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Mitosis mystery: How chromosomes align perfectly in a dividing cell

February 13, 2012 5:22 am | by Nicole Giese Rura | News | Comments

It’s a mystery that has puzzled researchers for years: In a cell undergoing mitotic cell division, what internal signals cause its chromosomes to align on a center axis? Using fluorescence microscopy, Tomomi Kiyomitsu at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research found the solution by observing something no one had noticed before.

Nervous system wiring may rely on just a handful of genes, proteins

February 12, 2012 4:42 pm | News | Comments

In a startling finding, researchers at the Salk Institiute have recently discovered that only a few proteins on the leading edge of a motor neuron's axon—its outgoing electrical "wire"—and within the extracellular soup it travels through guide the nerve as it emerges from the spinal cord.

Study: Electric boost helps brain to learn better

February 10, 2012 6:25 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

In a recent study, participants played a video game in which they learned the locations of stores in a virtual city. The study showed that they recalled the locations better also received a painless boost from tiny electrodes buried deep inside their brains. The finding may have uses in treating Alzheimer’s disease.

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Collaboration adds timing capability to living cell sensors

February 9, 2012 3:25 am | News | Comments

Individual cells modified to act as sensors using fluorescence are already useful tools in biochemistry, but now they can add good timing to their resumé, thanks in part to NIST. With the added capability to track the timing of dynamic biochemical reactions, cell sensors become more useful for many studies, such as measurements of protein folding or neural activity.

Brooks Automation, Scripps initiate imaging development partnership

February 8, 2012 10:00 am | News | Comments

An agreement to complete the development of a microplate imaging system invented by Scripps Research Institute engineers has been formed between the institute and Brooks Life Science Systems, a division of Brooks Automation, Inc. The system is intended for biotech and pharmaceutical companies performing high-throughput screening.

The reason why bad immunity genes persist

February 7, 2012 5:54 pm | News | Comments

Biologists have found new evidence of why mice, people and other vertebrate animals carry thousands of varieties of genes to make immune-system proteins named MHCs—even though some of those genes make vertebrate animals susceptible to infections and to autoimmune diseases.

Entire genome of extinct human decoded from fossil

February 7, 2012 12:49 pm | News | Comments

In 2010, Svante Pääbo and his colleagues decoded the genetic information from small fragment of a human finger bone discovered in Denisova Cave in southern Siberia. Now, the Leipzig, Germany-based team has develop sensitive techniques to allow them to sequence every position in the genome of this extinct group of humans using less than 10 mg of bone.

Smallest tools could give biggest results in bone repair

February 7, 2012 6:52 am | by David Tenenbaum | News | Comments

Researchers reported at a recent Orthopedic Research Society meeting that orthopedic implants "dip-coated" with modular growth factors can stimulate bone and blood vessel growth in sheep. This new modular approach, the report suggests, might be able to stimulate bone formation without side effects.

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First detailed image of nerve cells of living mouse brain

February 7, 2012 2:48 am | News | Comments

Using a stimulated emission depletion microscopy technology developed by a Max Planck Institute researcher in Germany, scientists have, for the first time, managed to record detailed live images inside the brain of a living mouse. These images, resolving to a previously impossible 70 nm, have made the minute structures visible which allow nerve cells to communicate with each other.

CRAIC Technologies introduces the Scientific Concierge Service

February 3, 2012 8:56 am | News | Comments

CRAIC Technologies Inc. has introduced its Scientific Concierge Service. Offered to CRAIC customers and prospective customers, the service is staffed with a support team who can guide them through their purchase and coordinate installation, delivery, and training.

Flow-chip holder lets researchers see cells in native environment

February 1, 2012 4:04 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Virginia Tech have developed a way to isolate biological specimens in a flowing, liquid environment while enclosing those specimens in the high-vacuum system of a transmission electron microscope. The new platform lets them peer into the world of cells and molecules within a native, liquid environment.

First-of-its-kind head patch monitors brain blood flow and oxygen

February 1, 2012 11:09 am | News | Comments

A research team led by investigators at Mayo Clinic in Florida has found that a small device worn on a patient's brow can be useful in monitoring blood oxygen in stroke patients in the hospital. Unlike a pulse oximeter, which also performs this task, the head patch uses near-infrared spectroscopy to quickly the presence of another stroke.

