Berkeley, California - Sunflowers not only pivot to face the sun as it moves across the sky during the day, but they also rotate 180 degrees during the night to greet the morning sun.

Cambridge, Massachusetts - MIT engineers have developed a microfluidic device that replicates the neuromuscular junction — the vital connection where nerve meets muscle. The device, about the size of a U.S. quarter, contains a single muscle strip and a small set of motor neurons. Researchers can influence and observe the interactions between the two, within a realistic, three-dimensional matrix.

West Lafayette< Indiana - Dwarfed plants add color and a diversity of architectures to landscapes and gardens, and a Purdue University undergraduate class discovered a key mechanism that leads to their small stature.

Austin, Texas - Scientists studying how microbes evolve have long assumed that nearly all new genetic mutations get passed down at a predictable pace and usually without either helping or hurting the microbe in adapting to its environment. In a new study published in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers studying tens of thousands of generations of E. coli bacteria report that most new genetic mutations that were passed down were actually beneficial and occurred at much more variable rates than previously thought. The finding could have implications for treating bacterial infections.

Denver, Colorado - Researchers have identified a simple intervention that may help reduce levels of violence in maximum security prisons. Inmates who viewed nature videos showed reduced levels of aggression and were less likely to be disciplined than those in similar cellblocks, according to research presented at the American Psychological Association’s 124th Annual Convention.