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Tissue Velcro could help repair damaged hearts

August 31, 2015 7:27 am | by Tyler Irving, Univ. of Toronto | Comments

Engineers at the Univ. of Toronto just made assembling functional heart tissue as easy as fastening your shoes. The team has created a biocompatible scaffold that allows sheets of beating heart cells to snap together just like Velcro.

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DNA “clews” helps shuttle CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells

August 31, 2015 7:18 am | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State Univ. and the Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have for the first time created and used a nanoscale vehicle made of DNA to deliver a CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells in both cell culture and an animal model.

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Research advances on “scourge” of transplant wards

August 28, 2015 1:00 pm | by David Tennebaum, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | Comments

The fungus Cryptococcus causes meningitis, a brain disease that kills about 1 million people each year—mainly those with impaired immune systems due to AIDS, cancer treatment or an organ transplant. It's difficult to treat because fungi are genetically quite similar to humans, so compounds that affect fungi tend to have toxic side effects for patients.

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Closing the loop with optogenetics

August 28, 2015 12:00 pm | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

Optogenetics provides a powerful tool for studying the brain by allowing researchers to activate neurons using simple light-based signals. But until now, these optical stimulation techniques have been “open loop,” meaning they lack the kind of feedback control that most biological and engineering systems use to maintain a steady operating state.

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Can rain clean the atmosphere?

August 28, 2015 11:00 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Comments

As a raindrop falls through the atmosphere, it can attract tens to hundreds of tiny aerosol particles to its surface before hitting the ground. The process by which droplets and aerosols attract is coagulation, a natural phenomenon that can act to clear the air of pollutants like soot, sulfates and organic particles.

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Learning from the unexpected

August 28, 2015 10:00 am | by Peter Tarr, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory | Comments

When a large combat unit, widely dispersed in dense jungle, goes to battle, no single soldier knows precisely how his actions are affecting the unit’s success or failure. But in modern armies, every soldier is connected via an audio link that can instantly receive broadcasts based on new intelligence. The real-time broadcasts enable dispersed troops to learn from these reports.

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Evidence suggests subatomic particles could defy Standard Model

August 28, 2015 9:00 am | by Matthew Wright, Univ. of Maryland | Comments

The Standard Model of particle physics, which explains most of the known behaviors and interactions of fundamental subatomic particles, has held up remarkably well over several decades. This far-reaching theory does have a few shortcomings, however. The most notable is it doesn't account for gravity.

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Researchers efficiently charge a lithium-ion battery with solar cell

August 28, 2015 8:30 am | by Kevin Mayhood, Case Western Reserve Univ. | Comments

Consumers aren't embracing electric cars and trucks, partly due to the dearth of charging stations required to keep them moving. Even the conservation-minded are hesitant to go electric in some states because, studies show, if fossil fuels generate the electricity, the car is no greener than one powered with an efficient gasoline.

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Cheaper, better LED technology

August 28, 2015 8:00 am | by Kathleen Haughney, Florida State Univ. | Comments

A Florida State Univ. engineering professor has developed a new highly efficient and low-cost light-emitting diode (LED) that could help spur more widespread adoption of the technology. Asst. Prof. of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Zhibin Yu developed the new LED technology using a combination of organic and inorganic materials.

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Enabling the design of hybrid glasses

August 28, 2015 7:19 am | by Craig Brierley, Univ. of Cambridge | Comments

A new method of manufacturing glass could lead to the production of “designer glasses” with applications in advanced photonics, whilst also facilitating industrial scale carbon capture and storage. An international team of researchers, writing in Nature Communications, report how they have managed to use a relatively new family of sponge-like porous materials to develop new hybrid glasses.

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A new technique to make drugs more soluble

August 27, 2015 7:00 pm | by Leah Burrows, Harvard Univ. | Comments

Before Ibuprofen can relieve your headache, it has to dissolve in your bloodstream. The problem is Ibuprofen, in its native form, isn't particularly soluble. Its rigid, crystalline structures make it hard to dissolve in the bloodstream. To overcome this, manufacturers use chemical additives to increase the solubility of Ibuprofen and many other drugs, but those additives also increase cost and complexity.

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Soaking up carbon dioxide and turning it into valuable products

August 27, 2015 6:00 pm | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

A molecular system that holds great promise for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide has been modified so that it now also holds great promise as a catalyst for converting captured carbon dioxide into valuable chemical products. Researchers with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have incorporated molecules of carbon dioxide reduction catalysts into the sponge-like crystals of covalent organic frameworks (COFs).

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Interstellar seeds could create oases of life

August 27, 2015 5:00 pm | by Christine Pulliam, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | Comments

We only have one example of a planet with life: Earth. But within the next generation, it should become possible to detect signs of life on planets orbiting distant stars. If we find alien life, new questions will arise. For example, did that life arise spontaneously? Or could it have spread from elsewhere? If life crossed the vast gulf of interstellar space long ago, how would we tell?

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“Brainbow” reveals surprising data about visual connections in brain

August 27, 2015 4:00 pm | by Virginia Tech | Comments

Neuroscientists know that some connections in the brain are pruned through neural development. Function gives rise to structure, according to the textbooks. But scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have discovered that the textbooks might be wrong.

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Cell mechanics: More complex than previously thought

August 27, 2015 3:00 pm | by Academy of Finland | Comments

Cell mechanics are considerably more complex than previously thought and may affect cell structures at various levels. This finding is based on a collaborative research project conducted by an international research team from ETH Zurich and Univ. of Tampere, involving Teemu Ihalainen, a postdoctoral researcher at the Academy of Finland.

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