Scientists spy how mysterious protein handles toxic payload

January 27, 2012 6:51 am | News | Comments

The function of the protein mitoNEET, an important player in diabetes, cancer and aging, is slowly revealing itself to researchers. At Rice University, a combination of laboratory experiments and computer modeling have show how the protein’s iron-sulfur cluster is involved in the process of apoptosis.

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Spin-out company to market portable biohazard detection

January 27, 2012 4:05 am | News | Comments

A new company formed around Michigan State University nanotechnology promises to move speedy detection of deadly pathogens and toxins from the laboratory directly to the field. The company, nanoRETE, will develop and commercialize an inexpensive test for handheld biosensors to detect a broad range of threats such as E.coli , Salmonella, anthrax, and tuberculosis.

X-ray crystallography reveals how body tears down proteins

January 24, 2012 11:39 am | News | Comments

Defective proteins that are not disposed of by the body can cause diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. The 26S proteasome is responsible for this house-keeping duty, and for the first time an international team of scientists have observed the structure of this biological machinery.

Vitamin D receptor visualized for the first time in 3D

January 24, 2012 7:13 am | News | Comments

Until now, researchers had only been able to study two parts of the vitamin D receptor at close range. The new 3D model obtained by a team in France gives researchers key information on the 3D structure and action mechanism of the receptor, which is crucial in several areas of pharmaceutical research.

Model explains calcium’s crucial role in life and death

January 23, 2012 2:53 am | News | Comments

Calcium ions moving through cellular channels act as intracellular messengers, relaying information that regulates the activity of the proteins that control many critical processes of life and death. Scientists at RIKEN Brain Science Institute have built a new model that explains the molecular changes that open and close the internal membrane channels for calcium ions.

Scientists pause research with lab-bred bird flu

January 23, 2012 2:19 am | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

After two laboratories reported created new, easier-to-spread version of the deadly bird flu viruses, research was temporarily halted on Jan. 20. The pause comes as fierce debate intensifies over how to handle this high-risk research.

A nanolab for the classroom

January 20, 2012 7:31 am | News | Comments

Professor Albert van den Berg, a professor at the University of Twente in The Netherlands and a 2009 Spinoza Prize winner, has developed a lab-on-a-chip teaching kit intended to bring both nanotechnology and biotechnology to the classroom. The first kits of being tested at the university and at a secondary school.

Team discovers how protein in teardrops annihilates harmful bacteria

January 20, 2012 7:07 am | News | Comments

By tethering a disease-fighting protein in our teardrops to a tiny transistor, University of California, Irvine scientists have discovered exactly how it destroys dangerous bacteria. This protein has “jaws” that latch on and chomp through rows of cell walls like someone hungrily devouring an ear of corn.

New imaging technique for analysis of biological samples

January 20, 2012 3:51 am | News | Comments

When trying to understand how cells respond to toxins, scientists want to do as little sample preparation as possible. Preparing these cells by immersing them in chemicals or drying them out can erase vital information. At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, scientists  proved that a new ionization technique they developed in 2009 can provide fingerprint and locate proteins, amino acids, and other chemicals in cells that make up tissues or microbial communities using mass spectrometry.

Undersea vents reveal evolution’s primordial mechanism

January 19, 2012 6:11 am | News | Comments

At first glance, volcanic-hydrothermal vents appear hostile to life, but even in these lightless, high-pressure zones life persists. Researchers in Germany have used this environment to discover the mechanism behind which a few biomolecules can produce an avalanche of self-expanding metabolism that may resemble how life first emerged.

Motion capture to look at tennis injuries does away with markers

January 17, 2012 5:15 pm | News | Comments

Traditional motion capture technology works by attaching markers to a subject’s skin or clothing and tracking them as the subject moves. A new system of eight video cameras, shooting from different angles, can now quantify a person’s movements without having the limitations of wiring attached to the subject.

Biologists replicate key evolutionary step in life on Earth

January 16, 2012 12:21 pm | News | Comments

Just how single-celled organisms began forming multi-cellular clusters—that ultimately became plants and animals—500 million years ago has remained a mystery. Evolutionary biologists believe they’ve cracked the puzzle, however, and have recently replicated this crucial step in the laboratory using common Brewer's yeast, a single-celled organism.

Chemists debunk myth about powerful drug amphotericin

January 16, 2012 12:04 pm | News | Comments

An elegant approach to synthesizing amphotericin B, which has been used extensively as an antifungal for more than 50 years, has allowed researchers to learn its elusive mode of action. The finding may change drug development directions and improve antifungal treatments, but there is still a downside to the drug.

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