Researchers at Oregon State Univ. have discovered that one gene in a common fungus acts as a master regulator, and deleting it has opened access to a wealth of new compounds that have never before been studied—with the potential to identify new antibiotics.
Cisplatin is a chemotherapy drug given to more than half of all cancer patients. The drug kills cells very effectively by damaging nuclear DNA, but if tumors become resistant to cisplatin they often grow back. A new study offers a possible way to overcome that resistance. The researchers found that when cisplatin was delivered to cellular structures called mitochondria, DNA in this organelle was damaged, leading to cancer cell death.
Slapping a 20% tax on soda in Britain could cut the number of obese adults by about 180,000, according to a new study. Though the number works out to a modest drop of 1.3% in obesity, scientists say that reduction would still be worthwhile in the U.K., which has a population of about 63 million and is the fattest country in Western Europe. About one in four Britons is obese.
Doctors may one day be able to control a patient's HIV infection in a new way: injecting swarms of germ-fighting antibodies, two new studies suggest. In monkeys, that strategy sharply reduced blood levels of a cousin of HIV. The results also gave tantalizing hints that someday the tactic might help destroy the AIDS virus in its hiding places in the body, something current drugs cannot do.
Taking inspiration from the human immune system, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have created a new material that can be programmed to identify an endless variety of molecules. The new material resembles tiny sheets of Velcro, each just one-hundred nanometers across. But instead of securing your sneakers, this molecular Velcro mimics the way natural antibodies recognize viruses and toxins.
The increasingly powerful microscopes used in biomedical imaging provide biologists with 3-D images of hundreds of cells, and cells in these images are often layered on each other. Under these conditions, it is impossible for traditional computational methods to determine the cells' properties. Researchers have developed a virtual tool that can analyze dozens of images in just an hour. This works out to hundreds of cells.
Researchers using transmission electron microscopy have examined the smallest building block of coral that can be identified: sphemlites. These studies have revealed three distinct regions whose formation could be directly correlated to the time of day. These findings could help scientists and environmentalists working to protect and conserve coral from the threats of acidification and rising water temperatures.
What does the coastal community of Bolinas, Calif., have in common with the impoverished island nation of Haiti? The surprising answer is a fledgling sanitation strategy whereby human waste is composted into nutrient-rich fertilizer, all supported by research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist Gary Andersen.
The first dynamic regulatory system that prevents the build-up of toxic metabolites in engineered microbes has been reported by a team of researchers with the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI). The JBEI researchers used their system to double the production in Escherichia coli (E. coli) of amorphadiene, a precursor to the premier antimalarial drug artemisinin.
The demand for algae is surging as researchers discover new applications for it across the food, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, cosmetic and biofuel industries. Algae can be used as a nutritional supplement to add vitamins or healthy fats to food; as a producer of biologic and all-natural drugs; as an antioxidant in food supplements or rich oils in cosmetics and as the basis for clean fuels such as biodiesel.
A new study from Yale School of Medicine uncovers clues as to how a key part of the immune system is regulated to avoid tissue injury to human organs after stroke or transplant. The study focuses on a type of white blood cell called a neutrophil, and how regulation of the granules inside can protect organs such as kidneys from injury.
In a pair of studies that exploit the genetic sequencing of the “missing link” cold virus, rhinovirus C, scientists at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison have constructed a 3-D model of the pathogen that shows why there is no cure yet for the common cold. The new cold virus model was built in silico, drawing on advanced bioinformatics and the genetic sequences of 500 rhinovirus C genomes, which provided 3-D coordinates of the viral capsid.
In a breakthrough described by one international expert as “a wonderful piece of lateral thinking”, a team of researchers from The Univ. of Western Australia has helped develop a novel nanoparticle light filter system which stimulates the growth of useful microalgal organisms.
Accurate and rapid testing for drug toxicity just became easier, thanks to a half-dozen Rice Univ. student interns working at Houston-based startup Nano3D Biosciences (n3D). The bioengineering and nanoscale physics students just wrapped up a year-long effort to aid the company in developing a new method for conducting high-throughput, in vitro cytotoxicity assays.
Digs over the years at the La Brea Tar Pits in the heart of Los Angeles have unearthed bones of mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed cats and dire wolves that became trapped in ponds of sticky asphalt. But it's the smaller discoveries, like plants, insects and rodents, that in recent years are shaping scientists' views of life in the region 11,000 to 50,000 years ago.
Bee stings can be painful, and for people who are allergic to the bee’s venom, they can be deadly. But a new study from Yale School of Medicine finds that the key toxic component in bee venom—the major allergen—can actually induce immunity and protect against future allergic reactions to the toxin.
Dendrites, the branch-like projections of neurons, were once thought to be passive wiring in the brain. But now researchers at the Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have shown that these dendrites do more than relay information from one neuron to the next. They actively process information, multiplying the brain's computing power.
Structures that put a spin on light reveal tiny amounts of DNA with 50 times better sensitivity than the best current methods, a collaboration between the Univ. of Michigan and Jiangnan Univ. in China has shown. Highly sensitive detection of DNA can help with diagnosing patients, solving crimes and identifying the origins of biological contaminants such as a pathogen in a water supply.
Hasselt Univ. and INOVA Diagnostics are pleased to announce the completion of an exclusive, worldwide license agreement and research collaboration for technology developed at the University. This technology represents an important advance in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). VIB, the Flemish life sciences research institute, assisted Hasselt Univ. in patenting the RA markers and in the license negotiations.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a stronger, single-ingredient version hydrocodone, the widely abused prescription painkiller. The agency said it approved the extended-release pill Zohydro ER for patients with pain that requires "daily, around-the-clock, long-term treatment" that cannot be treated with other drugs.
Whatever the industry, researchers and scientists in laboratories are certain to use analytical and laboratory instruments such as analyzers, balances, chillers, fume hoods, meters, mixers/stirrers and spectrometers in their work. Researchers and laboratory managers are likely to ask several questions before selecting or purchasing this equipment, however.
The act of walking is seldom given a second thought, but upon closer inspection locomotion is less straightforward. In particular, the ankle is an anatomical jumble, and its role in maintaining stability and motion has not been well characterized. A device called the “Anklebot” could help matters by measuring the stiffness of the ankle in various directions.
The effects of gravity are relevant when building houses or flying airplanes, but biologists have generally accepted that the average cell is too small for gravity to play a role in how it is built or behaves. A finding by Princeton Univ. researchers now shows gravity imposes a size constraint on cells. The results provide a novel reason why most animal cells are small and of similar size.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers found thousands of gene enhancers, regulatory sequences of DNA that act to turn-on or amplify the expression of a specific gene, that are involved in the development of the human face. These enhancers help explain why every human face is as unique as a fingerprint.
Cancer researchers from Rice Univ. have deciphered the operating principles of a genetic switch that cancer cells use to decide when to metastasize and invade other parts of the body. The study found that the on-off switch’s dynamics also allows a third choice that lies somewhere between “on” and “off.” The extra setting both explains previously confusing experimental results and opens the door to new avenues of cancer treatment.