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Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultra-fast data collection

October 23, 2014 8:29 am | by Michael Baum, NIST | News | Comments

When studying extremely fast reactions in ultra-thin materials, two measurements are better than one. A new research tool invented by researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Johns Hopkins Univ. and NIST captures information about both temperature and crystal structure during extremely fast reactions in thin-film materials.

Big black holes can block new stars

October 21, 2014 10:46 am | by Dennis O'Shea, Johns Hopkins Univ. | News | Comments

Massive black holes spewing out radio frequency-emitting particles at near-light speed can block...

Leaky, star-forming galaxies help researchers better understand the universe

October 10, 2014 10:57 am | by Tracey Reeves, Johns Hopkins Univ. | News | Comments

By focusing on large, star-forming galaxies in the universe, researchers at Johns Hopkins Univ....

Protons power protein portal to push zinc out of cells

June 23, 2014 8:01 am | News | Comments

Researchers at The Johns Hopkins Univ. report they have deciphered the inner workings of a...

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Scientists figure out staying power of HIV-fighting enzyme

May 2, 2014 11:24 am | News | Comments

Johns Hopkins Univ. biochemists have figured out what is needed to activate and sustain the virus-fighting activity of an enzyme found in CD4+ T cells, the human immune cells infected by HIV. The discovery could launch a more effective strategy for preventing the spread of HIV in the body with drugs targeting this enzyme, they say.

Caffeine’s positive effect on memory

January 13, 2014 7:37 am | Videos | Comments

Whether it's a mug full of fresh-brewed coffee, a cup of hot tea or a can of soda, consuming caffeine is the energy boost of choice for millions who want to wake up or stay up. Now, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Univ. have found another use for the popular stimulant: memory enhancer.

Key found to restoring “exhausted” HIV-fighting immune cells

December 3, 2013 8:07 am | News | Comments

Researchers have identified a protein that causes loss of function in immune cells combating HIV. The scientists report in a paper appearing online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that the protein, Sprouty-2, is a promising target for future HIV drug development, since disabling it could help restore the cells’ ability to combat the virus that causes AIDS.

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Football-shaped particles bolster body’s defense against cancer

October 14, 2013 7:58 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Univ. have succeeded in making flattened, football-shaped artificial particles that impersonate immune cells. These football-shaped particles seem to be better than the typical basketball-shaped particles at teaching immune cells to recognize and destroy cancer cells in mice.

Researchers aim to use light to restore healthy heartbeats

August 28, 2013 2:48 pm | News | Comments

When a beating heart slips into an irregular, life-threatening rhythm, the treatment is well known: deliver a burst of electric current from a pacemaker or defibrillator. But because the electricity itself can cause pain, tissue damage and other serious side-effects, a Johns Hopkins-led research team wants to use laboratory data and an intricate computer model replace these jolts with a kinder, gentler remedy: light.

Researchers warn that DNA puzzles are overwhelming computer systems

July 15, 2013 3:19 pm | News | Comments

Scientists in the new but fast-growing field of computational genomics are facing a dilemma. These researchers have begun to assemble the chemical blueprints of the DNA found in humans, animals, plants and microbes. But a flood of unassembled genetic data is being produced much faster than current computers can turn it into useful information, two scholars in the field are warning.

Researchers explain magnetic field misbehavior in solar flares

May 23, 2013 8:39 am | News | Comments

When a solar flare filled with charged particles erupts from the sun, its magnetic fields sometimes break a widely accepted rule of physics. The flux-freezing theorem dictates that the magnetic lines of force should flow away in lock-step with the particles, whole and unbroken. Instead, the lines sometimes break apart and quickly reconnect in a way that has mystified astrophysicists.

Technique finds software bugs in surgical robots

April 9, 2013 5:08 am | News | Comments

Surgical robots could make some types of surgery safer and more effective, but proving that the software controlling these machines works as intended is problematic. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Johns Hopkins University have demonstrated that methods for reliably detecting software bugs and ultimately verifying software safety can be applied successfully to this breed of robot.

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Creating magnetic superatoms

April 3, 2013 8:39 am | News | Comments

Sounding like something out of a comic book, superatoms are not only an enticing idea, but experiments have confirmed they exist. Scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University have collaborated with scientists from Johns Hopkins University to synthesize the first magnetic superatoms.

Backpack-sized mini-mapper captures intel in tight spots

March 27, 2013 7:44 am | News | Comments

Engineers have recently developed a portable mapping system—carried in a backpack—that can be used to automatically create annotated physical maps of locations where GPS is not available, such as in underground areas and on ships. The system improves upon algorithms once developed for robots—which are not practical for all environments—and has a built-in allowance for normal human movement, like walking.

New database to speed genetic discoveries

March 18, 2013 3:32 pm | News | Comments

A new online database combining symptoms, family history and genetic sequencing information is speeding the search for diseases caused by a single rogue gene. As described in an article in the May issue of Human Mutation, the database, known as PhenoDB, enables any clinician to document cases of unusual genetic diseases for analysis by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine or the Baylor College of Medicine.

