News » Archives » January 2016

Giant gas cloud boomeranging back into Milky Way

Author: Gene Stowe

This graphic shows the location of the Smith Cloud as seen from Earth, if it were visible

Since astronomers discovered the Smith Cloud, a giant gas cloud plummeting toward the Milky Way, they have been unable to determine its composition, which would hold clues as to its origin. University of Notre Dame astrophysicist Nicolas Lehner and his collaborators have now determined that the cloud contains elements similar to our sun, which means the cloud originated in the Milky Way’s outer edges and not in intergalactic space as some have speculated.


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New avenues found for treatment of pathogen behind diseases including fasciitis, toxic shock syndrome

Author: William G. Gilroy

Scanning electron micrograph of red blood cell hemolysis by the Streptolysin S producing Group A Streptococcus. Credit: Shaun Lee, Dustin Higashi

One bacterial pathogen is responsible for a range of diseases, from pharyngitis and impetigo to more severe diagnoses such as toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating disease), a serious bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body’s soft tissue. The pathogen, known as Group A Streptococcus, remains a global health burden with an estimated 700 million cases reported annually, and more than half a million deaths due to severe infections.

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Mosquitos capable of carrying Zika virus found in Washington, D.C.

Author: Sarah Craig and Brittany Collins


On Monday (Jan. 25), the World Health Organization announced that Zika virus, a mosquito-borne illness that in the past year has swept quickly throughout equatorial countries, is expected to spread across the Americas and into the United States.

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From Science Labs to DPAC Stages: Opportunities for Scholarly Engagement Are Everywhere at ND

Author: Kathleen Schuler

Dominic Acri2

Dominic Acri is a sophomore taking full advantage of all that Notre Dame has to offer. He has a double major in Neuroscience & Behavior and Film, Television, and Theatre. He is a member of the Balfour-Hesburgh Scholars Program. He is a Writing Center tutor. He is a Student Intern on the Multicultural Student Programs and Services team. He works in the lab of Dr. Giles Duffield. And those are only the things he has done since he arrived on campus.

Dominic’s first exposure to Notre Dame came even earlier, however, after his junior year in high school.

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Physicists offer theories to explain mysterious collision at Large Hadron Collider

Author: Gene Stowe

Image from CERN of the CMS detector illustrates one of the proton collisions that may have produced a mysterious particle

Physicists around the world were puzzled recently when an unusual bump appeared in the signal of the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, causing them to wonder if it was a new particle previously unknown, or perhaps even two new particles. The collision cannot be explained by the Standard Model, the theoretical foundation of particle physics.

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Spider web research shows promise for noninvasive genetic sampling

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Charles Xu

When he was a student at Notre Dame, alumnus Charles Cong Yang Xu, ND '14 found a novel and promising source of noninvasive spider and insect DNA by extracting the DNA from spider webs. 
Using web samples from black widow spiders fed with crickets, Xu and his collaborators at the University of Notre Dame have successfully used DNA samples to identify both the spider and the species of its prey. Such noninvasive sampling to obtain genetic information could have practical implications in several fields including conservation research and pest management. Their paper titled, “Spider web DNA: a new spin on noninvasive genetics of predator and prey” has been recently published in PLOS ONE. 

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