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Resurrected proteins double their natural activity

October 1, 2015 10:00 am | by ITMO Univ. | Comments

Proteins play a large role in sustaining life functions. These molecules ensure that vital reactions, such as DNA replication or metabolism catalysis, are carried out within cells. When proteins die, the so-called process of denaturation takes place, which is accompanied by the unfolding of the native 3-D structure of the protein and hence the loss of its activity.


An accessible approach to making a mini-brain

October 1, 2015 8:11 am | by David Orenstein, Brown Univ. | Comments

If you need a working miniature brain—say for drug testing—a new paper describes how to build one with what the Brown Univ. authors say is relative ease and low expense. The little balls of brain aren’t performing any cogitation, but they produce electrical signals and form their own neural connections, making them readily producible testbeds for neuroscience research, the authors said.


Study reveals urban smoke absorbs sunlight, exacerbating climate warming

October 1, 2015 8:04 am | by Nancy Ambrosiano, Los Alamos National Laboratory | Comments

Cloaking urban areas and wildfire zones, tiny smoke particles suspended in the atmosphere have a sizeable effect on our climate. But the exact effect of many of these aerosols, such as how much sunlight they absorb, thus warming Earth, or reflecting back to space and so cooling Earth, is very uncertain.


More-flexible machine learning

October 1, 2015 7:43 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

Machine learning, which is the basis for most commercial artificial-intelligence systems, is intrinsically probabilistic. An object-recognition algorithm asked to classify a particular image, for instance, might conclude that it has a 60% chance of depicting a dog, but a 30% chance of depicting a cat.


Portable device can quickly test for sickness-causing toxins in shellfish

October 1, 2015 7:33 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Mussels and scallops might be ingredients for fine cuisine, but they can also be a recipe for diarrhetic shellfish poisoning. That’s a gastrointestinal illness people can get if those tasty morsels contain marine toxins. Now, researchers are reporting in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry the development of a portable, inexpensive device that can quickly and easily screen freshly caught shellfish for these substances.


Scientists refine hunt for Mars life

October 1, 2015 7:27 am | by Brendan M. Lynch, KU News Service | Comments

The search for life beyond Earth is one of the grandest endeavors in the history of humankind, a quest that could transform our understanding of our universe both scientifically and spiritually. With news coming this week that NASA has confirmed the presence of flowing saltwater on the surface of Mars, the hunt for life on the Red Planet has new momentum.


Researchers measure how specific atoms move in dielectric materials

October 1, 2015 7:20 am | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State Univ., NIST and UNSW Australia have measured the behavior of specific atoms in dielectric materials when exposed to an electric field. The work advances our understanding of dielectric materials, which are used in a wide variety of applications.


Measuring x-rays created by lightning strikes on an aircraft in-flight

September 30, 2015 2:00 pm | by Institute of Physics | Comments

Scientists have recorded measurements of x-rays of energies up to 10 MeV caused by electrons accelerated in the intense electric fields inside a thundercloud. The researchers were able to mount equipment on an Airbus during test flights that took place in April 2014.


Team recovers rare earth elements from discarded EV motors

September 30, 2015 1:00 pm | by Worcester Polytechnic Institute | Comments

In an effort to help develop a sustainable domestic supply of rare earth elements and lessen the U.S.'s dependence on China for materials that are vital to the production of electronics, wind turbines and many other technologies, two researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute have developed a method of extracting rare earths from the drive units and motors of discarded electric and hybrid cars.


Sniffing out cancer

September 30, 2015 12:00 pm | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Scientists have been exploring new ways to “smell” signs of cancer by analyzing what’s in patients’ breath. In Nano Letters, one team now reports new progress toward this goal. The researchers have developed a small array of flexible sensors, which accurately detect compounds in breath samples that are specific to ovarian cancer.


Disappearing carbon circuits on graphene could have security, biomedical uses

September 30, 2015 11:00 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

In the television drama “Mission Impossible,” instructions for the mission were delivered on an audio tape that destroyed itself immediately after being played. Should that series ever be revived, its producers might want to talk with Georgia Institute of Technology professor Andrei Fedorov about using his “disappearing circuits” to deliver the instructions.


Advancing freeze-drying technology through rocket science

September 30, 2015 10:00 am | by Elizabeth K. Gardner, Purdue Univ. | Comments

Purdue Univ. has created a new lyophilization consortium, LyoHUB, to improve freeze-drying technology to make food, pharmaceuticals and biotech products safer and more affordable. The center is funded by NIST through a $453,623 planning grant from its Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia, or AMTech, program.


Scientists decode structure at root of muscular disease

September 30, 2015 8:10 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

Researchers at Rice Univ. and Baylor College of Medicine have unlocked the structural details of a protein seen as key to treating a neuromuscular disease. Their success at obtaining a structural map of a protein known as leiomodin 2 (Lmod2) attached to two actin subunits offers a path forward for the study of nemaline myopathy, a hereditary disorder that weakens the muscles and can sometimes be fatal.


Shedding light on metabolism

September 30, 2015 8:03 am | by Catriona Kelly, Univ. of Edinburgh | Comments

The way in which our cells convert food into fuel is shared by almost all living things and, now, scientists have discovered a likely reason why this is so widespread. Researchers examined how cells make energy from food, by digesting simple sugars such as glucose in a series of chemical reactions. This process is almost the same for every kind of cell, including animals, plants and bacteria.


Researchers disguise drugs as platelets to target cancer

September 30, 2015 7:59 am | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Researchers have, for the first time, developed a technique that coats anticancer drugs in membranes made from a patient's own platelets, allowing the drugs to last longer in the body and attack both primary cancer tumors and the circulating tumor cells that can cause a cancer to metastasize. The work was tested successfully in an animal model.



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