Monthly Archives June 2021

U.S. House Passes Bill to Boost Scientific Research Competitiveness with China

The United States House of Representatives on Monday passed a law that would boost scientific research in a bid to make the United States more competitive than China.

U.S. lawmakers passed two bills on a bipartisan basis to increase funding for the National Science Foundation and establish a new science and engineering directorate to expand research opportunities, as well as allow funding research for the Department of Energy’s science office, The Hill reported.

“We need to dramatically increase funding for science. For years we have left millions of dollars of excellent research without funding,” said the chair of the Science, Space and Technology Committee. House of Commons, Eddie Bernice Johnson.

“We are at a critical moment in the history of our country and we need to focus more on the role of science in our society,” he added.

The first bill, called the National Science Foundation for the Future Act was passed by 345-67, while the second bill, titled Department of Energy Science for the Future Act, was passed by 351-68. They would increase funding to the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science by about seven percent per year.

Republicans also added a committee provision prohibiting grant applicants from participating in talent programs associated with foreign governments of concern such as the Thousand Talent Program, which is linked to the Chinese government, according to The Hill.

“It is essential that we strike the right balance between keeping our research enterprise open but also protecting it from adversaries who seek to take advantage of our open system,” Republican Representative Michael Waltz said.

In addition to the two bills passed on Monday from the Science, Space and Technology Committee, separate legislation from the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee is also in the works, The Hill reported.

The bill, introduced by committee chairman Gregory Meeks, would provide temporary protection or refugee status to people in Hong Kong and Uyghurs facing human rights violations by the Chinese government and invest in manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines to promote US “vaccine diplomacy” to counter Chinese vaccines, which are less effective than those developed in the United States.

It comes after the US Senate passed a massive package earlier this month to provide funding to the National Science Foundation, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Senate legislation also includes provisions to increase diplomatic pressure on China, such as imposing a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

In May, the Senate voted 84-11 to move forward with the Endless Borders Act introduced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, which aims up to $ 100 billion over five years for basic and advanced technological research and an additional $ 10 billion to create new technologies. hubs across the country.

Under the administration of former President Donald Trump, ties between the two countries had deteriorated on issues such as human rights violations in Xinjiang, encroachment on Hong Kong’s special status, accusations of practices Beijing’s unfair trade, lack of transparency regarding the pandemic and China. military aggression in various parts of the world.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Scientists share ‘scary’ science facts the public knows nothing about

People on Reddit have shared “scary” science facts they think the public knows nothing about in a thread urging scientists to reveal it all. We’ll be honest, you probably would rather not know a lot of them. So come back now if you want to save yourself some trauma, and everyone keeps reading as we compile some of our “favorites.” Some are self-explanatory; we will intervene if we have anything to add.

Yes, good old smut can indeed remain buried for many years, only to be revived and infect others. In 2016, an anthrax outbreak in Siberia that killed at least 1,500 reindeer, hospitalized four humans and potentially killed a 12-year-old was caused by the thawing of an infected 75-year-old reindeer corpse.

As the climate crisis continues, this could happen more often.

Prion diseases are rightfully terrifying. Perhaps the worst part is the familiar fatal insomnia. It’s more complicated (see here) but essentially, the hereditary disease strikes around the age of 50. You lose sleep, and you lose sleep, and you lose sleep

“As a rule, one day in middle age, the patient discovers that he [or she] started to sweat. A look in the mirror will show that his pupils have shrunk to pin pricks and that he is holding his head in a weird and stiff way, “describes journalist DT Max in his 2006 book. The family that couldn’t sleep. “Constipation is common, women suddenly go through menopause, and men become powerless. The victim begins to have trouble sleeping and tries to compensate with an afternoon nap, but to no avail. Her blood pressure and pulse have become high and her body is overdrive. Over the next several months, he desperately tries to sleep, sometimes closing his eyes but never managing to fall into more than a slight stupor. “

Within 18 months of its onset, people who contract the disease have died.

This is true, but the situation is actually much worse than that.

Particularly gloomy, until 1985 very few people knew how many procedures took place on premature babies without relieving pain. Newborns still undergo painful procedures without pain relief today.

If you want to scare yourself more about anesthetics, we highly recommend checking out The Forgotten Twilight Sleep Practice.

That’s right, according to a 2020 study. However, we can’t decide if this one is scary or heartwarming.

Bad news, the “pirate disease” is making a comeback in the United States.

Yes, dying from jumping into a pool of lava is much worse than what is portrayed in the movies.

“Jumping into your deadly tub will get you stuck on the surface as the lava begins to burn all the way through you,” former IFLScience writer Dr Robin Andrews wrote in 2017.

