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Study details link between inflammation and cancer

January 16, 2015 9:28 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

A new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology reveals one reason why people who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases such as colitis have a higher risk of mutations that cause cancer. The researchers also found that exposure to DNA-damaging chemicals after a bout of inflammation boosts these mutations even more, further increasing cancer risk.

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Long-acting drug effectively prevents HIV-like infection in monkeys

January 16, 2015 9:15 am | by Zach Veilleux, The Rockefeller Univ. | Comments

A regime of anti-HIV drugs has the potential to protect against infection in the first place. But real life can interfere; the effectiveness of this prophylactic approach declines if the medications aren’t taken as prescribed. HIV researchers hope a new compound, known as cabotegravir, could make dosing easier for some because the drug would be administered by injection once every three months.

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Software that knows the risks

January 16, 2015 8:37 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

Imagine that you could tell your phone that you want to drive from your house in Boston to a hotel in upstate New York, that you want to stop for lunch at an Applebee’s at about 12:30, and that you don’t want the trip to take more than four hours. Then imagine that your phone tells you that you have only a 66% chance of meeting those criteria.

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Bone stem cells shown to regenerate bone and cartilage in adult mice

January 16, 2015 8:24 am | by Columbia Univ. Medical Center | Comments

A stem cell capable of regenerating both bone and cartilage has been identified in bone marrow of mice. The cells, called osteochondroreticular (OCR) stem cells, were discovered by tracking a protein expressed by the cells. Using this marker, the researchers found that OCR cells self-renew and generate key bone and cartilage cells, including osteoblasts and chondrocytes.

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Shining a light on quantum dots measurement

January 16, 2015 8:14 am | by Syracuse Univ. | Comments

Due to their nanoscale dimensions and sensitivity to light, quantum dots are being used for a number of bioimaging applications including in vivo imaging of tumor cells, detection of biomolecules and measurement of pH changes. When quantum dots are introduced in biological media, proteins surround the nanoparticles and form a corona. The formation of the protein corona changes the sensitivity of the quantum dots to light.

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Perovskites provide big boost to silicon solar cells

January 16, 2015 8:05 am | by Mark Shwartz, Stanford Univ. | Comments

Stacking perovskites onto a conventional silicon solar cell dramatically improves the overall efficiency of the cell, according to a new study led by Stanford Univ. scientists. The researchers describe their novel perovskite-silicon solar cell in Energy & Environmental Science.

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Galactic “hailstorm” in the early universe

January 16, 2015 7:43 am | by Sarah Collins, Univ. of Cambridge | Comments

Two teams of astronomers led by researchers at the Univ. of Cambridge have looked back nearly 13 billion years, when the universe was less than 10% its present age, to determine how quasars regulate the formation of stars and the build-up of the most massive galaxies. The team used a combination of data gathered from powerful radio telescopes and supercomputer simulations in their study.

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Systems crucial to stability of planet compromised

January 15, 2015 3:47 pm | by Raphael Larocque-Cyr, Media Relations Office, McGill Univ. | Comments

Almost half of the processes that are crucial to maintaining the stability of the planet have become dangerously compromised by human activity. That is the view of an international team of 18 researchers who provide new evidence of significant changes in four of the nine systems which regulate the resilience of the Earth.

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Planets outside our solar system more hospitable to life than thought

January 15, 2015 3:35 pm | by Sean Bettam, Univ. of Toronto | Comments

A study by astrophysicists at the Univ. of Toronto suggests that exoplanets are more likely to have liquid water and be more habitable than we thought. Scientists have thought that exoplanets behave in a manner contrary to that of Earth. If so, exoplanets would rotate in sync with their star so that there is always one hemisphere facing it while the other hemisphere is in perpetual cold darkness.

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Tiny plant fossils a window into Earth’s landscape millions of years ago

January 15, 2015 3:30 pm | by Michelle Ma, Univ. of Washington | Comments

Minuscule, fossilized pieces of plants could tell a detailed story of what the Earth looked like 50 million years ago. An international team led by the Univ. of Washington has discovered a way to determine the tree cover and density of trees, shrubs and bushes in locations over time based on clues in the cells of plant fossils preserved in rocks and soil.

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New movie highlights FIRST students’ famous underdog robotic victory

January 15, 2015 3:15 pm | by FIRST | Comments

The stars are aligning for science and engineering, as a new movie about a high school robotics team makes its debut in theaters nationwide. The movie, “Spare Parts,” is based on FIRST Robotics Competition Team 842 - Falcon Robotics, from Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Ariz., and their famous robotic underdog victory against MIT which was chronicled in the WIRED article “La Vida Robot” in 2005.

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Team enlarges brain samples, making them easier to image

January 15, 2015 2:29 pm | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Comments

Beginning with the invention of the first microscope in the late 1500s, scientists have been trying to peer into preserved cells and tissues with ever-greater magnification. The latest generation of so-called “super-resolution” microscopes can see inside cells with resolution better than 250 nm.

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Rice-sized laser bodes well for quantum computing

January 15, 2015 2:16 pm | by Catherine Zandonella, Princeton Univ. | Comments

Princeton Univ. researchers have built a rice grain-sized laser powered by single electrons tunneling through artificial atoms known as quantum dots. The tiny microwave laser, or "maser," is a demonstration of the fundamental interactions between light and moving electrons.

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The way liquids and glasses “relax”

January 15, 2015 2:04 pm | by Michael Baum, NIST | Comments

A new insight into the fundamental mechanics of the movement of molecules recently published by researchers at NIST offers a surprising view of what happens when you pour a liquid out of a cup. More important, it provides a theoretical foundation for a molecular-level process that must be controlled to ensure the stability of important protein-based drugs at room temperature.

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Gold nanoparticles show promise for early detection of heart attacks

January 15, 2015 12:29 pm | by New York Univ. | Comments

New York Univ. Polytechnic School of Engineering professors have been collaborating with researchers from Peking Univ. on a new test strip that is demonstrating great potential for the early detection of certain heart attacks. The new colloidal gold test strip can test for cardiac troponin I (cTn-I) detection.

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