David Lukofsky

The Environmental Protection Agency approved a new type of genetically modified corn this month called SmartStax'. The new corn - from Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences - was genetically engineered to include eight new genes in its genome. Six genes to produce pesticide, two genes to resist herbicide.

It's the first time the EPA approves an eight-gene corn. In the past, the EPA approved genetically modified corn with only two extra genes, three at most.

It all began when a handful of people came down with a strange form of pneumonia in 1981. These people died - but the AIDS virus lived on. Today HIV/AIDS infects 35 million people worldwide.

Approximately 1000 new cases of HIV/AIDS are diagnosed in Ohio every year. That number has remained stable for some time -- but increasingly more young people are becoming infected with the virus.

In 2007, about 20% of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Ohio were younger than 24 years old. That's a 60% increase from the 2003 number.

Fresh Vegetables for Everyone

Aug 6, 2009

[BITE: Sound of shoppers] Each Thursday for three weeks farmers from across the region convened on the front lawn of the Columbus Public Health building. Medical Director of Columbus Public Health Dr. LeMaile-Williams anticipates a big turn out.

"Last year we had over 11,000 people visit our farmers markets over the three Thursdays. This year we anticipate even more," says LeMaile-Williams.

It appears she's right. Last Thursday's market was packed.

For lots of people summer camp means sitting around a campfire and roasting marshmallows. But there was a different type of camp happening at St. Stephen's Community House this summer.

Battelle donated 1 million dollars to the National Society of Black Engineers for SEEK camp: The Summer Engineering Experience for Kids. Executive Director of the National Society of Black Engineers Carl Mack says the camp started three years ago.

Going Solar in Central Ohio

Jul 29, 2009

Al Debalak had 18 solar panels installed on his Berwick Drive home in Columbus. He was stunned when he saw what happened to his electricity meter. "Oh my Gosh! It's going in the opposite direction!" says Debalak.

The electricity meter spins in reverse when the solar panels produce more electricity than the household needs. Debalak says his monthly electric bill fell by 70% since he had the solar panels installed.

"We're impressed. We're very impressed," says Debalak.

A trip to the bathroom usually sounds like this. [BITE: Sound of toilet flush]. But a study from Ohio University suggests it might soon sound like this [BITE: Sound of car starting]. Professor Gerry Botte discovered a method to convert urea - the main component of urine - into hydrogen fuel. "We are machines making fuels basically," says Botte. The method is known as urea-electrolysis. Botte says she could produce hydrogen fuel by dipping two nickel electrodes into urine and applying an electric current across them.

Is Clean Coal the Solution?

Jul 21, 2009

It seems like the ideal solution to the climate change problem keep burning coal, but do it without sending millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

That's the "Clean Coal" solution. But it's a controversial idea.


At Ohio State University researchers are trying to figure out if there is such as clean burning coal. It's run by chemical engineering professor Liang-Shih Fan. A student in the lab, Shwetha Ramkumar, is testing a method to capture carbon dioxide with calcium.

Ohio's unemployment rate is growing with 40,000 of Ohio's workers having lost their jobs just last month. The result: Ohioans shop less, buy less -- and have less to throw away.

But while dumpsters are taking longer to fill, it's another story for recycling bins.

Evan Williams arrives at a SWACO drop-off box with bags of empty bottles and old newspapers.

[Sound of bottles breaking in dumpster]

The trip has cost him fuel money But Williams says it's just a small price to pay for what he considers his share of environmental stewardship.

In 2012, compact fluorescent light bulbs will be the norm. They use less energy - But their use has also prompted safety concerns and some consumer reluctance.

Shirley McGlone takes a smoke break as she offers her opinion on the new bulbs.

"I think they need to improve the compact fluorescent light bulbs. They don't come on when you turn them on. They take a while to come on and the light's real harsh," says McGlone.

[And liftoff with LRO LCROSS]

NASA launched a new lunar orbiter last month to begin a yearlong mission. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will provide NASA with some of the most complete and accurate information about our moon.

Ron Li is from Ohio State University. He's one of the 24 scientists selected by NASA to design mapping tools on-board the orbiter. He explains how this mission is only a preface to NASA's larger, more ambitious, project.

"To establish long-term habitat for people to stay there in the longer term," says Li.

Bob Jones is from The Chefs Kitchen, a 200-acre farm in Huron, Ohio. This year, Jones is keeping an especially watchful eye on his tomato crops.

"It is a very nasty disease. If it gets in it gets established and in some instances there's nothing you can do. It's going to kill the crops," says Jones.

It's called Late Blight disease - a fungal pathogen that attacks primarily tomatoes and potatoes. It's this disease that caused the massive Irish famine and subsequent immigration of the 1840s.

A New Type Of American Car

Jul 2, 2009

"Today will mark the end of an old GM, and the beginning of a new GM. A new GM that could produce the high-quality, safe, and fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow," said Obama.

Three weeks ago President Obama outlined his plan to transform the auto industry. The announcement spurred reactions across the country with people weighing the industry's uncertain future. Today, the announcement continues to generate noise - but not all of it is talk.

[Sound of engines running]

The strength of spider silk is often a source of inspiration for scientists trying to design new types of ultrastrong materials. But at the University of Akron, it's something else about spider silk that inspires. David Lukofsky reports.