Maggie Hays

Writer (special interest: STEM topics), dog lover, Chicago sports fan

Sydney Visits Faraway Family

Sydney is an eight-year-old girl who likes coloring, drawing and playing the violin. While Sydney lives with her parents and brother in Chicago, her grandparents as well as other family members live in Taiwan. In 2012 Sydney was diagnosed with leukemia and she spent the next four years in treatment at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital. While going through treatment Sydney didn’t get to see her family in Taiwan because she was unable to travel and her family members were also not able to come to Chicago.

BTN LiveBIG: Ohio State’s build-a-brain lab

With apologies to Dr. Frankenstein, it seems there’s someone at The Ohio State University who might deserve the title “Modern Prometheus.” Biological chemistry and pharmacology professor Rene Anand claims to have grown the most complete human brain in the world to date, one that is roughly as mature as that of a five-week-old fetus. The lab-grown organ is the size of a pencil eraser and contains 99 percent of the genes found in a standard human brain, Anand said. It contains a spinal cord, all major regions of the brain and even a retina. The main thing that’s still missing is a vascular system. - See more at: http://btn.com/2015/09/13/btn-livebig-ohio-states-build-a-brain-lab/#sthash.MjdZitsf.dpuf

BTN LiveBIG: University of Illinois finds fit bodies equal fit brains

If movies like “Revenge of the Nerds” are to be believed, one of the things that has long separated the brainy from the brawny is the latter’s participation in sports and other regular physical activity. While there may be some truth to that stereotype, professors at the University of Illinois recently found that 9- and 10-year-olds who have good cardiorespiratory health — usually the product of regular exercise — tend to have “thinner” grey matter in their brains than their less-fit counterpar

BTN LiveBIG: From the gridiron to the boardroom, a former Illini football player leads and serves

As a defensive lineman for the Fighting Illini, Kambium “Kam” Buckner had plenty of memorable moments. Upsetting then-No. 1 Ohio State in Columbus in November 2007. Playing in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day of 2008. But the game that sticks out most in his mind came two seasons prior, at Illinois’ home opener against a Rutgers team that was stacked with talented players — Jason McCourty and Ray Rice, to name a couple. Despite the fact that the Scarlet Knights were favored, Buckner and his teammates fought hard and pulled out a 33-30 overtime win in Memorial Stadium. - See more at: http://btn.com/2015/08/17/btn-livebig-from-the-gridiron-to-boardroom-a-former-illini-football-player-leads-and-serves/#sthash.irQIKnWe.dpuf

BTN LiveBIG: For Indiana researcher, math reveals 'devils' in the details

Anyone who’s commuted in traffic in a major U.S. city or tried to get their children out the door for school can claim to have some familiarity with the concept of “controlled chaos.” Simply put, this phrase refers to the often random, unpredictable interactions and events that can hinder or even halt complex, critical systems. Indiana University professor and researcher Filippo Radicchi recently devised a mathematical framework to analyze these scenarios. His approach is designed to improve the resilience of intricate systems such as air traffic control networks and power grids by figuring out how they might break down before they actually do. - See more at: http://btn.com/2015/07/27/btn-livebtn-for-indiana-researcher-math-reveals-devils-in-the-details/#sthash.lxlgktuX.dpuf

BTN LiveBIG: Ohio State alumna puts 'heart' into medical research

It’s perhaps a bit premature to say that this Ohio State graduate should be mentioned in the same breath as those giants of medical science. But the work she’s doing with stem-cell therapies just might end up having an impact on the same scale. Comella currently serves as chief scientific officer at Bioheart Inc., which is focused on discovering and developing stem-cell therapies for the treatment of degenerative diseases. During the past several years, she’s been instrumental in expanding the company’s concentration from cardiovascular diseases to a range of different ailments. - See more at: http://btn.com/2015/07/13/btn-livebig-ohio-state-alumna-puts-heart-into-medical-research/#sthash.ZeVe6izM.dpuf

BTN LiveBIG: Northwestern researchers discover new 'starvation diet' for HIV

Thanks to advances in treatment, HIV and AIDS don’t instill the same dread that they did in the 1980s and early 1990s, when those diseases were largely misunderstood and spreading rapidly. But they’ve hardly gone away: Today, more than 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. And with the pace of new infections continuing at a rapid clip here and throughout other parts of the world, it’s as important as ever to find a way to knock HIV out cold. Fortunately, Northwestern University researchers are in the early stages of creating a new treatment for the virus that would cut it off from its biggest “food” source — sugar. - See more at: http://btn.com/2015/06/19/btn-livebig-northwestern-researchers-discover-new-starvation-diet-for-hiv/#sthash.IyK1LjF8.dpuf

BTN LiveBIG: Minnesota researcher receives the school's first 'bioprinter'

Dr. Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Minnesota, recently received the gift of a lifetime — a new bioprinter, one of 20 worldwide distributed by a company called BioBots. “I was just ecstatic because I had been wanting one for years,” she said. What, exactly, is a bioprinter, and why is she so excited about it? Essentially, this machine — which is still in the experimental phase — allows her to explore the potential of one day being able to “print out” spare body parts such as ears or muscle fibers (and possibly complex organs like lungs or livers) for transplants. - See more at: http://btn.com/2015/06/11/btn-livebig-minnesota-researcher-receives-the-schools-first-bioprinter/#sthash.IUJT82v3.dpuf
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