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Study identifies major player in skin cancer genes

July 28, 2015 7:39 am | by Ziba Kashef, Yale Univ. | Comments

A multidisciplinary team at Yale Univ., led by Yale Cancer Center members, has defined a subgroup of genetic mutations that are present in a significant number of melanoma skin cancer cases. Their findings shed light on an important mutation in this deadly disease, and may lead to more targeted anti-cancer therapies.

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Researchers predict material with record-setting melting point

July 28, 2015 7:32 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | Comments

Using powerful computer simulations, researchers from Brown Univ. have identified a material with a higher melting point than any known substance. The computations showed that a material made with just the right amounts of hafnium, nitrogen and carbon would have a melting point of more than 4,400 K (7,460 F).

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Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light to electricity

July 28, 2015 7:24 am | by Iqbal Pittalwala, Univ. of California, Riverside | Comments

When it comes to installing solar cells, labor cost and the cost of the land to house them constitute the bulk of the expense. The solar cells, made often of silicon or cadmium telluride, rarely cost more than 20% of the total cost. Solar energy could be made cheaper if less land had to be purchased to accommodate solar panels, best achieved if each solar cell could be coaxed to generate more power.

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New experimental, theoretical research could help make more efficient windows

July 27, 2015 1:00 pm | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | Comments

By tightly integrating experimental and theoretical techniques, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory team has provided fundamentally new insights into the specific factors that determine the absorption characteristics of copper complexes.  The results demonstrate that conventional interpretations based on “ligand field theory” are insufficient for capturing the full characteristics of the absorption profile.

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Silk structure is secret to regenerating salivary cells

July 27, 2015 12:20 pm | by Rosanne Fohn, Univ. of Texas Health Science Center at San Antionio | Comments

The silkworm, which produces the essential ingredient for fine silk fabric, also plays a critical role in a new process designed to provide relief for millions of individuals with dry mouth, a devastating oral and systemic health issue. A research team led by The Univ. of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, is the first to use silk fibers as a framework to grow stem cells into salivary gland cells.

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Smart hydrogel coating creates “stick-slip” control of capillary action

July 27, 2015 11:40 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

Coating the inside of glass microtubes with a polymer hydrogel material dramatically alters the way capillary forces draw water into the tiny structures, researchers have found. The discovery could provide a new way to control microfluidic systems, including popular lab-on-a-chip devices.

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Stalagmites pinpoint drying of American West

July 27, 2015 7:50 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Comments

All around the deserts of Utah, Nevada, southern Oregon and eastern California, ancient shorelines line the hillsides above dry valley floors, like bathtub rings—remnants of the lakes once found throughout the region. Even as the ice sheets retreated at the end of the last ice age, the region remained much wetter than it is today. The earliest settlers of the region encountered a verdant landscape of springs and wetlands.

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Unlocking the rice immune system

July 27, 2015 7:42 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team of researchers led by scientists with the Joint BioEnergy Institute and the Univ. of California Davis. The research team discovered that a tyrosine-sulfated bacterial protein called “RaxX,” activates the rice immune receptor protein called “XA21."

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Study measures global population/energy relationship

July 27, 2015 7:34 am | by Scott Schrage, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln Communications | Comments

If you’ve lived between the year 1560 and the present day, more power to you. Literally. That’s one of several conclusions reached by Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln ecologist John DeLong, who has co-authored the first study to quantify the relationship between human population growth and energy use on an international scale.

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Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record

July 27, 2015 7:29 am | by Ken Kingery, Duke Univ. | Comments

Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing. At its most basic level, your smart phone's battery is powering billions of transistors using electrons to flip on and off billions of times per second. But if microchips could use photons instead of electrons to process and transmit data, computers could operate even faster.

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Scientists set sights on glaucoma medication to treat TB

July 24, 2015 2:45 pm | by Sarina Gleason, Michigan State Univ. | Comments

A new discovery by Michigan State Univ. scientists suggests that a common medication used to treat glaucoma could also be used to treat tuberculosis, even the drug-resistant kind. The team discovered that ethoxzolamide, a sulfa-based compound found in many prescription glaucoma drugs, actually turns off the bacterium’s ability to invade the immune system.

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Cages offer new direction in sustainable catalyst design

July 24, 2015 1:15 pm | by Scott Gordon, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | Comments

Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison engineers have developed a new approach to structuring the catalysts used in essential reactions in the chemical and energy fields. The advance offers a pathway for industries to wean themselves off of platinum, one of the scarcest metals in the Earth's crust.

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EU regulator recommends first license for malaria vaccine

July 24, 2015 12:04 pm | by Maria Cheng, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | Comments

The European Medicines Agency has recommended approving what would be the world's first licensed malaria vaccine, even though it's only about 30% effective and its protection fades over time. In a statement Friday, the agency endorsed the vaccine's use outside Europe, a regulatory process that helps speed new medicines to the market.

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Magnetic material unnecessary to create spin current

July 24, 2015 11:45 am | by Carla Reiter, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

It doesn’t happen often that a young scientist makes a significant and unexpected discovery, but postdoctoral researcher Stephen Wu of Argonne National Laboratory just did exactly that. What he found, that you don't need a magnetic material to create spin current from insulators, has important implications for the field of spintronics.

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Innovative algorithm helps decipher how drugs work inside the body

July 24, 2015 7:16 am | by Lucky Tran, Columbia Univ. Medical Center | Comments

Researchers at Columbia Univ. Medical Center have developed a computer algorithm that is helping scientists see how drugs produce pharmacological effects inside the body. The study, published in Cell, could help researchers create drugs that are more efficient and less prone to side effects, suggest ways to regulate a drug's activity and identify novel therapeutic uses for new and existing compounds.

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