“This injury is the type that not only destroys the top layer of your skin (epidermis), but quickly destroys your nerve endings and cuts your blood vessels in your underlying dermis. Your subcutaneous fat will also boil, so indeed. , you ‘I’ll be seared like a beef steak. “

We are starting to know how it works, many years after using it.

In 2019, part of a Russian laboratory that stores smallpox exploded. Sleep loudly.

And finally.

In addition, we need to let future humans know that what we have buried is dangerous. The ideas we have so far are pretty far-fetched and have led to the suggestion of the atomic priesthood, which is just as Publication date like that sounds.

This week in IFLScience

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Professor seeks answers in brain and behavioral science research

Ebony glove

KENNESAW, Georgia (June 11, 2021) – Continuing research in her field of behavioral neuroscience started out more as a practical matter for Ebony Glover, fueled by a healthy dose of curiosity. As a largely self-funded undergraduate psychology student at Spelman College in Atlanta, she jumped at the chance to win a scholarship to attend a series of research lectures by top neuroscientists.

After hearing one of them discuss a model of animal fear response to post-traumatic stress disorder – “fear-enhanced surprise” in scientific jargon – Glover said she was “hooked”. “It was something about how he described fear as a biological construct and not just a feeling or an emotion.”

As Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Kennesaw State Department of Psychological SciencesGlover followed the path from his undergraduate courses on Brain and Behavior to an almost 20-year research career. She has conducted doctoral studies and research in neuroscience and animal behavior at Emory University, postdoctoral research in human subjects at Grady Hospital and her most recent research on biological factors related to sex for risk increased post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in women. .

Along the way, she has attracted more than $ 620,000 in funding for her research interests, including teaching research to undergraduate students and helping to increase diversity among researchers. She has also published over 20 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Last fall she received her most prestigious scholarship, an R15 university research improvement grant of $ 406,000 over three years from the National Institute of Health to determine why women have such a disproportionate rate of PTSD and other anxiety disorders – nearly twice the rate for men – and the worst treatment outcomes.

“I’ve been concerned about mental health disparities related to gender and race in general for some time,” Glover said. “I started this research to determine if there was a biological mechanism at play in this disparity. When I started looking at the literature, I discovered that there was very little research on the female brain. Even preclinical animal research has been almost exclusively done on male subjects. ”

As she sought to understand the roles of various neurochemicals in modulating fear learning and memory in rats, a pause came when she worked on postdoctoral research at Grady Hospital with a team of neuroscientists from Emory University. They were working to develop a way to translate the startle model to measure the fear response from animals to humans, using stimuli like a blast of air deep in the throat rather than an electric shock. With this translational model, she and her colleagues were able to study risk factors for developing PTSD in a “highly traumatized” clinical sample of patients at Grady Hospital, where she began to view gender as an important biological determinant in PTSD, looking at the impact of hormones like estrogen.

When she joined Kennesaw State faculty in 2014, Glover said she hoped to continue her translational research to study the impact of additional hormones such as progesterone and synthetic hormones found in contraceptives on responses. of fear in women with PTSD. However, a lack of space and access to a dedicated wet lab to analyze hormone levels and other biological markers has put her work on hold.

While the accommodations did not immediately meet his long-term research goals, Glover said the hiatus allowed him to focus on another passion: working with and training undergraduate research students. With funds from the University’s Research Office and the Center of Excellence in Teaching and Learning, she trained students in the collection and compilation of physiological data for studies examining sexual influences in the regulation of emotions. The students worked with Glover to collect the arousal levels of study participants, changes in sweat gland activity, motor responses, startle reflex, and other data.

Additional funding from the Department of Psychology and Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences provided the research equipment and supplies Glover needed to set up a fear-boosted startle research model program in Kennesaw State in 2017, including the creation of an isolation booth behavioral training to perform experimental training and fear conditioning. Through a collaboration with Sharon Pearcey, professor of psychology, and Doreen Wagner, professor of nursing, and the Wellstar School of Nursing, Glover finally achieved a dedicated office and research space to collect physiological data for a pilot program. She also had access to a wet lab at Wellstar College, where she, Wagner and Pearcey were able to analyze and measure biological markers in the brain.

Glover and his research team of collaborating professors and dozens of student researchers collected pilot data from nearly 200 participants over three academic semesters, from fall 2017 to fall 2019. The pilot data was used to support its current NIH grant.

Glover is already considering the potential of fear-motivated surprise research to understand the fear and anxiety response across racial lines and among populations that have traditionally been under-studied.

