Kim Vo

Kim Vo

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A new computer operating system may make the digital world less vulnerable to hackers. CertiKOS, developed by Yale computer scientist Zhong Shao and colleagues and unveiled in November at a scientific conference in Savannah, Georgia, is considered a breakthrough: the system can run on today’s complex multi-core hardware, yet it is formally verified to be free of bugs—thus mathematically ensuring that software functions as intended and there are no unnoticed holes for hackers to exploit. A government research program is already using CertiKOS. The work may also lead to the development of hack-resistant self-driving cars, banking systems, and medical devices.


Among civilians, gunshot wounds are the main cause of what doctors call “penetrating traumatic brain injury.” After studying the outcomes of 413 patients treated at two trauma centers over a ten-year period, Kevin Sheth, associate professor of neurology, and his team have created a test that may help emergency room physicians to do a better job of predicting patients’ outcomes and developing treatment strategies. The test for Surviving Penetrating Injury to the Brain rates patients on several factors, such as their responses to commands and their eyes’ responses to light. The research, published in Neurology, also showed that the overall survival rate was 42 percent—“much higher than we anticipated,” says Sheth.


Lithium-oxygen batteries are touted as a more efficient, next-generation replacement for today’s lithium-ion batteries. But they aren’t quite ready for prime time: the chemical reaction that powers the batteries also results in a byproduct that eventually makes them difficult to recharge. Won-Hee Ryu, a former postdoc in the chemical engineering department, may have a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution: a molecule, called heme, that is found in blood and carries oxygen. In research presented in Nature Communications, Ryu and his colleagues demonstrate that heme, which is “designed by nature,” can serve as a catalyst that prevents the counterproductive buildup.

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