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3-D structure solved for vulnerable region of glaucoma-causing protein

April 22, 2015 7:53 am | by Brett Israel, Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Scientists have determined the 3-D structure of a key part of a protein that is associated with glaucoma and identified regions of this domain that correlate with severe forms of the disease. The new crystal structure is of the olfactomedin (OLF) domain in myocilin, a protein implicated in glaucoma. Many proteins have OLF domains, but mutations in the OLF domain of myocilin are linked to early-onset glaucoma.

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Engineered softwood could transform pulp, paper and biofuel industries

April 22, 2015 7:44 am | by Krista Eastman, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

Scientists have demonstrated the potential for softwoods to process more easily into pulp and paper if engineered to incorporate a key feature of hardwoods. The finding could improve the economics of the pulp, paper and biofuels industries and reduce those industries' environmental impact.

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Invisible inks could help foil counterfeiters of all kinds

April 22, 2015 7:33 am | by Megan Fellman, Northwestern Univ. | News | Comments

Real or counterfeit? Northwestern Univ. scientists have invented sophisticated fluorescent inks that one day could be used as multicolored barcodes for consumers to authenticate products that are often counterfeited. Snap a photo with your smartphone, and it will tell you if the item is real and worth your money.

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Study links swarm of quakes in Texas to natural gas drilling

April 21, 2015 12:05 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

With real-time monitors, scientists have linked a swarm of small earthquakes west of Fort Worth, Texas, to nearby natural gas wells and wastewater injection. In 84 days from November 2013 to January 2014, the area around Azle, Texas, shook with 27 magnitude 2 or greater earthquakes, while scientists at Southern Methodist Univ. and the U.S. Geological Survey monitored the shaking.

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Researchers inform development of Ebola vaccine trials

April 21, 2015 11:58 am | by Faith Singer-Villalobos, Univ. of Texas at Austin | News | Comments

As the current Ebola outbreak wanes, scientists have to make the most of every opportunity to prepare for future outbreaks. One such opportunity involves the identification of a safe and effective Ebola vaccine. Texas supercomputers have aided researchers in modeling which types of clinical trials will provide the best information.

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Global warming more moderate than worst-case models

April 21, 2015 11:15 am | by Tim Lucas, Duke Univ. | News | Comments

A new study based on 1,000 years of temperature records suggests global warming is not progressing as fast as it would under the most severe emissions scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Duke-led study shows that natural variability in surface temperatures can account for observed changes in the recent rates of warming from decade to decade.

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A better grasp of primate grip

April 21, 2015 10:59 am | by Jim Shelton, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists are coming to grips with the superior grasping ability of humans and other primates throughout history. In a new study, a research team led by Yale Univ. found that even the oldest known human ancestors may have had precision grip capabilities comparable to modern humans. This includes Australopithecus afarensis, which appears in the fossil record a million years before the first evidence of stone tools.

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Nanophotonics with ultracold atoms for simulating quantum many-body systems

April 21, 2015 10:46 am | by Max Planck Society | News | Comments

Ultracold atoms in the so-called optical lattices, which are generated by crosswise superposition of laser beams, have proven to be one of the most promising tools for simulating and understanding the behavior of many-body systems. However, the implementation in free space has some limitations such as the distance between the atoms (around 400 nm) and the short range of the interactions.

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Electron trapping harnessed to make light sensors

April 21, 2015 10:34 am | by Mark Esser, NIST | News | Comments

Traps. Whether you’re squaring off against the Empire or trying to wring electricity out of sunlight, they’re almost never a good thing. But sometimes you can turn that trap to your advantage. A team from the Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln, working with researchers at NIST, has shown that electron-trapping defects that are typically problematic in solar cells can be an asset when engineering sensitive light detectors.

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Microalgae used for green asphalt

April 21, 2015 10:25 am | by CNRS | News | Comments

Microalgae offer a highly promising alternative to petroleum products without competing for resources used in the food industry. They have now been used, for the first time, to make asphalt. Researchers have recently proved the viability of bioasphalt, demonstrating its close similarity to the "real" asphalt used to pave roads.

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Deadline Extended for 2015 R&D 100 Award Entries

April 21, 2015 8:59 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Award Winners

The editors of R&D Magazine have announced a deadline extension for the 2015 R&D 100 Awards entry process until May 18, 2015. The R&D 100 Awards have a 50 plus year history of awarding the 100 most technologically significant products of the year.

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Chinese Awards Part 3

April 21, 2015 8:50 am | by Tim Studt | Blogs | Comments

Day three (Monday) of my judging for the 2015 Taiwan Excellence Awards went fine, except for the small interruption of a 6.8 earthquake in the morning. The actual reading for Taipei was a bit over 4, but it did make everything sway in the 4th-floor judging room. There was only one death close to the epicenter off the east coast, but nothing of significance in Taipei proper.

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Innovation boosts Wi-Fi bandwidth ten-fold

April 21, 2015 8:39 am | by Rachel Robertson, Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers at Oregon State Univ. have invented a new technology that can increase the bandwidth of Wi-Fi systems by 10 times, using LED lights to transmit information. The technology could be integrated with existing Wi-Fi systems to reduce bandwidth problems in crowded locations, such as airport terminals or coffee shops, and in homes where several people have multiple Wi-Fi devices.

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Black hole hunters tackle a cosmic conundrum

April 21, 2015 8:31 am | by Dartmouth College | News | Comments

Dartmouth College astrophysicists and their colleagues haven’t only proven that a supermassive black hole exists in a place where it isn't supposed to be, but in doing so have opened a new door to what things were like in the early universe. Henize 2-10 is a small irregular galaxy that is not too far away in astronomical terms: 30 million light-years.

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Happily ever after

April 21, 2015 8:20 am | by Cory Nealon, Univ. at Buffalo | News | Comments

Fastening protein-based medical treatments to nanoparticles isn't easy. With arduous chemistry, scientists can do it. But like a doomed marriage, the fragile binding that holds them together often separates. This problem, which has limited how doctors can use proteins to treat serious disease, may soon change.

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