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Building better blood vessels could advance tissue engineering

April 5, 2013 8:00 am | News | Comments

One of the major obstacles to growing new organs—replacement hearts, lungs, and kidneys—is the difficulty researchers face in building blood vessels that keep the tissues alive, but new findings from the University of Michigan could help overcome this roadblock.

Light may recast copper as chemical industry "holy grail"

March 29, 2013 8:50 am | News | Comments

Wouldn't it be convenient if you could reverse the rusting of your car by shining a bright light on it? It turns out that this concept works for undoing oxidation on copper nanoparticles, and it could lead to an environmentally friendly production process for an important industrial chemical, University of Michigan engineers have discovered.

Better than X-rays: A more powerful terahertz imaging system

March 28, 2013 8:47 am | News | Comments

Low-energy terahertz radiation could potentially enable doctors to see deep into tissues without the damaging effects of X-rays, or allow security guards to identify chemicals in a package without opening it. But it's been difficult for engineers to make powerful enough systems to accomplish these promising applications. Now an electrical engineering research team at the University of Michigan has developed a laser-powered terahertz source and detector system that transmits with 50 times more power and receives with 30 times more sensitivity than existing technologies.

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Paint-on plastic electronics

March 25, 2013 7:51 am | News | Comments

Semiconducting polymers are an unruly bunch, but University of Michigan engineers have developed a new method for getting them in line that could pave the way for cheaper, greener, "paint-on" plastic electronics.

Common test may overestimate mercury exposure from dental fillings

March 21, 2013 8:16 am | News | Comments

A common test used to determine mercury exposure from dental amalgam fillings may significantly overestimate the amount of the toxic metal released from fillings, according to University of Michigan researchers. Scientists agree that dental amalgam fillings slowly release mercury vapor into the mouth. But both the amount of mercury released and the question of whether this exposure presents a significant health risk remain controversial.

Lessons from cockroaches could inform robotics

February 22, 2013 1:12 pm | News | Comments

Running cockroaches start to recover from being shoved sideways before their dawdling nervous system kicks in to tell their legs what to do, researchers have found. These new insights on how biological systems stabilize could one day help engineers design steadier robots and improve doctors' understanding of human gait abnormalities.

Water on the moon: It's been there all along

February 19, 2013 8:10 am | News | Comments

Traces of water have been detected within the crystalline structure of mineral samples from the lunar highland upper crust obtained during the Apollo missions, according to a University of Michigan researcher and his colleagues. The lunar highlands are thought to represent the original crust, crystallized from a magma ocean on a mostly molten early moon. The new findings indicate that the early moon was wet and that water there was not substantially lost during the moon's formation.

Sunlight stimulates release of climate-warming gas from melting Arctic permafrost

February 11, 2013 3:37 pm | News | Comments

Ancient carbon trapped in Arctic permafrost is extremely sensitive to sunlight and, if exposed to the surface when long-frozen soils melt and collapse, can release climate-warming carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere much faster than previously thought.

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Old drug may point way to new treatments for diabetes, obesity

February 11, 2013 8:25 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Michigan's Life Sciences Institute have found that amlexanox, an off-patent drug currently prescribed for the treatment of asthma and other uses, also reverses obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver in mice.

Study: Popular drug-carrying nanoparticles get trapped in bloodstream

February 6, 2013 12:05 pm | News | Comments

Many medically minded researchers are in hot pursuit of designs that will allow drug-carrying nanoparticles to navigate tissues and the interiors of cells, but University of Michigan engineers have discovered that these particles have another hurdle to overcome: escaping the bloodstream. According to their work, the immune system can't get rid of some of the promising drug carriers quickly.

New technique sheds light on RNA

January 29, 2013 7:48 am | News | Comments

When researchers sequence the RNA of cancer cells, they can compare it to normal cells and see where there is more RNA. That can help lead them to the gene or protein that might be triggering the cancer. But other than spotting a few known instigators, what does it mean? Is there more RNA because it's synthesizing too quickly or because it's not degrading fast enough? What part of the biological equilibrium is off? After more than a decade of work, researchers have developed a technique to help answer those questions.

Liquid metal makes silicon crystals at record low temperatures

January 25, 2013 7:35 am | News | Comments

A new way of making crystalline silicon, developed by University of Michigan researchers, could make this crucial ingredient of computers and solar cells much cheaper and greener. The researchers discovered a way to make silicon crystals, directly at just 180 F, the internal temperature of a cooked turkey, by taking advantage of a phenomenon seen in your kitchen.

