Mainstaiing a bit social distance due to COVID-19, researchers David O'Connor, left, and Tom Friedrich are pictured in a lab at the AIDS Vaccine Research Laboratory (AVRL) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on March 18, 2020. O'Connor is UW Medical Foundation Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the School of Medicine and Public Health. Friedrich is professor of pathobiological sciences in the School of Veterinary Medicine. Both are experts on the evolution and emergence of HIV (AIDS), SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), influenza, Zika and other viruses. (Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison)

UW–Madison Researches Coronavirus Transmission

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Preliminary data from a UW–Madison research team suggests that travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines are working in Wisconsin. That was just one of the insights on COVID-19 from UW–Madison expert Thomas Friedrich, professor of …


Common Chemical Linked to Rare Birth Defect in Mice

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A chemical commonly used in consumer and agricultural products to boost the effectiveness of insecticides has been linked to a rare birth defect in mice. The chemical, piperonyl butoxide or PBO for short, is widely used as a “synergist” in household and agricultural insecticides to make the toxic effects of the insecticide longer lasting and to reduce the amount of actual insecticide in a product.
Despite its widespread and growing use, as well as its ubiquity in the environment, the chemical has been little studied. Now, a team led by Robert Lipinski, a professor of comparative biosciences in the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine, reports that PBO interferes with the critical signaling pathway dubbed by scientists as sonic hedgehog, resulting in stunted forebrain development and signature facial abnormalities. The study is published this week (Oct. 23, 2019) in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.