Galactic Insight

The discovery of a supermassive black hole in a tiny galaxy has challenged some assumptions held by astronomers. Scientists have long thought black holes and galaxies formed synchronously, and that black holes existed only in galaxies with “bulges”—voluminous spheroidal components. The finding by UVA astronomers—Amy Reines, a graduate student; Gregory Sivakoff, a research associate; and professor Kelsey Johnson—suggests massive black holes can predate such galaxies and promises clues about the mysterious holes’ formation in the universe’s infancy.

Get Your Protein

Research into how testes remove dead or dying immature sperm cells bodes well for preventing male infertility. Two UVA scientists—Kodi S. Ravichandran, chairman of the Department of Microbiology; and Jeffrey J. Lysiak, assistant professor of urology—have spent four years studying proteins essential to removing dead cells, which is necessary for testes to remain healthy and normal. The research could be crucial to creating new contraceptives as well as understanding male infertility.

Loves Me? Loves Me Not?

There’s no magic formula for romance, but one key ingredient could be mystery, according to a recent study. Researchers, including two from UVA—Erin Whitchurch (Grad ’07, ’09) and professor Timothy Wilson—found that uncertainty causes one potential mate to think more about the other person, thus heightening interest. “People might interpret these thoughts as a sign of liking,” the researchers wrote.

Hearing is Believing

A UVA study of 3-year-olds found that children tend to believe things people say to them even when presented with evidence that they’re being lied to. “Children have developed a specific bias to believe what they’re told,” says psychology professor Vikram K. Jaswal. “It’s sort of a shortcut to keep them from having to evaluate what people say.”