News and Events

Grand design spiral galaxy Messier 99 looks majestic on a truly cosmic scale. This recently processed full galaxy portrait stretches over 70,000 light-years across M99. The sharp view is a combination of ultraviolet, visible, and infrared image data from the Hubble Space Telescope. About 50 million light-years distant toward the well-groomed constellation Coma Bernices, the face-on spiral is a member of the nearby Virgo Galaxy Cluster. Also cataloged as NGC 4254, a close encounter with another Virgo cluster member has likely influenced the shape of its well-defined, blue spiral arms.
Check current conditions and historical weather data at the ESC.
Thanking our retireed colleagues and welcoming new ones
Physics professor Ben Frandsen recently received an Early Career Award from the United States Department of Energy
Transtrum received a BYU Early Career Scholarship Award.

Selected Publications

BYU Authors: Jessica Fife, Britta L Murphy, Dennis Della Corte, and James D LeCheminant, published in Nutr. Rev.

Objective

To provide a systematic overview of world dietary sugar and sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intake trends in children and adolescents.

Data Sources

Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials in the Cochrane Library were searched through January 2019 to identify longitudinal follow-up studies with time-trend data and repeated cross-sectional studies.

Data Extraction

Data from studies reporting ≥ 2 measurements (sugars, SSB, or sweets/candy) over ≥ 2 years and included ≥ 20 healthy, normal- or overweight children or adolescents aged 1–19 years.

Data Analysis

Data from 43 articles (n = 4 prospective cohort studies; n = 39 repeated cross-sectional studies) from 15 countries (n = 8 European countries plus Australia, Canada, China, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, and the United States) are presented narratively. According to the risk of bias in nonrandomized studies of interventions tool, 34 studies were judged to have a moderate risk of bias, and 5 to have a serious risk of bias.

Conclusions

Consumption among US children and adolescents increased substantially in the decades preceding 2000, followed by a faster and continued decline. As a whole, other international intake trends did not reveal drastic increases and decreases in SSB and dietary sugars; they tended to change only slightly across 3 decades.

BYU Authors: Dennis Della Corte and Connor J. Morris, published in Nat. Commun.

Cell factories converting bio-based precursors to chemicals present an attractive avenue to a sustainable economy, yet screening of genetically diverse strain libraries to identify the best-performing whole-cell biocatalysts is a low-throughput endeavor. For this reason, transcriptional biosensors attract attention as they allow the screening of vast libraries when used in combination with fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). However, broad ligand specificity of transcriptional regulators (TRs) often prohibits the development of such ultra-high-throughput screens. Here, we solve the structure of the TR LysG of Corynebacterium glutamicum, which detects all three basic amino acids. Based on this information, we follow a semi-rational engineering approach using a FACS-based screening/counterscreening strategy to generate an l-lysine insensitive LysG-based biosensor. This biosensor can be used to isolate l-histidine-producing strains by FACS, showing that TR engineering towards a more focused ligand spectrum can expand the scope of application of such metabolite sensors.

BYU Authors: Brooks A. Butler, Katrina Pedersen, Kent L. Gee, and Mark K. Transtrum, published in Proc. Meet. Acoust.

Outdoor ambient acoustical environments may be predicted through machine learning using geospatial features as inputs. However, collecting sufficient training data is an expensive process, particularly when attempting to improve the accuracy of models based on supervised learning methods over large, geospatially diverse regions. Unsupervised machine learning methods, such as K-Means clustering analysis, enable a statistical comparison between the geospatial diversity represented in the current training dataset versus the predictor locations. In this case, 117 geospatial features that represent the contiguous United States have been clustered using K-Means clustering. Results show that most geospatial clusters group themselves according to a relatively small number of prominent geospatial features. It is shown that the available acoustic training dataset has a relatively low geospatial diversity because most training data sites reside in a few clusters. This analysis informs the selection of new site locations for data collection that improve the statistical similarity of the training and input datasets.