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2012 Highlights: Science and Research

Wake Forest University physics professor David Carroll works with graduate student Greg Smith on new FIPEL lighting technology.

Taking the buzz out of office lights

Say goodbye to that annoying buzz created by overhead fluorescent light bulbs in your office or residence hall. Wake Forest scientists have used nanotechnology to develop a flicker-free, shatterproof alternative for large-scale lighting.

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Cancer research sparks cover story

The work of an interdisciplinary team of Wake Forest researchers developing a novel drug for prostate cancer treatment is featured on the cover of the Nov. 26 issue of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

Jason Gagliano, a biology graduate student, works in a Wake Forest lab.

A Google search for drug discovery

Wake Forest researchers received a $700,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to bring to market a new drug-discovery tool using next-generation genetic sequencing. Someday, pharmaceutical companies will use their technology as a sort of Google search for new drugs, making diagnostics discovery significantly more efficient.

Gloria Muday works with local students.

Teaching with tomatoes

The “Teaching with Tomatoes” program developed by biology professor Gloria Muday takes WFU students to local schools to teach genetics. They reinforce lessons learned in class about how genetics are responsible for the diversity in heirloom tomatoes. Muday estimates the program has reached more than 1,200 students this semester.

Northern Dusky Salamander

Drought, climate change impact salamanders

On the heels of one the worst U.S. droughts in more than half a century, a new study by Wake Forest researchers raises questions about the future of one of the most integral members of stream ecosystems throughout the Southeast – the salamander.

Samantha Yaussey talks about her anthropology research into the early people of North Carolina.

URECA: supporting undergraduate research

Undergraduate research has been a cornerstone of Wake Forest’s commitment to academic excellence. Now the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URECA) Center provides student grants and administrative support for mentored, undergraduate research and encourages high-quality programs of great impact.

Wake Forest chemistry professor Uli Bierbach talks with staff member Linda Tuttle along with graduate students Xin Qiao (left) and Song Ding.

Staff assistant inspires researchers

When staff assistant Linda Tuttle was diagnosed with breast cancer, she never imagined her experience would inspire her colleagues to design new treatments. But medicinal chemist Uli Bierbach and graduate students Song Ding and Xin Qiao were inspired to develop a targeted therapy that delivers a sneak attack to the disease – in the spirit of Pro Humanitate.

Timo Thonhauser

Fueling a passion to teach

Timo Thonhauser has taken on one of the toughest problems of making hydrogen cars a reality: hydrogen storage. His research is supported by the most prestigious award the National Science Foundation has to offer for young scientists, given to a select few junior faculty nationwide who excel as teacher-scholars.

Erik Johnson examines test tubes with graduate student Jason Braco.

Fruit fly research might change diabetes treatment

Erik Johnson’s latest study, which appears in the current issue of the Genetics, uses the fruit fly to look at enzyme signaling as a key to developing new treatments for diabetes and as an aid in all sorts of metabolic research, including weight-loss drugs.

Stephen Messier, professor of health and exercise science, talks with a participant in an earlier knee OA study about strength training for older adults.

Strength training to reduce knee pain

Building on the results of short-term studies showing the benefits of strength training on knee osteoarthritis (OA), professor of health and exercise science Stephen Messier will lead a five-year study to learn what level of strength training will help older adults the most.