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MRI, on a molecular scale

April 21, 2014 | by Peter Reuell, Harvard Univ. | Comments

A team of scientists, led by physicist Amir Yacoby of Harvard Univ., has developed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system that can produce nanoscale images, and may one day allow researchers to peer into the atomic structure of individual molecules. Though not yet precise enough to capture atomic-scale images of a single molecule, the system already has been used to capture images of single electron spins.

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Rolls-Royce, collaborators study ways to strength titanium aircraft parts at LCLS

April 23, 2014 8:01 am | by Glenn Roberts Jr., SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | Comments

Rolls-Royce researchers came to SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory earlier this month as part of a team testing titanium and titanium alloys such as those used in engine parts, landing gear and other aircraft components. While the Rolls-Royce brand is also associated with luxury cars, this separate company, Rolls-Royce PLC, is a major global manufacturer of aircraft engines that power over 30 types of commercial aircraft.

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Study identifies enzymes that help fix cancer-causing DNA defects

April 23, 2014 7:47 am | by Natalie van Hoose, Purdue Univ. | Comments

Purdue Univ. researchers have identified an important enzyme pathway that helps prevent new cells from receiving too many or too few chromosomes, a condition that has been directly linked to cancer and other diseases. The team found that near the end of cell division, the enzyme Cdc14 activates Yen1, an enzyme that ensures any breaks in DNA are fully repaired before the parent cell distributes copies of the genome to daughter cells.

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New patenting guidelines are needed for biotechnology

April 23, 2014 7:34 am | Comments

Biotechnology scientists must be aware of the broad patent landscape and push for new patent and licensing guidelines, according to a new paper from Rice Univ.’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. The paper is based on the June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics that naturally occurring genes are unpatentable.

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Tesla delivers first China cars, plans expansion

April 22, 2014 11:19 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | Comments

Tesla Motors Inc. delivered its first eight electric sedans to customers in China on Tuesday and CEO Elon Musk said the company will build a nationwide network of charging stations and service centers as fast as it can. Customers received the first Model S sedans this week at a brief ceremony at Tesla's office in a Beijing industrial park, also the site of its first Chinese charging station.

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Cloaked DNA nanodevices survive pilot mission

April 22, 2014 9:13 am | by Dan Ferber, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard Univ. | Comments

It's a familiar trope in science fiction: In enemy territory, activate your cloaking device. And real-world viruses use similar tactics to make themselves invisible to the immune system. Now scientists at Harvard Univ.'s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have mimicked these viral tactics to build the first DNA nanodevices that survive the body's immune defenses.

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Study: People pay more attention to the upper half of field of vision

April 22, 2014 9:02 am | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

A new study from North Carolina State Univ. and the Univ. of Toronto finds that people pay more attention to the upper half of their field of vision—a finding which could have ramifications for everything from traffic signs to software interface design.

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Fast way to measure DNA repair

April 22, 2014 8:55 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Our DNA is under constant attack from many sources. Fortunately, cells have several major DNA repair systems that can fix this damage, which may lead to diseases if not mended. A team of researchers has developed a test that can rapidly assess several DNA repair systems, which could help determine individuals’ risk of developing cancer and help doctors predict how a given patient will respond to chemotherapy drugs.

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Progress made in developing nanoscale electronics

April 22, 2014 8:39 am | Comments

Scientists are facing a number of barriers as they try to develop circuits that are microscopic in size, including how to reliably control the current that flows through a circuit that is the width of a single molecule. Recent work at the Univ. of Rochester may have solved this problem through the addition of a second, inert layer of molecules that can act like a plastic casing on the wires.

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Today’s Antarctic region once as hot as California, Florida

April 22, 2014 8:20 am | by Eric Gershon, Yale Univ. | Comments

Parts of ancient Antarctica were as warm as today’s California coast, and polar regions of the southern Pacific Ocean registered 21st-century Florida heat, according to scientists using a new way to measure past temperatures. The findings underscore the potential for increased warmth at Earth’s poles and the associated risk of melting polar ice and rising sea levels, the researchers said.

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“Upside-down planet” reveals new method for studying binary star systems

April 22, 2014 8:12 am | by Peter Kelley, News and Information, Univ. of Washington | Comments

What looked at first like an upside-down planet has instead revealed a new method for studying binary star systems, discovered by a Univ. of Washington (UW) student astronomer. Working with UW astronomer Eric Agol, doctoral student Ethan Kruse has confirmed the first “self-lensing” binary star system: one in which the mass of the closer star can be measured by how powerfully it magnifies light from its more distant companion star.

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Researchers demonstrate first size-based chromatography technique for the study of living cells

April 22, 2014 7:58 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

Using nanodot technology, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers have demonstrated the first size-based form of chromatography that can be used to study the membranes of living cells. This unique physical approach to probing cellular membrane structures can reveal information critical to whether a cell lives or dies, remains normal or turns cancerous, that can’t be obtained through conventional microscopy.

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Tracking oxygen in the body

April 22, 2014 7:34 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Unlike healthy cells, cancer cells thrive when deprived of oxygen. Tumors in low-oxygen environments tend to be more resistant to therapy and spread more aggressively to other parts of the body. Measuring tumors’ oxygen levels could help doctors make decisions about treatments, but there’s currently no way to make such measurements. However, a new sensor developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology could change that.

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Scientists successfully use krypton to accurately date ancient Antarctic ice

April 21, 2014 3:22 pm | Comments

A team of scientists has successfully identified the age of 120,000-year-old Antarctic ice using radiometric krypton dating, a new technique that may allow them to locate and date ice that is more than a million years old. Unlike the well-known dating isotope carbon-14, krypton is a noble gas that does not interact chemically and is much more stable, allowing more accurate dating of ice.

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Gecko-like adhesives now useful for real world surfaces

April 21, 2014 3:12 pm | Comments

The ability to stick objects to a wide range of surfaces such as drywall, wood, metal and glass with a single adhesive has been the elusive goal of many research teams across the world, but now a team of Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst inventors describe a new, more versatile version of their invention, Geckskin, that can adhere strongly to a wider range of surfaces, yet releases easily, like a gecko's feet.

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Physicist creates new nanoparticle for cancer therapy

April 21, 2014 3:06 pm | Comments

Physicist Wei Chen at Univ. of Texas at Arlington’s Center for Security Advances Via Applied Nanotechnology was testing a copper-cysteamine complex created in his laboratory when he discovered unexplained decreases in its luminescence, or light emitting power, over a time-lapse exposure to x-rays. Further testing work revealed that the “Cu-Cy” nanoparticles, when combined with x-ray exposure, significantly slowed tumor growth in studies.

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