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Unraveling root growth control network

January 6, 2015 3:18 pm | by Andy Fell, UC Davis News Service | News | Comments

Green shoots are a sign of spring, but growing those shoots and roots is a complicated process. Now researchers at the Univ. of California, Davis (UC Davis) and the Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst have, for the first time, described part of the network of genetic controls that allows a plant to grow.

When DNA gets sent to time-out

January 6, 2015 10:21 am | by Catherine Kolf, Johns Hopkins Univ. | News | Comments

For a skin cell to do its job, it must turn on a completely different set of genes than a liver cell—and keep genes it doesn’t need switched off. One way of turning off large groups of genes at once is to send them to “time-out” at the edge of the nucleus, where they are kept quiet. New research from Johns Hopkins sheds light on how DNA gets sent to the nucleus’ far edge, a process critical to controlling genes and determining cell fate.

“Flying carpet” technique uses graphene to deliver one-two punch of anticancer drugs

January 6, 2015 10:02 am | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

An international team of researchers has developed a drug delivery technique that utilizes graphene strips as “flying carpets” to deliver two anticancer drugs sequentially to cancer cells, with each drug targeting the distinct part of the cell where it will be most effective. The technique was found to perform better than either drug in isolation when tested in a mouse model targeting a human lung cancer tumor.

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How enzymes from white blood cells function

January 6, 2015 7:26 am | by Nathan Hurst, Univ. of Missouri | News | Comments

As a part of the human immune system, white blood cells create a number of enzymes that help fight disease. Sometimes, these enzymes damage tissues in inflammatory diseases. Now, researchers at the Univ. of Missouri, have determined that one of these enzymes, known as MMP12, does not remain outside of cells while it fights infections, but rather it can travel all the way to the center of cells.

DNA origami could lead to nano “transformers” for biomedical applications

January 5, 2015 3:59 pm | by Pam Frost Gorder, Ohio State Univ. | Videos | Comments

If the new nanomachines built at The Ohio State Univ. look familiar, it’s because they were designed with full-size mechanical parts such as hinges and pistons in mind. The project is the first to prove that the same basic design principles that apply to typical full-size machine parts can also be applied to DNA; and can produce complex, controllable components for future nanorobots.

“Glowing” new nanotechnology guides cancer surgery

January 5, 2015 3:41 pm | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers at Oregon State Univ. have developed a new way to selectively insert compounds into cancer cells—a system that will help surgeons identify malignant tissues and then, in combination with phototherapy, kill any remaining cancer cells after a tumor is removed. It’s about as simple as, “If it glows, cut it out.” And if a few malignant cells remain, they’ll soon die.

Watching nanoscale assembly live

January 5, 2015 9:57 am | by Max Ryadnov, National Physical Laboratory | News | Comments

Ebola virus, Alzheimer's amyloid fibrils, tissue collagen scaffolds and cellular cytoskeleton are all filamentous structures that spontaneously assemble from individual proteins. Many protein filaments are well studied and are already finding use in regenerative medicine, molecular electronics and diagnostics. However, the very process of their assembly, protein fibrillogenesis, remains largely unrevealed.

HIV vaccines should avoid viral target cells

January 5, 2015 8:09 am | by Lisa Newbern, Emory Univ. | News | Comments

Vaccines designed to protect against HIV can backfire and lead to increased rates of infection. This unfortunate effect has been seen in more than one vaccine clinical trial. Scientists at Emory Univ. have newly published results that support a straightforward explanation for the backfire effect: vaccination may increase the number of immune cells that serve as viral targets.

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Research suggests approach to treat virus causing respiratory illness in children

January 5, 2015 8:01 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

New research findings point toward a class of compounds that could be effective in combating infections caused by enterovirus D68, which has stricken children with serious respiratory infections in the U.S. and elsewhere. The researchers used x-ray crystallography to learn the precise structure of the original strain of EV-D68 on its own and when bound to an anti-viral compound called "pleconaril."

Predicting superbugs’ countermoves to new drugs

January 5, 2015 7:29 am | by Robin Ann Smith, Duke Univ. | News | Comments

With drug-resistant bacteria on the rise, even common infections that were easily controlled for decades are proving trickier to treat with standard antibiotics. New drugs are desperately needed, but so are ways to maximize the effective lifespan of these drugs. To accomplish that, Duke Univ. researchers used software they developed to predict a constantly evolving infectious bacterium's countermoves to one of these new drugs ahead of time.

Plant genetic advance could lead to more efficient biofuel conversion

January 5, 2015 7:14 am | by Janet Lathrop, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst | News | Comments

Plant geneticists from the Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst and the Univ. of California, Davis have sorted out the gene regulatory networks that control cell wall thickening by the synthesis of the three polymers, cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. The plant geneticists say that the most rigid of the polymers, lignin, represents “a major impediment” to extracting sugars from plant biomass that can be used to make biofuels.

