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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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Programming adult stem cells to treat muscular dystrophy

July 23, 2015 5:25 pm | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Stem cells hold great potential for addressing a variety of conditions from spinal cord injuries to cancer, but they can be difficult to control. Scientists are now reporting in ACS Nano a new way to mimic the body’s natural approach to programming these cells. Using this method, they successfully directed adult stem cells to turn specifically into muscle, which could potentially help treat patients with muscular dystrophy.

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Finding could lead to cheap, efficient metal-based solar cells

July 23, 2015 3:15 pm | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | Comments

New research from Rice Univ. could make it easier for engineers to harness the power of light-capturing nanomaterials to boost the efficiency and reduce the costs of photovoltaic solar cells. Although the domestic solar-energy industry grew by 34% in 2014, fundamental technical breakthroughs are needed if the U.S. is to meet its national goal of reducing the cost of solar electricity to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.

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Make mine a decaf: Breakthrough in knowledge of how nanoparticles grow

July 23, 2015 2:30 pm | by Univ. of Leicester | Comments

A team of researchers from the Univ. of Leicester and France's G2ELab-CNRS in Grenoble have, for the first time, observed the growth of free nanoparticles in helium gas in a process similar to the decaffeination of coffee, providing new insights into the structure of nanoparticles. Nanoparticles have a very large surface area compared with their volume and are often able to react very quickly.

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Boosting wireless power transfer with magnetic field enhancement

July 23, 2015 1:15 pm | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | Comments

Research from North Carolina State Univ. and Carnegie Mellon Univ. shows that passing wireless power transfer through a magnetic resonance field enhancer (MRFE)—which can be as simple as a copper loop—can boost the transfer efficiency by at least 100% as compared to transferring through air alone. MRFE use could potentially boost transfer efficiency by as much as 5,000% in some systems, experts say.

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Improving strength and modulus in carbon fibers

July 23, 2015 10:45 am | by Rick Robinson, Georgia Institute of Technology | Comments

Carbon fibers are stronger and lighter than steel, and composite materials based on carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers are being used in an expanding range of aerospace, automotive and other applications. It’s widely believed, moreover, that carbon-fiber technology has the potential to produce composites at least 10 times stronger than those in use today.

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New theory says dark matter acts like well-known particle

July 23, 2015 7:48 am | by Kavli Institute | Comments

A new theory says dark matter acts remarkably similar to subatomic particles known to science since the 1930s. We owe a lot to dark matter: It is the thing keeping galaxies, stars, our solar system and our bodies intact. Yet no one has been able to observe it, and it has often been regarded as a totally new exotic form of matter, such as a particle moving in extra dimensions of space or its quantum version, super-symmetry.

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Boosting gas mileage by turning engine heat into electricity

July 23, 2015 7:33 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Automakers are looking for ways to improve their fleets’ average fuel efficiency, and scientists may have a new way to help them. In a recent report, one team reports the development of a material that could convert engine heat that’s otherwise wasted into electrical energy to help keep a car running, and reduce the need for fuels. It could also have applications in aerospace, manufacturing and other sectors.

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