The "plant destroyer" Phytophthora is decimating California oaks and threatening soybean crops. It turns out it is also implicated in human respiratory diseases. Virginia Bioinformatics Institute researchers have discovered how pathogen proteins enter the cells of plants and animals. The research is the lead story of the "Virginia Tech Research" winter 2010 magazine.

The cover story is from the social sciences. An oral history project by an undergraduate honors student of the tiny African American community of Wake Forest, Va., brought out the importance of religion and song to the community.

Other topics covered include:

  • Populism and youth power in Iran. Iran's youth, one-third of the population, is educated but jobless. This summer's contested election ignited the impatience of youth with traditional social rules and roles, especially for women.
  • How states' investment in research that solves pressing social problems, such as climate change, helps local economies.
  • How technology developed for national is being developed as a diagnostic tool for cancer.
  • How Southern forests went from cutover and ugly to productive and beautiful.
  • How consumers could help even demand for electricity if they knew when to shift their electric use.
  • And, in continuing recognition of the anniversary of Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species, the magazine reports on evidence uncovered by Virginia Tech faculty members and students that animals existed even earlier than thought.


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