The implications of this research could be extremely useful in understanding the reactions of white police officers to confrontations with black male suspects and issues related to policing and race, Glover noted. “We just don’t see a lot of studies on this in the neuroscientific literature,” she said. “I have developed tools for an empirical and objective measurement of these unconscious and innate responses.”

Research into areas where there are gender and racial differences and disparities in mental health outcomes and where there are huge gaps in the research literature has been very helpful in attracting students and diversity among students. researchers, Glover noted.

For her, inspiring under-represented groups to pursue scientific careers and focus on issues that disproportionately affect under-represented groups and those with mental health disparities is the holy grail of research.

“It’s not so much the research itself,” she says. “This is impacting budding researchers, empowering them to believe that they can add something to the scientific literature that will help conditions that disproportionately affect women and racial minorities.”

– Sabbaye McGriff

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two Atlanta metro campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the Georgia University System and the second largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant culture, diverse population, strong global ties, and entrepreneurial spirit attract students from across the region and from 126 countries around the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-nominated doctoral (R2) research institute, which places it among an elite group of just 6% of US colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information visit

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Wendiro, the food science research guru


Debora Wendiro loves science, especially agroscience and her home in Seeta, Mukono is a kind of showroom. When we visited him recently, we saw several species of local mushrooms in his garden. She is currently conducting research to see how big she can go with them.

Wendiro, president of the Ugandan Women’s Network in Agricultural Research and Development, is a versatile person whose long scientific journey began in the labor room of Mulago Hospital.

The making

Wendiro was born in 1962 as the sixth of 12 children of Yokasani Bwanga and Magalita Namugaya (both deceased), whose peasant family in Kamuli district depended on small-scale agriculture, selling corn, coffee, beans. , sweet potatoes, among others.

She joined Buwanume Primary School at the age of seven before taking her primary school leaving exams at Kamuli Girls Primary School.

She joined the Sacred Heart Girls School in Gulu; Namasagali College, where she completed her ordinary level in 1979 and completed her advanced level of education in 1984 at Jinja Secondary School.


Wendiro wanted to take a science class at university but missed government sponsorship.

“That’s why I studied a midwifery certificate at Mulago,” she says.

She practiced midwifery at Mulago Hospital and trained midwives from 1989 to 1992, when she resigned after waiting for promotion in vain.

She studied industrial chemistry and biology at Makerere University, a food and nutrition course that would shape her career path for decades to come. She obtained her first degree in 1996.

During this time, she got married but her happiness was short-lived when her husband passed away while their first child, a boy, was still an infant. Wendiro alone would prepare the boy to become a man with a master’s degree in mass communication.

First innovation

Wendiro briefly returned to Mulago Hospital as the Child Health Development Officer, but after six months she again resigned.

She says she worked for a Korean multinational, as a quality controller in the fish processing industry, but in just a month, her protest against the company’s mistreatment of Ugandan workers took its toll. work.

At Makerere University, Michael Amenyi, a Ugandan visiting professor who has taught in Germany and the United States, entrusted him with a research mission on the transformation of wine using a microbiological approach.

She didn’t know where to start, but after reading several voluminous books on the subject, Wendiro used a plastic jerry can to brew his wine with bananas and pineapples.

She discovered that it takes an air lock to allow oxygen to make microorganisms.

The process also involves the application of aerobic fermentation, a metabolic process by which cells compress sugars by fermentation in the presence of oxygen.

Her first innovation would turn into her first freelance job when, in 1997, she started brewing wine, which she named Wendi’s Tropical Fruit Wine.

But after a year, she abandoned the company and joined the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) in 1998 as an Assistant Research Technician in the Department of Microbiology.

At UIRI, Wendiro will become professor of innovations in biological chemistry. She read a lot about brewing beer and wine and found that certain herbal plants can be used to extract yeast during the brewing process.

Soon she was appointed head of microbiology. In 2006, his proposal won him and two others a $ 5 million grant from the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology under the Millennium Science Initiative.

The money helped renovate the institute with laboratory equipment. Later, his department produced another industrial biotechnology for processing industrial biodegradable enzymes from cassava and sweet potato starch.

This is the lab where Wendiro mentored young scientists until his departure last year during the Covid-19 lockdown as part of a restructuring exercise.

One of his innovations with rookie scientists was to extract essential oil from aromatic flowers such as lavender to make liquid and solid cosmetic oil. She says Ms. Olive Kigongo of the National Chamber of Commerce bought the first nine bottles of oil.

“We did this work with a young scientist named Anthony Lutaya who was very attentive to learning and implementing innovations and together we made more than 100 incubates aware of cosmetic innovations,” she recalls. . But most of the participants were women because “I like to promote women”. She is proud to see some of them starting cosmetics businesses in Kampala and another in Arua.

