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The ability to express empathy -- the capacity to share and feel another’s emotions -- is limited by the stress of being around strangers, according to a new study published today in the journal Current Biology.
Chemical analysis of some of the world’s oldest rocks, by an international team led by McGill University researchers, has provided the earliest record yet of Earth's atmosphere. The results show that the air 4 billion years ago was very similar to that more than a billion years later, when the atmosphere -- though it likely would have been lethal to oxygen-dependent humans -- supported a thriving microbial biosphere that ultimately gave rise to the diversity of life on Earth today.
Making sure school-aged kids get to sleep at a regular hour is often a struggle for parents. But a study by researchers at McGill University and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal suggests it’s well worth the effort: the researchers found that a good night’s sleep is linked to better performance in math and languages – subjects that are powerful predictors of later learning and academic success.
During the 20th century, urban transportation planning in North America was mainly concerned with easing traffic congestion, improving safety and saving time for motorists. These days, most cities’ transportation plans evoke a more complex blend of environmental, economic, and social-equity goals – all aimed at promoting “sustainability.” Yet, many fail to include meaningful measurements of social-equity objectives, such as helping disadvantaged neighborhoods access essential services, according to researchers at McGill University.
When dams are built they have an impact not only on the flow of water in the river, but also on the people who live downstream and on the surrounding ecosystems. By placing data from close to 6,500 existing large dams on a highly precise map of the world’s rivers, an international team led by McGill University researchers has created a new method to estimate the global impacts of dams on river flow and fragmentation.
To address these questions, Dr. Fabian Leendertz of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin assembled a large international interdisciplinary team consisting of virologists, veterinarians, ecologists, epidemiologists and an anthropologist. One member was Jan Gogarten, a doctoral student in Biology and Vanier graduate scholar at McGill. We spoke with Gogarten about the resulting study, published this week in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, and his role in it.
The distinctive “fecal prints” of microbes potentially provide a record of how Earth and life have co-evolved over the past 3.5 billion years as the planet’s temperature, oxygen levels, and greenhouse gases have changed. But, despite more than 60 years of study, it has proved difficult, until now, to “read” much of the information contained in this record. Research from McGill University and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), sheds light on the mysterious digestive processes of microbes, opening the way towards a better understanding of how life and the planet have changed over time.