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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.

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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.

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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.

Solar wind particles likely source of water locked inside lunar soils

October 15, 2012 11:12 am | News | Comments

The most likely source of the water locked inside soils on the moon's surface is the constant stream of charged particles from the sun known as the solar wind, a University of Michigan researcher and his colleagues have concluded. Over the last five years, spacecraft observations and new laboratory measurements of Apollo lunar samples have overturned the long-held belief that the moon is bone-dry.

Smallest and fastest-known RNA switches provide new drug targets

October 8, 2012 9:40 am | News | Comments

A University of Michigan biophysical chemist and his colleagues have discovered the smallest and fastest-known molecular switches made of RNA, the chemical cousin of DNA. The researchers say these rare, fleeting structures are prime targets for the development of new antiviral and antibiotic drugs.

Climate change likely to increase Lake Erie algae blooms and 'dead zones'

September 12, 2012 7:45 am | News | Comments

Climate change is expected to increase the frequency of intense spring rain storms in the Great Lakes region throughout this century and will likely add to the number of harmful algal blooms and "dead zones" in Lake Erie, unless additional conservation actions are taken, according to a University of Michigan aquatic ecologist.

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Powerful new formulation could replace today’s best military explosive

September 6, 2012 4:41 am | News | Comments

Borrowing a technology used to improve the effectiveness of drugs, scientists at the University of Michigan and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are reporting discovery of a new explosive more powerful than the current state-of-the-art explosive used by the military, and just as safe for personnel to handle.

Math ability requires crosstalk in the brain

August 29, 2012 11:38 am | News | Comments

According to a recent study that used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain activity, the strength of communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain predicts performance on basic arithmetic problems. The findings shed light on the neural basis of human math abilities and suggest a possible route to aiding those who suffer from dyscalculia—an inability to understand and manipulate numbers.

Oil spill cleanup: Smart filter can strain oil out of water

August 28, 2012 11:46 am | News | Comments

A smart filter with a shape-shifting surface, developed by University of Michigan researchers, can separate oil and water using gravity alone, an advancement that could be useful in cleaning up environmental oil spills, among other applications. The researchers created a filter coating that repels oil but attracts water, bucking conventional materials' properties.

Entropy can lead to order, paving the route to nanostructures

July 26, 2012 10:42 am | News | Comments

Researchers trying to herd tiny particles into useful ordered formations have found an unlikely ally: entropy, a tendency generally described as "disorder." Computer simulations by University of Michigan scientists and engineers show that the property can nudge particles to form organized structures. By analyzing the shapes of the particles beforehand, they can even predict what kinds of structures will form.

Generation X is surprisingly unconcerned about climate change

July 17, 2012 6:08 am | News | Comments

As the nation suffers through a summer of record-shattering heat, a University of Michigan report finds that Generation X is lukewarm about climate change—uninformed about the causes and unconcerned about the potential dangers.

Nuclear weapons' surprising contribution to climate science

July 13, 2012 8:47 am | News | Comments

Nuclear weapons testing may at first glance appear to have little connection with climate change research. But key Cold War research laboratories and the science used to track radioactivity and model nuclear bomb blasts have today been repurposed by climate scientists.

Dark matter scaffolding of universe detected for first time

July 9, 2012 11:31 am | News | Comments

Scientists have, for the first time, directly detected part of the invisible dark matter skeleton of the universe, where more than half of all matter is believed to reside. The discovery, led by a University of Michigan physics researcher, confirms a key prediction in the prevailing theory of how the universe's current web-like structure evolved.

SwRI to build eight NASA nanosatellites

June 21, 2012 11:25 am | News | Comments

NASA has selected a team including Southwest Research Institute to develop the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), which will provide better prediction capabilities for extreme weather events, particularly the intensification of hurricanes.

Carbon emissions: U.S. fares better when considering climate

June 14, 2012 11:02 am | News | Comments

The U.S. has long been among the world's worst emitters of carbon dioxide, but when accounting for climate in addition to GDP, it is nowhere near the bottom of that list, according to University of Michigan researchers.

Vehicle fuel economy falls again in May

June 7, 2012 9:57 am | News | Comments

For the second straight month, fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the United States fell by 0.2 mpg—likely reflecting a slight drop in gas prices, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Stem cell-growing surface enables bone repair

May 25, 2012 6:05 am | News | Comments

University of Michigan researchers have proven that a special surface, free of biological contaminants, allows adult-derived stem cells to thrive and transform into multiple cell types. Their success brings stem cell therapies another step closer.

A wake-up call for manufacturing

May 24, 2012 6:42 am | News | Comments

U.S. factories produce about 75% of what the country consumes, but the right decisions by both business and political leaders could push that to 95%, say University of Michigan researchers.

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