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Decoded: Molecular messages that tell cancer to spread

May 2, 2013 7:53 am | News | Comments

Cancer cells are wily, well-traveled adversaries, constantly side-stepping treatments to stop their spread. But, for the first time, scientists at the University of Michigan have decoded the molecular chatter that ramps certain cancer cells into overdrive and can cause tumors to metastasize throughout the body.

Air pollution linked to hardening of arteries

April 25, 2013 11:03 am | News | Comments

Long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to heart attacks and strokes by speeding up atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries," according to a University of Michigan public health researcher and colleagues from across the U.S.

Fossil shells, new geochemical technique provide clues to ancient climate cooling

April 23, 2013 9:41 am | News | Comments

Using a new laboratory geochemical technique to analyze heavy isotopes of carbon and oxygen in fossil snail shells, scientists have gained insights into an abrupt climate shift that transformed the planet nearly 34 million years ago. At that time, the Earth switched from a warm and high-carbon dioxide "greenhouse" state to the lower-carbon dioxide, variable climate of the modern "icehouse" world.

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New software could alleviate wireless traffic

April 12, 2013 7:53 am | News | Comments

The explosive popularity of wireless devices is increasingly clogging the airwaves, resulting in dropped calls, wasted bandwidth, and botched connections. New software, called GapSense, being developed at the University of Michigan works like a stoplight to control the traffic and dramatically reduce interference.

Spring cleaning in your brain: Stem cell research shows how important it is

April 11, 2013 2:30 am | News | Comments

Deep inside your brain, a legion of stem cells lies ready to turn into new brain and nerve cells whenever and wherever you need them most. But what happens to the garbage within cells that keeps them in a stem-cell state. Years of mouse research has allowed researchers at the University of Michigan to discover how autophagy keeps neural stem cells ready to replace damaged brain and nerve cells.

Researchers invent better single-photon emitter for quantum cryptography

April 9, 2013 6:31 pm | News | Comments

In a development that could make the advanced form of secure communications known as quantum cryptography more practical, University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated a simpler, more efficient single-photon emitter that can be made using traditional semiconductor processing techniques.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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