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Physicists devise method for building artificial tissue

May 29, 2012 4:53 am | News | Comments

New York University physicists have developed a method that models biological cell-to-cell adhesion that could also have industrial applications. This system is an oil-in-water solution whose surface properties reproduce those found on biological cells.

Researchers demonstrate primitive mechanism of chemical into self-replication

May 29, 2012 3:54 am | News | Comments

When scientists think about the replication of information in chemistry, they usually have in mind something akin to what happens in living organisms when DNA gets copied: a double-stranded molecule that contains sequence information makes two new copies of the molecule. But researchers at the California Institute of Technology have now shown that a different mechanism can also be used to copy sequence information.

Nuisance seaweed found to produce compounds with biomedical potential

May 25, 2012 6:31 am | News | Comments

A seaweed considered a threat to the healthy growth of coral reefs in Hawaii may possess the ability to produce substances that could one day treat human diseases, a new study led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego has revealed.

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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.

Discarded data may hold the key to a sharper view of molecules

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

There's nothing like a new pair of eyeglasses to bring fine details into sharp relief. For scientists who study the large molecules of life from proteins to DNA, the equivalent of new lenses have come in the form of an advanced method for analyzing data from X-ray crystallography experiments. The findings could lead to new understanding of the molecules that drive processes in biology, medical diagnostics, nanotechnology, and other fields.

Modified nanoparticle opens window on future gene editing technologies

May 24, 2012 8:25 am | News | Comments

The scientific and technological literature is abuzz with nanotechnology and its manufacturing and medical applications. But it is in an area with a less glitzy aura—plant sciences—where nanotechnology advancements are contributing dramatically to agriculture. Researchers at Iowa State University have now demonstrated the ability to deliver proteins and DNA into plant cells, simultaneously.

Forensics ferret out fire beetle secret

May 24, 2012 4:42 am | News | Comments

Researchers in Germany have for years been studying fire beetles of the genus Melanophila and their sophisticated infrared sensors, which these pyrophilous insects use to detect forest fires. They have unraveled the functional principle of this photomechanical sensor and have started to work on a technical reconstruction.

Scientists pinpoint radical change in evolution of the brain

May 24, 2012 4:34 am | News | Comments

In the course of its evolution, the architecture of the mouse brain may have barely changed. In fact, researchers point to it as a “living fossil” of brain development, preserving our ancestors’ neuronal circuits’ architecture. Comparative analysis now shows where those changes occurred after the extinction of dinosaurs and the growth of mammals.

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Study: DNA vaccine and duck eggs protect against hantavirus disease

May 24, 2012 4:21 am | News | Comments

The highly pathogenic hantavirus causes a condition known as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), which has a case fatality rate of 35-40%. To help the fight against a disease that has no vaccine, U.S. Army scientists and industry collaborators have successfully protected laboratory animals from lethal hantavirus disease using a novel approach that combines DNA vaccines and duck eggs.

New carbon dioxide-removing catalyst can take the heat

May 24, 2012 4:13 am | News | Comments

The current method of removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the flues of coal-fired power plants uses so much energy that no one bothers to use it. So says Roger Aines, principal investigator for a team that has developed an entirely new catalyst for separating out and capturing carbon dioxide, one that mimics a naturally occurring catalyst operating in our lungs.

New device jet-injects drugs

May 24, 2012 3:55 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Getting a shot at the doctor's office may become less painful in the not-too-distant future. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have engineered a device that delivers a tiny, high-pressure jet of medicine through the skin without the use of a hypodermic needle. The device can be programmed to deliver a range of doses to various depths—an improvement over similar jet-injection systems that are now commercially available.

Project to examine 'Yeti' DNA

May 23, 2012 4:41 am | News | Comments

A new collaboration between Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology will use the latest genetic techniques to investigate organic remains that some have claimed belong to the 'Yeti' and other 'lost' hominid species.

New TB test promises to be cheap, fast

May 22, 2012 9:42 am | News | Comments

Biomedical engineers at University of California, Davis have developed a microfluidic chip to test for latent tuberculosis. They hope the test will be cheaper, faster, and more reliable than current testing for the disease.