Ment scientists

Wendiro’s second innovation alongside young scientists was processing biodegradable bags from cassava starch and processing lactic acid that can be used by pharmaceutical companies.

They choose the type of lactic acid to process. It can be monotype produced by fermentation like lactic acid in milk.

The second type is isolated lactic acid, which is made using bacteria to form a polymer to process biodegradable products to process non-plastic bags.

“I taught young scientists how to make enzymes from processing sugar from cassava, because importing the enzymes is very expensive,” she says.

Another grant from the International Development Research Center in 2006 took Wendiro and his team of young scientists to villages in Kabale to collect various species of traditional mushrooms and to Arua to interact with groups of women in cassava fermentation.

The women of Arua had a contract to supply cassava flour through the World Food Program (WFP) in Karamoja. She trained three of them in the safe processing and storage of cassava. Today, women get their supplies through WFP.

Meanwhile, research has shown that the traditional mushroom can be grown in-house using modern technology, which it does at home for commercialization.

She grows varieties such as Sitake and Letina Edodes, which she says are tasty and have the potential to bring in a reasonable income.

Others are what is commonly known as the large sheath fungus (Akasukusuku), which is known to be medicinal and prevent cancerous tumors in children and adults.

His inspiration

Wendiro admires Dr Joy Constance Kwesiga, Vice-Chancellor of Kabale University and Miria Matembe, whom she calls very daring women, who fought for women’s rights and made a positive impact in society. But her best role model is her mother, a three-grade dropout, who spoke broken English but was passionate about multitasking, who did everything for the happiness of her family.

Wendiro has held several positions. After being trained as a Fellow in Mombasa with a group of East African women farmers in leadership management, she became the leader of the Ugandan Women’s Network in Agricultural Research and Development.


She is a board member of the Uganda Biotechnology and Biosafety Consortium (UBBC) located at the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology in Ntinda, Kampala.

She also registered her institute of biosciences which operates in Kamuli with the training program for young scientists in the making.

Wendiro says she is a very driven and ambitious researcher who always wants to innovate something and make sure the product is deployed in the market.

“When I see success in an innovative scientific field, I focus and make sure to pursue it to the end. “

He is a person who does not give up easily. “When I joined college via adult entry, fresh young students teased me that ‘this old woman will not succeed’, but by the end of fourth year I became the best in engineering math. and the young students questioned and congratulated me. She remembers.

Advice to women

“People think women are a weaker sex, who can’t handle so many difficult tasks, but that’s not true,” she says as if she is setting herself up as a vivid example. “It’s because the system doesn’t want lucid women. So, for women to compete, they need to be confident. They shouldn’t think that other women can guide them to be successful. Instead, she encourages women to be around men and makes sure it’s the men who can frame them. She says men are confident and assertive in everything they do.

“Men can help women avoid emotions, because another woman will instead discourage her colleague from pursuing a certain thing,” she noted.

On how to get more women to pursue science and embrace innovations, Wendiro advises teachers and lecturers to listen to girls’ aspirations before forcing them to pursue other subjects and combinations.

She was the victim of such a bias: “In high school, I liked science and literature because I loved reading novels. When I reached the advanced level, the teachers forced me to pursue artistic subjects and I failed in Secondary V. I complained to my mother and she asked the school to allow me to continue studying chemistry, biology and physics, but I was given geography as a third subject, which I failed. It’s a lesson for all teachers because they assume girls can’t do math, ”she said.

Change role

She says changing roles comes from ambition. She is also a very confident woman, who generally has authority over her work and at UIRI most men called her “a man” because of her confidence in everything she did.

She has also traveled the world and her breakthrough came when she asked the World Association of Industrial Research Organizations to present an article on scientific innovations in traditional plants in Saskatoon City, Canada.

From that point on, she won a number of scientific grants, including UN Women, after leading an innovation that made an aflatoxin biosensor.

Her second trip was to Indonesia where she presented a similar article at a conference. It was because she had befriended another teacher while in Canada.

Wendiro feels that she has not yet reached her climax. She is pushing forward a program to establish a research and innovation institute in Uganda which she wants to take charge of as that is her area of ​​interest.

For her, this will be the continuity of the industrial biotechnology center that she created at the UIRI.

New arrivals

Some of Wendiro’s innovations with the Rookies involved extracting essential oil from aromatic flowers to make liquid and solid cosmetic oil. Another innovation has been the processing of biodegradable bags from cassava starch and the processing of lactic acid which can be used by pharmaceutical companies. PHOTOS / MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI

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