A material that most liquids won’t wet

January 16, 2013 2:43 pm | News | Comments

A nanoscale coating that's at least 95% air repels the broadest range of liquids of any material in its class, causing them to bounce off the treated surface, according to the University of Michigan engineering researchers who developed it.

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Electric stimulation of brain releases opiate-like painkiller

January 2, 2013 11:00 am | News | 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.

Super-fine sound beam could one day be an invisible scalpel

December 20, 2012 7:51 am | News | Comments

A carbon nanotube-coated lens that converts light to sound can focus high-pressure sound waves to finer points than ever before. The University of Michigan engineering researchers who developed the new therapeutic ultrasound approach say it could lead to an invisible knife for noninvasive surgery.

Capturing circulating cancer cells provides insights into how disease spreads

December 12, 2012 10:48 am | News | Comments

A glass plate with a nanoscale roughness could be a simple way for scientists to capture and study the circulating tumor cells that carry cancer around the body through the bloodstream. Engineering and medical researchers at the University of Michigan have devised such a set-up, which they say takes advantage of cancer cells' stronger drive to settle and bind compared with normal blood cells.

Fuel economy remains at record high, emissions at record low

December 7, 2012 9:29 am | News | Comments

Fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the United States remains at its highest level ever, while emissions are at a record low, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

A bridge to the quantum world

December 4, 2012 12:35 pm | News | Comments

In a discovery that helps clear a new path toward quantum computers, University of Michigan physicists have found elusive Dirac electrons in a superconducting material. The combination of properties the researchers identified in a shiny, black material called copper-doped bismuth selenide adds the material to an elite class that could serve as the silicon of the quantum era.

Synthetic membrane channels built with DNA nanotechnology

November 21, 2012 9:13 am | News | Comments

In a shape inspired by a natural channel protein, the DNA-based membrane channel recently built by researchers in Michigan and Germany consists of a needle-like stem 42-nm long with an internal diameter of just 2 nm. The devices has been shown to function with lipid vesicles, and further experimentation shows the pores can act like voltage-controlled gates, just like the ion channels in living cells.

A better brain implant

November 12, 2012 7:38 am | News | Comments

A thin, flexible electrode developed at the University of Michigan is 10 times smaller than the nearest competition and could make long-term measurements of neural activity practical at last. This kind of technology could eventually be used to send signals to prosthetic limbs, overcoming inflammation larger electrodes cause that damages both the brain and the electrodes.

Stem cells and nanofibers produce promising nerve research

November 7, 2012 2:45 pm | News | Comments

Nerves often die or shrink as a result of disease or injury. Researchers in Michigan and California have recently reported success in developing polymer nanofiber technologies for understanding how nerves form, why they don’t reconnect after injury, and what can be done to prevent or slow damage. The breakthrough involves growing and myelinating nerve cells along thin polymer nanofibers.

Mobile app helps migraine suffers track, analyze pain

November 6, 2012 9:42 am | News | Comments

A new iPhone app developed at the University of Michigan lets migraine or facial pain patients easily track and record their pain, which in turn helps the treating clinician develop a pain management plan.

Biofuel breakthrough: Quick cook method turns algae into oil

November 5, 2012 9:55 am | News | Comments

Mother Nature requires a multimillion-year process to produce crude oil. Is she wasting her time? Researchers in Michigan can "pressure-cook" algae for as little as a minute and transform an unprecedented 65% of the green slime into biocrude. The process closely emulates the natural production of crude oil.

Sharing space: Proximity breeds collaboration

October 26, 2012 1:47 pm | by Diane Swanbrow | News | Comments

A new University of Michigan study shows that when researchers share a building, and especially a floor, the likelihood of forming new collaborations and obtaining funding increases dramatically. The findings make sense, but the increases were dramatic—researchers who share floors in the same building are more than 50% more likely to form collaborations than those that don’t share the same buidling.

Better fuel economy: Billions and billions saved

October 15, 2012 12:20 pm | News | Comments

As fuel economy of new vehicles improved 18% over the past five years, billions of gallons of gas and billions of pounds of emissions have been saved, say University of Michigan researchers. To reach these results, the researchers collected fuel data on 61 million new cars, pickup trucks, minivans, and SUVs sold in the U.S. since 2007.

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