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New brain-based marker of stress susceptibility

July 29, 2014 1:05 pm | by Karl Bates, Duke Univ. | Comments

Some people can handle stressful situations better than others, and it’s not all in their genes: Even identical twins show differences in how they respond. Researchers have identified a specific electrical pattern in the brains of genetically identical mice that predicts how well individual animals will fare in stressful situations. The findings may eventually help researchers prevent potential consequences of chronic stress.

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Tough foam from tiny sheets

July 29, 2014 12:59 pm | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Tough, ultra-light foam of atom-thick sheets can be made to any size and shape through a chemical process invented at Rice Univ. In microscopic images, the foam dubbed “GO-0.5BN” looks like a nanoscale building, with floors and walls that reinforce each other. The structure consists of a pair of 2-D materials: floors and walls of graphene oxide that self-assemble with the assistance of hexagonal boron nitride platelets.

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A new way to make microstructured surfaces

July 29, 2014 12:49 pm | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

A team of researchers has created a new way of manufacturing microstructured surfaces that have novel 3-D textures. These surfaces, made by self-assembly of carbon nanotubes, could exhibit a variety of useful properties—including controllable mechanical stiffness and strength, or the ability to repel water in a certain direction.

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Corning donates $1.8M mirror for space telescope

July 29, 2014 11:25 am | by The Associated Press | Comments

Corning Inc. has donated $1.8 million in high-tech components for a telescope a private group wants to launch into space. The not-for-profit BoldlyGo Institute wants to put its ASTRO-1 telescope in orbit by the mid-2020s. The group says obtaining the components for a roughly 6-ft telescope primary mirror marks a major step toward the ambitious goal.

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Optimum inertial design for self-propulsion

July 29, 2014 11:01 am | Comments

A new study has investigated the effects of small but finite inertia on the propulsion of micro- and nano-scale swimming machines. Scientists have found that the direction of propulsion made possible by such inertia is opposite to that induced by a viscoelastic fluid. The findings could help to optimize the design of swimming machines to improve their mobility in medical applications.

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New gadget helps the vision impaired to read graphs

July 29, 2014 10:47 am | Comments

An affordable digital reading system invented by researchers in Australia now allows people who are blind to read more than just words. The device works by using pattern recognition technology and other methods on any document to identify images, graphs, maths or text. From here it is then converted to audio format with navigation markup.

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Bruker acquires super-resolution microscopy company Vutara

July 29, 2014 10:36 am | Comments

Bruker has announced that it has acquired Vutara Inc., a technology leader in high-speed, 3-D, super-resolution fluorescence microscopy for life science applications. Transaction details were not disclosed. Vutara’s estimated revenue for the full year 2014 is expected to be approximately $2 million.

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Lead pollution beat explorers to South Pole, persists today

July 29, 2014 9:25 am | by Justin Broglio, Desert Research Institute | Comments

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach the South Pole in December 1911. More than 100 years later, an international team of scientists that includes a NASA researcher has proven that air pollution from industrial activities arrived to the planet’s southern pole long before any human.

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Researchers develop more efficient tool for tagging proteins

July 29, 2014 9:18 am | by Janne Hansen, Aarhus Univ. | Comments

DNA–protein conjugates can be used in diagnostic techniques, nanotechnology and other disciplines, but controlling the conjugation of these macromolecules can be a challenge. Scientists in Denmark have pioneered an easier method that makes it possible to direct the tagging of proteins with DNA to a particular site on the protein without genetically modifying the protein beforehand.

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DARPA collaboration launches breakthrough elastic cloud-to-cloud networking

July 29, 2014 9:06 am | Comments

In 2006, DARPA launched a long-term project called CORONET, which sought to develop a cloud-based technology that could enable affordable, fast bandwidth and ensure the survival of cloud networks in the event of system-wide failures. After years of work, scientists from AT&T, IBM and Applied Communication Sciences have announced a proof-of-concept technology that reduces setup times for cloud-to-cloud connectivity from days to seconds.

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Stem cell advance may increase efficiency of tissue regeneration

July 29, 2014 8:52 am | by Jeffrey Norris, UCSF | Comments

A new stem cell discovery might one day lead to a more streamlined process for obtaining stem cells, which in turn could be used in the development of replacement tissue for failing body parts, according to Univ. of California, San Francisco scientists who reported the findings in Cell.

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Mineral magic? Common mineral capable of making, breaking bonds

July 29, 2014 8:39 am | by Nikki Cassis, Arizona State Univ. | Comments

Reactions among minerals and organic compounds in hydrothermal environments are critical components of the Earth’s deep carbon cycle. They provide energy for the deep biosphere, and may have implications for the origins of life. However, very little is known about how minerals influence organic reactions. A team of researchers has demonstrated how a common mineral acts as a catalyst for specific hydrothermal organic reactions.

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New tool for characterizing plant sugar transporters

July 29, 2014 8:28 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

A powerful new tool that can help advance the genetic engineering of “fuel” crops for clean, green and renewable bioenergy, has been developed by researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, a multi-institutional partnership led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The researchers have developed an assay that enables scientists to identify and characterize the function of nucleotide sugar transporters.

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Forced mutations doom HIV

July 29, 2014 8:16 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Fifteen years ago, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor John Essigmann and colleagues from the Univ. of Washington had a novel idea for an HIV drug. They thought if they could induce the virus to mutate uncontrollably, they could force it to weaken and eventually die out—a strategy that our immune system uses against many viruses.

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$1,000 pill now hepatitis C treatment of choice

July 29, 2014 3:19 am | by Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

A $1,000-per-pill drug that insurers are reluctant to pay for has quickly become the treatment of choice for a liver-wasting viral disease that affects more than three million Americans. In less than six months, prescriptions for Sovaldi have eclipsed all other hepatitis C pills combined, according to new data from IMS Health.

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