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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.

Automated imaging to greatly speed whole-brain mapping efforts

January 16, 2012 7:52 am | by Peter Tarr | News | Comments

Until now, methods to obtain highly detailed anatomical images of whole brains have been painstakingly slow and available only to a handful of specialized research teams. Neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have adapted two-photon microscopy to open 3D whole brain mapping to a much wider field of researchers.


‘Bubblegram’ imaging reveals inner working of viruses

January 12, 2012 10:49 am | News | Comments

Despite cryo-electron microscopy’s ability to resolve viruses, scientists have been unable to clearly visualize structures inside of viruses because radiation is used to image them. Reserachers at the National Institutes of Health invented a new technique that turns this radiation into an imaging asset.

Company announces low-cost DNA decoding machine

January 12, 2012 10:05 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Biotechnology company Life Technologies Corp. announced it has developed a machine to decode an individual's DNA in a day for $1,000, a long-sought price goal for making the genome useful for medical care.

Lab method uses mass spectrometry to detect staph infections

January 12, 2012 5:25 am | News | Comments

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed a new laboratory test that can rapidly identify the bacterium responsible for staph infections. This new test takes advantage of unique isotopic labeling combined with specific bacteriophage amplification to rapidly identify Staphylococcus aureus .

Integrated nanopore detector could revolutionize DNA sequencing

January 6, 2012 1:19 pm | by Peter Reuell, Harvard University | News | Comments

Scientists in a Harvard University lab have invented a tiny device designed to read the minute electrical changes produced when DNA strands are passed through tiny holes—called nanopores—in an electrically charged membrane. The device can do this quickly and cheaply offering the possibilities of millions of arrays.

Device finds cancer cells before they become tumors

January 5, 2012 11:53 am | News | Comments

Currently, physicians use computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scans for melanoma cancer detection. Soon, however, commercial production of a device invented by University of Missouri researchers that measures melanoma using photoacoustics, or laser-induced ultrasound, will begin. The device will be available to scientists for cancer studies.


New endoscope can image the interior of a single cell

December 21, 2011 11:28 am | by Lynn Yarris | News | Comments

A team of researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley have created an endoscopy device that can capture high-resolution optical images of the interior of a single living cell without injuring or damaging that cell.

Quantum computing could make electron-diamond imager work

December 20, 2011 5:28 am | News | Comments

An innovative design for a small-volume molecular imaging instrument by University of Pittsburgh physicists has been hampered by a major question: How does one measure a magnetic field accurately using the resonance of single electrons within a diamond crystal? It’s too difficult with normal computers, but the scientists think they may now have an answer.

Scientists discover second-oldest gene mutation

December 16, 2011 7:31 am | News | Comments

A new study has identified a gene mutation that researchers estimate dates back to 11,600 B.C., making it the second oldest human disease mutation yet discovered. Researchers say that although the mutation, which causes a rare vitamin deficiency, is found in vastly different ethnic populations, it originated in a single, prehistoric individual and was passed down to that individual's descendents.

Taxi driver training changes brain structure

December 8, 2011 7:12 pm | News | Comments

Those who want to be London taxi drivers must acquire what's known as "the Knowledge," learning 25,000 complicated streets over a time span of three to four years. According to a recent study, the experience actually changes the very structure of the trainees’ brains.

Evolution reveals a link between DNA and protein shape

December 8, 2011 6:44 pm | News | Comments

Fifty years after the pioneering discovery that a protein's 3D structure is determined solely by the sequence of its amino acids, an international team of researchers has taken a major step toward predicting the structure of a protein from its sequence alone.

Bioelectrical alterations cause tadpoles to grow eye in back, tail

December 8, 2011 2:59 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Tufts University were surprised to discover that when they manipulated the membrane voltage in a tadpole’s back and tail, it caused the growing animal to develop eyes in those locations. It could be the first recorded instance of deliberate organogenesis through altered bioelectric communication.

New biometric data standard adds DNA and footmarks

December 7, 2011 8:11 am | News | Comments

Once limited to fingerprints, faces, and irises, forensic scientists can now have shared access to a greatly expanded set of biometric recently approved and standardized by NIST. It is the first international standard for the exchange of DNA data.

Frogs' amazing leaps due to springy tendons

November 16, 2011 6:49 am | News | Comments

The frogs jumping in Calaveras County, Calif., might be special, but even ordinary frogs can leap several times farther than their physiology would seem to allow. Using high-speed X-ray video technology, a Brown University research has determined that the frog’s tendons are what gives it the ability to soar.

Perfect micro rings can’t escape from ‘absorbing state’

November 15, 2011 11:20 am | News | Comments

Scientists refer to a state that a system that cannot escape from as an absorbing state. In a surprise finding, researchers in Germany have succeeded in building a simple biological model system of an absorbing state consisting of only three components: fibers, motor proteins and cross-linking molecules.

Even the cleanest wastewater contributes to “super bacteria”

November 15, 2011 4:09 am | News | Comments

A new University of Minnesota study has revealed that the release of treated municipal wastewater—even wastewater treated by the highest-quality treatment technology—can have a significant effect on the quantities of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, often referred to as "super bacteria", in surface waters.

Bats can quickly change their ear shapes, aiding biosonar abilities

November 14, 2011 8:32 am | News | Comments

Within just one tenth of a second, certain species of bat are able to change their outer ear shapes, transforming the animals’ ultrasonic hearing pattern. Using a combination of high-speed stereo vision and high-resolution tomography, researchers have reconstructed the 3-D geometries of these dramatic physical changes.

Leica, German institutes jointly pursue super-resolution

November 11, 2011 9:12 am | News | Comments

Leica Microsystems has signed an agreement with the Max Planck Society and the German Cancer Research Center for the development of the next generation of super-resolution STED (stimulated emission depletion) microscopy. The new STED nanoscopy will provide improved spatial resolution over confocal microscopy in living cells.

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