Science & Tech

Improving ability to track mobile tumours in real time could lead to safer and possibly automated radiation therapy, radiologists say.

22
July
2020

A cross-faculty team of University of Alberta researchers has developed a faster way of tracking the movement of tumours in the body during radiation therapy, which could significantly improve outcomes for cancer patients.

“When a patient is getting radiation treatment, for example on the lungs, the tumour might be moving because of the patient’s breathing,” said Michelle Noga, a U of A radiologist who also works at MIC Medical Imaging and is the study’s co-author.

“We normally have to radiate a bigger area than the actual tumour to account for that movement. So the idea is that if you could track their breathing and adjust the beam to match that, you wouldn't have to radiate such a big area and potentially damage healthy tissue.”

The team’s work builds on the Linac-MR project, a radiation beam (linear accelerator or “linac”) ...

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31
July
2020
| 06:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Research reveals why it’s hard to get the smell out of polyester

Odour-causing chemicals build up in fibres over time and stubbornly resist washing out, U of A researchers find.

Why does that favourite shirt, the one you’ve been wearing around the house since COVID-19 started, still stink, even after regular washing? Chances are it contains polyester, which means that
29
July
2020
| 06:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Improving energy efficiency, reducing emissions would save money for oilsands producers: study

Researchers looked at 15 strategies that would decrease sector’s energy use intensity, thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and found increased profits from all of them.

Investment in new energy-efficient, greenhouse gas mitigation strategies by oilsands producers could net them some important profits, according to a model developed by a research group at the
27
July
2020
| 11:34 America/Tegucigalpa

Researchers complete first-ever chromosomal-level genome sequencing of a freshwater sponge

New study provides insights into how common sponge has evolved over millions of years—and could lead to new genetic tools to improve freshwater quality and human health.

Scientists have completed the first chromosomal-level genome sequence for a freshwater sponge—offering insight into how the sponge has evolved over 600 to 800 million years, and possibly leading to
27
July
2020
| 06:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Eight things you need to know about the worldwide hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine

University of Alberta experts share their knowledge, hopes and fears about the chances of finding a way to inoculate the world against the deadly pandemic virus.

With more than 100 teams around the world racing to find a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, including three at the University of Alberta, what are the chances of getting something that works? The World
23
July
2020
| 09:45 America/Tegucigalpa

Scientists build machine learning model for detecting early signs of depression in text

Computer algorithm that identifies linguistic clues could help health professionals diagnose and treat depression sooner.

A new machine learning model can detect early signs of depression in written text like Twitter posts, according to a study by University of Alberta computing scientists. “The outcome of our study
23
July
2020
| 05:50 America/Tegucigalpa

Students develop online tool to predict COVID-19 spread based on demographics

Interactive tool created for hackathon uses data on age, poverty, income and population density to show how many cases and deaths are likely in a region.

A University of Alberta neuroscience student and his University of Calgary colleagues have developed an online tool that predicts how the demographics of a region will affect the spread of COVID-19,
22
July
2020
| 09:00 America/Tegucigalpa

U of A physicists develop technology to transform information from microwaves to optical light

New tool has potential to translate data from quantum computers to ultra-secure quantum communications channels.

Physicists at the University of Alberta have developed technology that can translate data from microwaves to optical light—an advance that has promising applications in the next generation of
21
July
2020
| 09:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Snowshoe hare carcasses feed more than usual predator suspects, study shows

Scientists document 24 species scavenging hare carcasses in the Yukon—including animals like squirrels, chipmunks and even other hares.

Snowshoe hare carcasses may provide a vital food source for a wide variety of species in Canada’s boreal forest—including lynx, ravens, flying squirrels and even other hares, according to a new study
21
July
2020
| 06:00 America/Tegucigalpa

COVID-19 may spread more than two metres through the air in some indoor areas, say experts

Recent evidence no cause for panic, says U of A infectious disease specialist.

For those worried about the airborne transmission of coronavirus, University of Alberta infectious disease expert Nelson Lee wants to be clear—don’t panic. “We're not talking about long-range
16
July
2020
| 09:37 America/Tegucigalpa

Pine beetles successful no matter how far they roam—with devastating effects

New U of A research suggests beetle infestation in Canada will continue to spread eastward despite thinner tree stands.

Whether they travel only a few metres or tens of kilometres to a new host tree, female pine beetles use different strategies to find success—with major negative consequences for pine trees, according
15
July
2020
| 09:51 America/Tegucigalpa

Scientists identify new species of sea sponge off coast of British Columbia

Newly discovered and abundant sea sponge may have significant influence on reef ecosystems, say marine biologists.

A University of Alberta research team discovered a new sea sponge off the coast of British Columbia that could play a major role in the overall health of delicate reef ecosystems in the area. The