Stories by Kristen Thometz

Northwestern Scientists Discover Molecules Capable of Killing Cancer

“Our research may be tapping into one of nature’s original kill switches, and we hope the impact will affect many cancers,” said Northwestern scientist Marcus Peter. “Our findings could be disruptive.”

‘Past the Naked Eye’ Captures Science, Fine Art

(Kalyee Costello)

“I’d like more people to be interested in science,” said Chicago student photographer Kaylee Costello. “These images will hopefully grab their attention, so they also know there is art within science.”

Northwestern Opens Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause

(Credit: Northwestern Medicine)

A first-of-its-kind center brings together physicians, advanced practice nurses, certified sex therapists and pelvic floor therapists to address two often unmet areas of women’s health care.

‘Me Too’ Campaign Empowers Sexual Assault Survivors to Raise Voices

“There’s a whole lot of women out there, likely millions of women, who were affected and now they have the opportunity to raise their voice and talk about it,” said Kristie Paskvan, founder of Chicago Says No More.

UIC Creates Health Equity Research Center

The University of Illinois at Chicago campus in 2012 (University of Illinois at Chicago / Facebook)

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago will investigate how social determinants like poverty and living in a food desert contribute to the health of marginalized groups. 

Healing Heels Strives to Empower, Support Women Battling Cancer

(Amanda Miller)

One woman’s “chemo shoes” inspired two friends to create a Chicago-based shoe and apparel company designed to empower women battling cancer.

Exhibit Reveals ‘Undefinable’ Nature of Women’s Health in America

“Is It Mine” by Caren Helene Rudman (Courtesy of Caren Helene Rudman)

With the national spotlight on issues surrounding women’s health, a newly opened exhibit explores how a woman’s body is connected with health and wellness.  

Women’s March on Chicago Organizers Planning January 2018 Rally

(Maya Miller / Chicago Tonight)

Organizers of the Women’s March on Chicago, which drew 250,000 people downtown in January, will mark the one-year anniversary of the event with another march and rally designed to engage and empower voters.

Study: Soot on Birds Tracks Decades of Urban Air Pollution

Red-headed woodpeckers collected near the Des Plaines River in Cook County, Ill., in 1901 (top) and in Braidwood, Ill., in 1982 (bottom). (Courtesy of Carl Fuldner and Shane DuBay)

Researchers analyzed 1,000 birds collected over the last 135 years by the Field Museum and other institutions to track the amount of soot in the air of Rust Belt cities. 

University of Chicago’s Richard Thaler Wins Nobel Prize in Economics

Richard Thaler (Courtesy of University of Chicago)

Considered one of the founding fathers of behavioral economics, a field that bridges the gap between economics and psychology, Richard Thaler is known for illustrating how human behavior often contradicts traditional economic logic.

‘Gentle Mentals’ Takes Playful, Humorous Approach to Mental Illness

(Courtesy of Veronica Padilla)

With mental illness affecting 1 in 5 people, Chicagoan Veronica Padilla hopes addressing the topic in a playful manner will make it more accessible. “Humor can be very therapeutic. Humor has gotten me out of so many binds in my life when things got heavy,” she said.

3 Chicago Hospitals Team Up to Study Emergency Care

(Credit: Northwestern Medicine)

The University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the University of Chicago Medicine will join forces to conduct clinical trials designed to improve outcomes for patients with life-threatening emergencies as part of a newly formed national network. 

Losing Sense of Smell Puts Elderly at Risk of Dementia, Study Finds

Is there a connection between losing the ability to smell and a greater risk of dementia? A co-author of a new University of Chicago study says it “may be an important early sign.” 

Study: Low Incomes Linked to Inflammation, Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes

Low-income pregnant women are more likely than their wealthy counterparts to experience chronic placental inflammation, which is linked to preterm birth and low birth weight, a new study finds. 

Chicago Joins ‘Getting to Zero’ Initiative Aimed at Eliminating HIV

Can Illinois stop the spread of HIV infections? A statewide initiative aims to do just that. “We have a real chance of stopping the spread of HIV once and for all,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

Local Researchers Make 3-D ‘Tissue Chip’ of Female Reproductive System

EVATAR is a female reproductive tract that fits in the palm of one’s hand. Each divided compartment within the cube contains a 3-D model of a different part of the reproductive tract, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina and liver. The blue fluid pumps through each compartment and performs the function of blood. (Courtesy of Northwestern Medicine)

A miniature female reproductive system will help researchers better understand the cause of polycystic ovary syndrome, and advance the development of drugs to treat the disease.

UIC Researchers Create Voice-Enabled Coach to Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Meet DiaBetty, the voice-enabled diabetes coach and educator developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago to help newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes patients manage the condition.

Hugh Hefner, Playboy Founder and Chicago Native, Dies at 91

Hugh Hefner (Elayne Lodge / Playboy)

Some call him a progressive publisher. Others, lewd. But late Playboy founder Hugh Hefner was undeniably successful at building his brand. We take a look at his legacy.

2 Chicago Universities Announce New Environmental Health Center

Researchers from the University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago will join forces to study the health effects of pollution on local residents, thanks to a $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Rauner Vetoes Geolocation Privacy Protection Act

The governor said a bill requiring mobile apps to seek users’ permission before collecting and sharing their geolocation data would cost the state jobs without “materially” improving privacy protections.

NFL Players Kneel, Lock Arms in Unity During National Anthem

| Alexandra Silets
(Photo credit: NFL)

If you tuned in to watch any NFL game Sunday, you saw nearly all the football players in the league—and even some owners—join in a silent protest during the national anthem. Sports columnist Rick Telander weighs in on the controversy.

#BackOffColonCancer Doctor Urges Colon Cancer Screening

Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center gastroenterologist Dr. Andrew Albert rides home wearing a sign urging people to be screened for colon cancer after one of his patients died and another who had never had a colonoscopy was found to have a tumor. (Courtesy of Dr. Andrew Albert)

After losing a patient to colon cancer, a local doctor strapped a sign to his back urging people to get screened for the disease. The reaction to his unusual move was instant – and widespread.

Study: Vessels that Spread Cancer Can Also Boost Immunotherapy

A lymphatic vessel (green) inside a Braf-driven primary mouse melanoma tumor. (Manuel Fankhauser and Maria Broggi / EPFL)

University of Chicago researchers have discovered that lymphatic vessels, which are often blamed for enabling cancer to spread, can also boost a type of cancer treatment. 

Chicago Actors Use Talents to Support Groups Threatened Under Trump

Donica Lynn performs at the Chicago Actors’ Call to Action’s May event. (Ingrid Bonne)

Actors take action by taking the stage once a month to raise money for organizations that could lose funding under the Trump administration. Meet the program’s founder and find out what’s on tap in September.

Research Institutions Must Post Animal Adoption Policies Under New Law

Beagles are the most commonly used dog breed in research because of their docile nature and inherent trust of humans, according to the animal advocacy group the Beagle Freedom Project.

Universities and other publicly funded institutions will soon be required to make “reasonable efforts” to get research dogs and cats adopted once they are no longer needed.