Giving transplanted cells a nanotech checkup

February 6, 2013 12:18 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have devised a way to detect whether cells previously transplanted into a living animal are alive or dead, an innovation they say is likely to speed the development of cell replacement therapies for conditions such as liver failure and type 1 diabetes.

Controlling particles for directed self-assembly of colloidal crystals

January 18, 2013 8:29 am | News | Comments

Researchers from the NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology and Johns Hopkins University have developed a technique to reliably manipulate hundreds of individual micrometer-sized colloid particles to create crystals with controlled dimensions. The accomplishment is an important milestone for understanding how to direct and control the assembly of microscale and nanoscale objects for nanomanufacturing applications.

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Computers “taught” to identify regulating gene sequences

November 5, 2012 4:56 pm | News | Comments

Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers have succeeded in teaching computers how to identify commonalities in DNA sequences known to regulate gene activity, and to then use those commonalities to predict other regulatory regions throughout the genome. The tool is expected to help scientists better understand disease risk and cell development.    

Scientists discover how an out-of-tune protein leads to heart muscle failure

September 13, 2012 4:25 am | News | Comments

Troponin I, found exclusively in heart muscle, is already used as the gold-standard marker in blood tests to diagnose heart attacks, but the new findings by Johns Hopkins University researchers reveal why and how the same protein is also altered in heart muscle malfunctions that lead to heart failure. Scientists have known of “out-of-tune” proteins for a while, but the precise origin had remained unclear.

Understanding the blood-brain barrier by building one

August 22, 2012 9:14 am | News | Comments

Much like a sentry at a border crossing, the network of tiny blood vessels surrounding the brain only allows a few important molecules in or out. This is the blood-brain barrier, which shields the brain from potentially harmful substances. Researchers are hoping to better understand this little understood roadblock by creating an artificially engineered, or simulated, barrier.

Could FastStitch device be the future of suture?

August 17, 2012 3:55 am | News | Comments

To cut down on postoperative problems, particularly those involving abdomenal surgery, Johns Hopkins undergraduates have invented a disposable suturing tool to guide the placement of stitches and guard against the accidental puncture of internal organs. Called FastStitch, it’s described a cross between a pliers and a hole-puncher.

Tumor cells change when put into a “tight spot”

August 1, 2012 11:45 am | by Allison Chambliss, Johns Hopkins University | News | Comments

Surprisingly, 90% of cancer deaths are caused from metastasis,the migration of cancer cells from a primary tumor to other parts of the body, not from the primary tumor alone. To better understand what happens to cells affected by this process, Johns Hopkins University researchers have fabricated a microfluidic-based cell migration chamber that has already yielded surprising results.

Discovery of 'master molecule' could improve treatment for heart attacks

June 22, 2012 5:41 am | News | Comments

Johns Hopkins University researchers have discovered that a single protein molecule may hold the key to turning cardiac stem cells into blood vessels or muscle tissue, a finding that may lead to better ways to treat heart attack patients.

Paddle vs. propeller: Which competitive swimming stroke is superior?

June 19, 2012 12:28 pm | News | Comments

Two swimming strokes—one that pulls through the water like a boat paddle and another that whirls to the side like a propeller—are commonly used by athletes training for the Olympic Games. But elite swimmers and their coaches have long argued over which arm motion is more likely to propel an aquatic star toward a medal. A university research study has picked a winner.

Tiny 'speed bump' device could sort cancer cells

June 13, 2012 4:08 am | News | Comments

In life, we sort soiled laundry from clean; ripe fruit from rotten. Two Johns Hopkins engineers say they have found an easy way to use gravity or simple forces to similarly sort microscopic particles and bits of biological matter—including circulating tumor cells.

Researchers demonstrate primitive mechanism of chemical into self-replication

May 29, 2012 3:54 am | News | Comments

When scientists think about the replication of information in chemistry, they usually have in mind something akin to what happens in living organisms when DNA gets copied: a double-stranded molecule that contains sequence information makes two new copies of the molecule. But researchers at the California Institute of Technology have now shown that a different mechanism can also be used to copy sequence information.

Nanoparticle shape may be key for delivery to cancer cells

May 18, 2012 6:30 am | by Colin Paul, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Johns Hopkins University | News | Comments

Scientists had originally thought they could create a “magic bullet” to patrol for cancer cells in the body, but only 5% of injected nanoparticles reach the targeted tumor using current delivery techniques. A Johns Hopkins University scientist is now working on techniques to specify nanoparticle size and shape and improve the chances that the drug will find its target.

Electric fish weak on charge, strong on adaptation

April 10, 2012 6:33 am | by Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent, and Ann Kellan, Science Nation Producer | News | Comments

An electric eel can generate enough current to stun its prey, just like a Taser. Weakly electric fish can also generate electricity, but not enough to do any harm. However, researchers have found that the animal’s ability to use an electric field to communicate, navigate, and hunt offers inspiration for a variety of engineering projects.

A close-up view of Mercury

March 22, 2012 3:52 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

New observations from a spacecraft orbiting Mercury have revealed that the tiny, pockmarked planet harbors a highly unusual interior—and the craft's glimpse of Mercury's surface topography suggests the planet has had a very dynamic history.

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