Western United States, may be more vulnerable to a warming climate in coming decades, according to a new University of Utah study. The study, accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, models the year-to-year variability in precipitation and temperature in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains […]


Sarah Hargus Ferguson is an associate professor of communication science and disorders at the University of Utah. She led a series of studies with her students that were presented at the national meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Salt Lake City. The studies dealt with how British accents can confuse older people with hearing impairments, how fast talking can impair intelligibility, and how listeners perceive gender and anger in people’s voices.

Brit accents vex U.S. hearing-impaired elderly

May 25, 2016

  Older Americans with some hearing loss shouldn’t feel alone if they have trouble understanding British TV sagas like “Downton Abbey.” A small study from the University of Utah suggests hearing-impaired senior citizens have more trouble than young people comprehending British accents when there is background noise. “The older hearing-impaired had just a little more […]


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Study Contradicts Belief that Cancer Protects against Alzheimer’s

May 6, 2016

Despite studies that claim people with cancer are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease–raising the possibility that what triggers cancer also prevents the neurodegenerative disorder–a new investigation finds a more somber explanation. Many cancer patients don’t live long enough to get Alzheimer’s. The research, led by investigators at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, […]


Darryl Butt, Engineering, lab, for Explore, Carrie Quinney

University of Utah names new dean for the College of Mines and Earth Sciences

May 6, 2016

Darryl P. Butt, associate director of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls, Idaho and distinguished professor of materials science and engineering at Boise State University will be the next dean of the College of Mines and Earth Sciences at the University of Utah. “Dr. Darryl Butt has a remarkable record of achievement, […]


James Ehleringer, 2016 Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence recipient.

James Ehleringer receives 2016 Rosenblatt Prize

May 5, 2016

James Ehleringer, distinguished professor of biology at the University of Utah, was honored with the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence, the U’s most prestigious faculty award. The $40,000 gift is presented annually to a faculty member who displays excellence in teaching, research and administrative efforts. The Rosenblatt Prize Committee, a group of distinguished faculty members, recommends […]