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Researchers take virus-tracking software worldwide

May 22, 2012 9:35 am | News | Comments

A biomedical informatics researcher who tracks dangerous viruses as they spread around the globe has restructured his innovative tracking software to promote even wider use of the program around the world.

Deconstructing the cell's most complex structure

May 22, 2012 5:16 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

One of the most important structures in a cell is the nuclear pore complex—a tiny yet complicated channel through which information flows in and out of the cell's nucleus, directing all other cell activity. Little is known about this vital cell structure, but a Massachusetts Institute of Technology biologist is trying to change that.

Researchers develop way to strengthen proteins with polymers

May 22, 2012 4:37 am | News | Comments

In a new study, investigators from the University of California, Los Angeles describe how they synthesized polymers to attach to proteins in order to stabilize them during shipping, storage, and other activities. The study findings suggest that these polymers could be useful in stabilizing protein formulations.

Mapping the crocodile genome is not for the faint of heart

May 21, 2012 1:25 pm | by Miles O'Brien and Marsha Walton, Science Nation | News | Comments

Catching a crocodile or alligator to obtain a blood sample for testing is often done at night by a boat or a canoe. A snout snare eases the process, but it’s still a nerve-wracking experience. The samples are for the first mapping project for crocodile and alligator genomes, and it’s also the among the first such efforts to be done on a reptile species.

Scientists uncover a photosynthetic puzzle

May 21, 2012 12:54 pm | News | Comments

Quantum physics and plant biology seem like two branches of science that could not be more different, but surprisingly they may in fact be intimately tied. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory and the Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame used ultrafast spectroscopy to see what happens at the subatomic level during the very first stage of photosynthesis.

Physical properties predict stem cell outcome

May 21, 2012 11:33 am | News | Comments

Tissue engineers can use mesenchymal stem cells derived from fat to make cartilage, bone, or more fat. The best cells to use are ones that are already likely to become the desired tissue. Brown University researchers have discovered that the mechanical properties of the stem cells can foretell what they will become, leading to a potential method of concentrating them for use in healing.

Scientists decipher bacterial injection needles at atomic resolution

May 21, 2012 8:05 am | News | Comments

Hundreds of tiny hollow needles stick out of the membrane of a bacteria that causes cholera. These are treacherous tools that makes bacterial pathogens so dangerous. Researchers in the U.S. and Germany have now seen this structure in 3D detail at atomic resolution. The images may help drug researchers.

Unravelling the effects of acid in the brain

May 21, 2012 7:58 am | News | Comments

University of Iowa neuroscientist John Wemmie is interested in the effect of acid in the brain. His studies using new magnetic resonance imaging techniques suggest that increased acidity or low pH, in the brain is linked to panic disorders, anxiety, and depression. But his work also suggests that changes in acidity are important for normal brain activity too.

Building a model to explain how cells grow

May 18, 2012 9:07 am | News | Comments

A collaboration between Lehigh University physicists and University of Miami biologists addresses an important fundamental question in basic cell biology: How do living cells figure out when and where to grow?

Plants grow without light

May 17, 2012 6:58 am | News | Comments

Plants rely on photoreceptors to activate internal chemical processes like germination and leaf growth. Theorizing that the light-absorbing component of the photoreceptor may be replaced by a chemically similar synthetic substance, scientist have for the first time shown that full growth of plants is possible in the complete absence of light.

U.S. leads drug-approval race

May 17, 2012 6:35 am | News | Comments

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) generally approves drug therapies faster and earlier than its counterparts in Canada and Europe, according to a new study by Yale University School of Medicine researchers. The study counters perceptions that the drug approval process in the U.S. is especially slow.

Coffee buzz: Study finds java drinkers live longer

May 17, 2012 4:52 am | by Marilynn Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer | News | Comments

It doesn’t matter if it’s regular or decaf, a big new study find that coffee drinkers are a little more likely to live longer. The results from the largest study ever done on the issue, comes after years of waffling research on coffee and health, even some fear that java might raise the risk of heart disease.

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