contents | summer 2015

Modern family

Age-old traditions are fading on the savannah. For the Maasai, the cell phone helps protect herds and villages and, like national parks, is an agent of change.

Crafting a new market

This isn’t just cattle feed. Brewers’ leftovers may reap environmentally friendly capsules, coatings, and food additives.

A room with a virtual view

Maybe you can imagine homes that are built like cars and are as intuitive and advanced as smartphones. If you can’t imagine it, take a look at the FutureHAUS, conceived by Virginia Tech faculty and students.

The genetic tsunami

An international genomics expert discusses personalized medicine, science in the cinema, and four questions people should ask before deeply peering into their own DNA.

The change agent

Apple and Amazon got started in the great American garage. Virginia Tech has garage-to-greatness stories, too, this one featuring Tracy Wilkins during an early stop on his way toward the Virginia Tech Faculty Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

Scientists discover secrets of how continents formed

The discovery provides new unerstanding about the formation of the Earth's continental crust.

Once smitten

Bats’ uncanny abilities capture the imaginations of researchers trying to learn from their supersensory powers.

Sharing genes

Parasitic plants infect hosts with messenger RNA in previously unknown communication.

Unmanned aircraft flies energy pipeline route to test technology

The flight was a step toward making aerial inspections of energy pipelines safer and more economical.

Short items on these topics:

• Researcher shines light on origin of bioluminesence

• Beliefs can be just as powerful as nicotine

• Scientists turbocharge genome-editing tool

• New study focuses on truck driver safety, fatigue



About the cover: Like people everywhere, the Maasai are adjusting to and in some ways shaping the modern world. Some individuals long for the past while others pine for the future. That tension between new and old ways is strongly affecting the ways the people relate, solve problems, and adjust to the environment.

Editor: John Pastor

Art Director: David Stanley '95

Senior Editor: Richard Lovegrove

Copy Editors:Eleanor Nelsen, Kathy Acosta

Editor Emeritus: Susan Trulove

Contributors: Zeke Barlow, Paula Byron, Lynn Davis, Jean Elliott, April Frawley, Lindsay Key, Steven MacKay, Lynn Nystrom, Helen Thompson, Susan Trulove, Ashley WennersHerron

Photography: Michael Kiernan, Jim Stroup, Logan Wallace, John Pastor, Tim Baird

Graphic Designer for online version: Kathy Acosta

Virginia Tech Research is a publication of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation; Dennis Dean, Interim Vice President for Research and Innovation; Beth Tranter, Associate Vice President for Research Planning

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