VA's DNA Testing & Notification Project

Sep 23, 2014

Modern DNA testing of biological evidence left in files decades ago by a now-deceased Virginia scientist has exonerated 11 individuals who had been convicted of felonies.  At the direction of the General Assembly, the State Crime Commission has been trying to track down and notify 975 convicted suspects of their more recent test results.

Although the DNA testing and notification project has been ongoing for more than a decade, the project is still not finished.

A research team at the University of Virginia reports possible progress in fighting ovarian, breast, uterine, renal, head and neck and pancreatic cancers, and if you’re a taxpayer in Virginia, you’re an investor. 

Dr. John Herr is a specialist in human reproduction, and he’s identified a specific protein on the surface of mature human eggs.  Search other places in the bodies of men and women, and you won’t find that protein – unless the individuals in question have cancer.  Herr and Dr. Eusebio Pires report the protein, called SAS1B, shows up on many different tumors:

The automobile has shaped American culture for more than a hundred years. So how will the coming, so called, driverless cars change us?  Or how will we change them? 

There are many questions about how this new mode of transportation would work. Some of them echo questions of an earlier age, the last time we made a transition in personal transportation.  

The 1942 film, “The Magnificent Ambersons” directed by Orson Wells is set in the early 20th century when the new horseless carriage was about to replace the horse as a mode of transit.

Adam Gopnik Speaks on Science & the Humanities

Sep 4, 2014

It’s no secret that being a Tech ‘nerd’ is the hot thing now.  Schools like Virginia Tech have been at that for a long time.  But Tech has long been working to connect the study of science with the humanities and break down the barriers between the two disciplines.

The ensemble called “Junk DNA,” is made up of a couple of arts professors with a technical side and a sense of humor. They know how to take two seemingly disparate things and blend them together to make something interesting.


Aug 26, 2014

Analyzing water is a complicated business.  It can contain any number of pollutants and require a variety of regulations to clean it up, but the state of Virginia is using a simpler approach – letting nature determine water quality, and asking citizens to help.

On a sunny weekday afternoon, four people arrive at a one-lane bridge northeast of Charlottesville, unpacking a car loaded with mysterious gear – nets, gloves and waders, a table and chairs.  They could easily be mistaken for picnickers.  In fact, they’re on a more serious mission.