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Editing the genome with high precision

January 3, 2013 2:21 pm | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Researchers have developed a new technique for precisely altering the genomes of living cells by adding or deleting genes. To create their new genome-editing technique, the researchers modified a set of bacterial proteins that normally defend against viral invaders.


Nanoparticles reach new peaks

January 3, 2013 12:00 pm | Comments

Plasmonic gold nanoparticles make pinpoint heating on demand possible. Now Rice University researchers have found a way to selectively heat diverse nanoparticles that could advance their use in medicine and industry.


How computers push on the molecules they simulate

January 3, 2013 10:15 am | Comments

Computer simulations are essential to test theories and explore what's inaccessible to direct experiment. Digital computers can't use exact, continuous equations of motion and have to slice time into chunks, so persistent errors are introduced in the form of "shadow work" that distorts the result. Scientists have learned to separate the physically realistic aspects of the simulation from the artifacts of the computer method.


Researchers show new level of control over liquid crystals

January 3, 2013 8:10 am | Comments

Directed assembly is a growing field of research in nanotechnology in which scientists and engineers aim to manufacture structures on the smallest scales without having to individually manipulate each component. Rather, they set out precisely defined starting conditions and let the physics and chemistry that govern those components do the rest. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania has shown a new way to direct the assembly of liquid crystals.


Chaotic “spin vortices” could lead to new computer memories

January 3, 2013 7:56 am | Comments

In science, just like in life, sometimes creating the most effective organization depends on being able to handle just a bit of chaos first. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have used alternating magnetic fields to control the behavior of "spin vortices" trapped in small dots made from iron and nickel that can be magnetized in two separate ways.


Record-setting p-type transistor demonstrated

January 3, 2013 7:35 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Microsystems Technology Laboratories presented a p-type transistor with the highest "carrier mobility" yet measured. By that standard, the device is twice as fast as previous experimental p-type transistors and almost four times as fast as the best commercial p-type transistors.


Congress extends tax credits for wind, biofuels

January 2, 2013 6:15 pm | by DAVID PITT - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

The wind energy and ethanol industries celebrated a victory Wednesday with the inclusion of tax credit extensions in the tax relief bill approved by Congress, but that may not mean lost jobs will come back anytime soon. The measure approved Tuesday night as part of the bill extending tax cuts for most taxpayers also helps wind energy and ethanol producers by extending tax credits, most of which expired Monday.


Previous studies on toxic effects of BPA couldn’t be reproduced

January 2, 2013 1:36 pm | Comments

Following a three-year study using more than 2,800 mice, a University of Missouri researcher was not able to replicate a series of previous studies by another research group investigating the controversial chemical BPA. The MU study is not claiming that BPA is safe, but that the previous series of studies are not reproducible.


Electric stimulation of brain releases opiate-like painkiller

January 2, 2013 11:00 am | Comments

Researchers used electricity on certain regions in the brain of a patient with chronic, severe facial pain to release an opiate-like substance that's considered one of the body's most powerful painkillers. The findings expand on previous work done at the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and the City University of New York where researchers delivered electricity through sensors on the skulls of chronic migraine patients, and found a decrease in the intensity and pain of their headache attacks.


Tool developed to evaluate genome sequencing method

January 2, 2013 10:37 am | Comments

Advances in biotechnologies and computer software have helped make genome sequencing much more common than in the past. But still in question are both the accuracy of different sequencing methods and the best ways to evaluate these efforts. Now, computer scientists have devised a tool to better measure the validity of genome sequencing.


Military projects push boundaries of flexible electronics in imaging technologies

January 2, 2013 9:59 am | Comments

Aiming to address the strategic military need for accurate, high-resolution imaging, a University of Wisconsin-Madison electrical and computer engineer working with the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the U.S. Department of Defense has a simple goal: to make night vision more accurate and easier for soldiers and pilots to use.


Researchers solve crystal structure of key biofilm protein

January 2, 2013 9:28 am | Comments

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati report that they have solved the crystal structure of a protein involved in holding bacterial cells together in a biofilm, a major development in their exploration of the causes of hospital-acquired infections.


Fluctuating environment may have driven human evolution

January 2, 2013 8:05 am | Comments

A series of rapid environmental changes in East Africa roughly 2 million years ago may be responsible for driving human evolution, according to researchers at Penn State University and Rutgers University.


Researchers develop acrobatic space rovers to explore moons, asteroids

January 2, 2013 7:48 am | Comments

Stanford University researchers, in collaboration with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have designed a robotic platform that could take space exploration to new heights. The mission proposed for the platform involves a mother spacecraft deploying one or several spiked, roughly spherical rovers to the Martian moon Phobos.


R&D 100 award-winning PV cell pushes efficiency higher

December 30, 2012 9:00 am | Comments

It takes outside-the-box thinking to outsmart the solar spectrum and set a world record for solar cell efficiency. The solar spectrum has boundaries and immutable rules. No matter how much solar cell manufacturers want to bend those rules, they can't. So how can we make a solar cell that has a higher efficiency than the rules allow? NREL researchers know with the development of their SJ3 solar cell.



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