Testing anti-drinking drug with help of a fake bar

January 2, 2015 3:39 pm | by By Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

The tequila sure looks real, so do the beer taps. Inside the hospital at the National Institutes of Health, researchers are testing a possible new treatment to help heavy drinkers cut back, using a replica of a fully stocked bar. The idea: Sitting in the dimly lit bar-laboratory should cue the volunteers' brains to crave a drink, and help determine if the experimental pill counters that urge.

Speeding cyanobacteria growth “brightens” biofuel’s future

January 2, 2015 9:27 am | by Mary Beckman, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | News | Comments

Rapidly growing bacteria that live in the ocean and can manufacture their own food hold promise as host organisms for producing chemicals, biofuels and medicine. Researchers are closely studying one of these photosynthetic species of fast-growing cyanobacteria using advanced tools developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to determine the optimum environment that contributes to record growth and productivity.

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Gelatin nanoparticles could deliver drugs to the brain

January 2, 2015 8:12 am | by Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Stroke victims could have more time to seek treatment that could reduce harmful effects on the brain, thanks to tiny blobs of gelatin that could deliver the medication to the brain noninvasively. Univ. of Illinois researchers found that gelatin nanoparticles could be laced with medications for delivery to the brain, and that they could extend the treatment window for when a drug could be effective.

Nanotech used to engineer ACL replacements

January 2, 2015 7:50 am | by Amanda Morris, Northwestern Univ. | News | Comments

Lindsey Vonn. Derrick Rose. Tom Brady. Mickey Mantle. They have all fallen victim to the dreaded pop of the knee. Connecting the femur to the tibia, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture is one of the most devastating injuries in sports. No other injury has sidelined more athletes for a season or even the rest of a career.

Defying textbook science, study finds new role for proteins

January 2, 2015 7:44 am | by Julie Kiefer, Univ. of Utah Heath Sciences Office of Public Affairs | News | Comments

Open any introductory biology textbook and one of the first things you’ll learn is that our DNA spells out the instructions for making proteins, tiny machines that do much of the work in our body’s cells. Results from a study published in Science defy textbook science, showing for the first time that the building blocks of a protein, called amino acids, can be assembled without blueprints.

Grant Supports Use of Data Science to Optimize HIV Care

December 30, 2014 9:30 am | by Brown University | News | Comments

HIV can be treated, but not every infection responds the same way. Treatment requires monitoring and testing, a practice that can become expensive for health care systems in the developing world.                                    

UNC Project-China Uses Crowdsourcing to Promote HIV Testing

December 30, 2014 9:25 am | by UNC Health Care | News | Comments

The project, “Testing Saves Lives,” asked community organizations that provide HIV testing services across China to submit videos on the importance of getting tested. The videos were judged based on whether they generated interest about HIV testing, proposed ways to reach untested individuals and engaged the community.

Using Light to Produce Natural Sleep Patterns

December 30, 2014 9:13 am | by MIT | News | Comments

Getting enough of the right kind of sleep is crucial for keeping both body and mind healthy. Now a team of researchers at MIT has moved a step closer to being able to produce natural sleep patterns.                

New Non-invasive method can detect Alzheimer's disease early

December 26, 2014 4:20 pm | by Megan Fellman, McCormick Northwestern Engineering | News | Comments

No methods currently exist for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, which affects one out of nine people over the age of 65. Now, an interdisciplinary team of Northwestern University scientists and engineers has developed a noninvasive MRI approach that can detect the disease in a living animal. And it can do so at the earliest stages of the disease, well before typical Alzheimer’s symptoms appear.

In the face of stress, flies unite

December 26, 2014 4:10 pm | by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne | News | Comments

Fruit flies respond more effectively to danger when in a group. A research team from EPFL and UNIL discovered this behavior as well as the neural circuits which relay this information, opening a new field of research. An article on the findings is being published today in Nature.

Biomedical team creates ‘nerve on a chip’

December 26, 2014 4:04 pm | by Tulane University | News | Comments

Michael J. Moore and J. Lowry Curley first met in the laboratory as professor and student. Now the two Tulane University researchers have started a new biomedical company that’s winning praise and awards.                                        

New technology makes 3-D tissues, maybe organs in the future

December 22, 2014 10:34 am | Videos | Comments

A new instrument could someday build replacement human organs the way electronics are assembled today: with precise picking and placing of parts. In this case, the parts are not resistors and capacitors, but 3-D microtissues containing thousands to millions of living cells that need a constant stream of fluid to bring them nutrients and to remove waste. The new device is called “BioP3” for pick, place, and perfuse.

Lost memories might be able to be restored

December 22, 2014 10:01 am | News | Comments

New UCLA research indicates that lost memories can be restored. The findings offer some hope for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. For decades, most neuroscientists have believed that memories are stored at the synapsesm which are destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease. The new study provides evidence contradicting the idea that long-term memory is stored at synapses.

Landmark discovery in gold nanorod instability

December 18, 2014 3:14 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology have discovered an instability in gold nanoparticles that is critical for their application in future technology. Gold nanorods are important building blocks for future applications in solar cells, cancer therapy and optical circuitry.

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