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It was bedlam at mission control when the first images of Pluto came down over the Deep Space Network. Not only were there few craters, but some areas of the planet were smooth as a billiard ball and others rumpled and rippled; some stained the color of dried blood and others gleaming bright white. The variety meant that there was geology on Pluto, alien though the geological processes might be to earthlings.MORE
The Pew Charitable Trusts have named two early-career faculty members at Washington University in St. Louis among their Pew scholars in the biomedical sciences. They are Qin Liu, PhD, of the School of Medicine, and Gary J. Patti, PhD, of Arts & Sciences.MORE
Scientists attending a workshop at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory  slipped the leash of scientific caution and tried to imagine what they would do if they could redesign plants at will. The ideas they dreamed up may make the difference between full bellies and empty ones in the near future when population may outrun the ability of traditional plant breeding to increase yields.
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Jianmin Cui, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, is taking an innovative approach to finding new drug candidates to treat Long QT syndrome with a four-year, $3.1 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

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The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded David Fike, PhD, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences, $2.7 million to adapt a powerful chemical microscope called the 7F-GEO SIMS for biological samples. The updated instrument's ability to map the chemistry inside cells will boost research on microbes that are promising candidates for biofuel or bioenergy production. MORE
As floodwaters surge along major rivers in the midwestern United States, a new study from Washington University in St. Louis suggests federal agencies are underestimating historic 100-year flood levels on these rivers by as much as five feet, a miscalculation that has serious implications for future flood risks, flood insurance and business development in an expanding floodplain.MORE
New Horizons will fly through the Pluto system on July 14 at an angle of 46 degrees to the plane of the dwarf planet’s orbit, then turn to use sunlight reflected from Charon, Pluto's biggest moon, to image areas of Pluto now in continuous darkness. Your host for the WashU Pluto watching party will be Bill McKinnon, a planetary scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, who will be commenting from mission headquarters at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland.
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