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How stem cells can be activated to help immune system fight infection

December 5, 2014 10:49 am | by Peter Bracke, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Comments

In a recent study, Univ. of California, Los Angeles scientists have shown that two genes not previously known to be involved with the immune system play a crucial role in how progenitor stem cells are activated to fight infection. This discovery lays the groundwork for a better understanding of the role progenitor cells can play in immune system response and could lead to the development of more effective therapies for diseases.

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Big step toward using light instead of wires inside computers

December 5, 2014 10:36 am | by Chris Cesare, Stanford Univ. | Comments

Stanford Univ. engineers have designed and built a prism-like device that can split a beam of light into different colors and bend the light at right angles, a development that could eventually lead to computers that use optics, rather than electricity, to carry data.

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Yale joins with leader in 3-D organ printing to transform transplants

December 5, 2014 10:28 am | by Ziba Kashef, Yale Univ. | Comments

Researchers at Yale Univ. have joined forces with a leading 3-D biology company, Organovo, to develop 3-D printed tissues for transplant research. As the number of donors for vital tissue and organ transplants decreases worldwide and the demand for transplants increases, 3-D bioprinting technology offers a solution to a long-standing and growing problem.

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Wireless brain sensor could unchain neuroscience from cables

December 5, 2014 10:19 am | by David Orenstein, Brown Univ. | Comments

In a study in Neuron, scientists describe a new high data-rate, low-power wireless brain sensor. The technology is designed to enable neuroscience research that cannot be accomplished with current sensors that tether subjects with cabled connections. Experiments in the paper confirm that new capability.

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Study makes case for RFID forensic evidence management

December 5, 2014 10:10 am | by NIST | Comments

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags have become increasingly popular for tracking everything from automobiles being manufactured on an assembly line to zoo animals in transit to their new homes. Now, thanks to a new NIST report, the next beneficiaries of RFID technology may soon be law enforcement agencies responsible for the management of forensic evidence.

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Researchers to use algae to clean up mine water

December 5, 2014 10:04 am | by Univ. of Bristol | Comments

A groundbreaking research project by the GW4 Alliance aims to clean up water from a Cornish tin mine, using algae to harvest the precious heavy metals and produce biofuel at the same time. GW4 brings together the South West and Wales’ four leading, research-intensive universities: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter.

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Atomic “mismatch” creates nano “dumbbells”

December 5, 2014 9:55 am | by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

Like snowflakes, nanoparticles come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The geometry of a nanoparticle is often as influential as its chemical makeup in determining how it behaves, from its catalytic properties to its potential as a semiconductor component. Thanks to a new study, researchers are closer to understanding the process by which nanoparticles made of more than one material, called heterostructured nanoparticles, form.

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Research paves way for nanomovies of biomolecules

December 5, 2014 9:42 am | by Joe Caspermeyer, Biodesign Institute | Comments

An international team of researchers have caught a light-sensitive biomolecule at work using an x-ray laser. Their new study proves that high speed x-ray lasers can capture the fast dynamics of biomolecules in ultra slow-motion, revealing subtle processes with unprecedented clarity.

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Geophysicists challenge traditional theory underlying the origin of mid-plate volcanoes

December 5, 2014 9:16 am | by Virginia Tech | Comments

A long-held assumption about the Earth is discussed in Science, as a team of researchers look at how a layer beneath the Earth's crust may be responsible for volcanic eruptions. The discovery challenges conventional thought that volcanoes are caused when plates that make up the planet's crust shift and release heat.

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Flu vaccine doesn’t protect against most dominant strain

December 5, 2014 9:08 am | by Associated Press, Mike Stobbe | Comments

The flu vaccine may not be very effective this winter, according to U.S. health officials who worry this may lead to more serious illnesses and deaths. Flu season has begun to ramp up, and officials say the vaccine does not protect well against the dominant strain seen most commonly so far this year. That strain tends to cause more deaths and hospitalizations, especially in the elderly.

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Scientists uncover four-stranded elements of maize DNA

December 5, 2014 8:59 am | by Florida State Univ. | Comments

A team led by Florida State Univ. researchers has identified DNA elements in maize that could affect the expression of hundreds or thousands of genes. The team wanted to know if certain DNA structures such as the four-strand G-quadruplex (G4) DNA might exist throughout the genetic material of maize.

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A poisonous cure

December 5, 2014 8:53 am | by Michigan State Univ. Media Communications | Comments

Take two poisonous mushrooms, and call me in the morning. While no doctor would ever write this prescription, toxic fungi may hold the secrets to tackling deadly diseases. A team of Michigan State Univ. scientists has discovered an enzyme that is the key to the lethal potency of poisonous mushrooms.

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Purdue, GE collaborate on advanced manufacturing

December 5, 2014 8:32 am | by Judith Barra Austin, Purdue Univ. | Comments

Purdue Univ. announced that GE Global Research will invest up to $10 million in a five-year partnership focused on R&D in advanced manufacturing. The GE/Purdue Partnership in Research and Innovation in Advanced Manufacturing will push a new era in manufacturing, promoting technologies that enable the digitization, decentralization and democratization of manufacturing to lower cost, improve speed and drive innovation.

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Small engine packs a punch

December 5, 2014 8:15 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | Comments

Noise, excessive vibration and relative inefficiency are drawbacks of the piston-based internal combustion engines (ICE) that power today’s lawn and garden equipment, such as leaf blowers and lawn trimmers. But now Massachusetts Institute of Technology startup LiquidPiston has developed a rotary ICE that it says is significantly smaller, lighter and quieter, as well as 20% more fuel-efficient than the ICEs used in small-engine devices.

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Engineer applies robot control theory to improve prosthetic legs

December 4, 2014 11:18 am | by LaKisha Ladson, UT Dallas | Comments

A Univ. of Texas at Dallas professor applied robot control theory to enable powered prosthetics to dynamically respond to the wearer’s environment and help amputees walk. In recently published research, wearers of the robotic leg could walk on a moving treadmill almost as fast as an able-bodied person.

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