Ithaca, N.Y. — Today we present our fifth installment of an Ithaca Voice series – this time, highlighting just a handful of the crazy cool things Ithaca College professors are researching, writing, designing, discovering, or (insert here) at any given time.

We have no doctrinal preferences and no academic prejudices. Our sole criteria is that the professor’s work be, as the headline suggests, “crazy cool.” And, no, we don’t have a precise definition of “crazy cool.”

(Got a professor we should highlight? Email jstein@ithacavoice.com.)

Without further ado…


Video sponsored by Ithaca Family Chiropractic


1 – Could slug goo replace stitches?

When you think of a cut that requires medical care, slug slime may not be the first thing that comes to mind— but Ithaca College biology professor Andy Smith hopes that won’t be the case a few years down the road.

Smith. (Courtesy Ithaca College)

Smith, who arrived at IC in 2000, has been researching the slime of the common slug — more specifically the dusky slug or Arion subfuscus — and how it could be used as a medical glue to hold together cuts where stitches would usually be the best course of action.

“Gel like this would make an ideal medical adhesive,” Smith said in a press release.

“It would stick to wet surfaces, and no matter how much the tissue flexed and bent, the gel would flex and bend with it. There would be no leakage or scarring.”

2 – Don’t read, do tell

Researchers from Ithaca College and the University of Florida have discovered that the best way for older adults to retain information is not by rereading it, but to tell others about the information.

Rogalski. (Courtesy Ithaca College)

The study found that, unlike younger adults, older adults are better able to comprehend the general idea of information – while younger adults are better at recalling specific details.

“Older adults can rely on things they’ve learned in the past and they can build on that vast wealth of semantic information that they’ve collected over the years,” said Yvonne Rogalski, assistant professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.

“That works as long as the information is familiar, but where it breaks down is when they have to read something that is unfamiliar and has a lot of details.”

3 – When teaching infants, this may come in handy

An Ithaca College professor in conjunction with UCLA have determined that a mother’s gestures, when teaching their infants new words, are vital for learning.

Rader. (Courtesy Ithaca College)

Ithaca College psychology professor Nancy Rader reports that a mother’s gestures impact the infant’s attention in a way that the infants look at the object as the word is being introduced, resulting in a better understanding of what the word means.

The findings were presented in Berlin, Germany, at a conference sponsored by the International Society on Infant Studies.

4 – Using shellfish nutrient as a performance-enhancer

A study supervised by Ithaca College Exercise and Sport Sciences Chair Thomas Swensen has found that betaine, a nutrient found in shellfish and beets, improves athletic performance by six percent when added to a sports drink.

The study found that just one week of betaine supplementation increased average and peak anaeorobic power by almost 6 percent, compared to “baseline measures in recreationally active college-age men and women,” according to a press release.

To see these results for yourself, just add 2.5 grams of betaine, in either tablet or powder form into a 20-ounce sports drink. Then drink half in the morning and half in the afternoon.

The findings were published in Men’s Health magazine.


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Kyle Friend

A senior at Cornell University, Kyle covers the affordable housing crisis for the Ithaca Voice. Reach him through e-mail: kyleafriend@gmail.com.