With the help of a new biochemical technique, an international team of scientists has cracked the “RNA control code”, which dictates how the family of molecules that mediates DNA expression moves genetic information from DNA to create proteins. One of the proteins they examined may explain some of the symptoms in children with autism.
The Ranger supercomputer in Texas has recently been used to determine how to sculpt fluid flows by precisely placing tiny pillars in microfluidic channels. By altering fluid speed and stacking pillars, a wide arrays of controlled flows can be achieved. This could be a boon for clinicians who would like to separate white blood cells in a sample, or more quickly perform lab-on-a-chip-type operations.
A team of engineers has designed a telescopic contact lens that can switch between normal and magnified vision by using slightly modified off-the-shelf 3-D television glasses. The new lens could ultimately be used to improve vision for patients suffering from eye disease, including age-related macular degeneration.
Half a millennium after Johannes Gutenberg printed the Bible, researchers printed a 3-D splint that saved the life of an infant born with severe tracheobronchomalacia, a birth defect that causes the airway to collapse. While similar surgeries have been performed using tissue donations and windpipes created from stem cells, this is the first time 3-D printing has been used to treat tracheobronchomalacia—at least in a human.
Introductory chemistry students learn that oil and water repel each other. So do other hydrophobic substances, which carry no electric charge, and hydrophilic substances, which carry an electric charge that allows them to mix with water. In a recent study, a group of bioengineers have found a way to strongly adhere hydrogels to hydrophobic silicone substrates, an innovation that provides a valuable new tool for microscale biotechnology.
Univ. of Toronto researchers are helping demystify an important class of proteins associated with disease, a discovery that could lead to better treatments for cancer, cystic fibrosis and many other conditions. The team developed the first roadmap for ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter proteins. These proteins are crucial components of every cell, and are also involved in tumor resistance.
Human embryonic stem cells have the remarkable property that they can form all human cell types, a process that is facilitated by cell communication pathways. An international research team based in Singapore have discovered a molecular network in human embryonic stem cells that integrates cell communication signals to keep the cell in its stem cell state.
In new research, Biodesign Institute team members describe a pair of tweezers made using principles of DNA base-pairing. They are astonishingly small: When the jaws of these tools are in the open position, the distance between the two arms is about 16 nanometers—over 30,000 times smaller than a single grain of sand.
A research team at the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan has developed a new nanofiber mesh which is capable of simultaneously performing thermotherapy and chemotherapy of tumors. Using this new mesh, the team succeeded in efficiently inducing natural death of epithelial cancer cells.
On Monday, the National Academy of Sciences announced a three-year grant to chemist Vincent Rotello at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to develop, test and deploy new, sensitive, reliable and affordable inkjet-printed, nanoparticle-based test strips for detecting disease-causing bacteria in drinking water.
In a recent study, researchers used computed tomography imaging to look for hardened, or calcified, buildup in the blood vessels that supply the heart and found that higher levels of DNA particles in the blood were linked to high levels of coronary artery calcium deposits. The finding may help doctors in the future more quickly determine which patients with chest pain are likely to have narrowed coronary arteries.
Researchers in Korea have discovered a way to measure the "thermal conductivity" of three types of cells taken from human and rat tissues and placed in individual micro-wells. They showed that they could detect uniform heat signatures from the various cells and measured significant difference between dead and living ones, suggesting a new way to probe cells for biological activity.
Biomaterials are susceptible to microbial colonization, which is why silver is often added to reduce the adhesion rate of bacteria. However, a recent study by researchers in Portugal suggests that—in one material—increasing levels of silver may indirectly promote bacterial adhesion instead of decrease it.
DNA sometimes twists itself into supercoils, an phenomenon caused by enzymes that travel along DNA’s helical groove and exert force and torque as they move. For the first time, these tiny torques have been measured using an instrument called an angular optical trap. Researchers at Cornell University have reported direct measurements of the torque generated by a motor protein as it traverses supercoiled DNA.
The power of the brain lies in its trillions of intercellular connections, called synapses, which together form complex neural “networks.” While neuroscientists have long sought to map these complex connections, traditional techniques have yet to provide the desired resolution. Now, by using an innovative brain-tracing technique, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes and the Salk Institute have found a way to untangle these networks.
Dassault Systèmes, a maker of solutions for 3-D design and product lifecycle management, has launched a new industry solution experience for pharmaceutical and biotech companies, called “Licensed to Cure for BioPharma.” Based on Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform, the new solution helps biotech and pharmaceutical companies manage product and process complexity by smoothing drug variation, enabling easier and faster expansion into new markets, and managing increasing regulatory requirements.
A new study in California shows that neural cells require zinc uptake through a membrane transporter referred to as ZIP12. If that route is closed, neuronal sprouting and growth are significantly impaired and is fatal for a developing embryo. The study highlights how parts of the brain maintain their delicate balance of zinc, an element required in minute but crucial doses.
By rerouting the metabolic pathway that makes fatty acids in E. coli bacteria, researchers at Harvard University have devised a new way to produce a gasoline-like biofuel. According to the scientists, who are tweaking metabolic pathways in bacteria, new lines of engineered bacteria can tailor-make key precursors of high-octane biofuels that could one day replace gasoline.
Univ. of Oregon chemists have developed a selective probe that detects hydrogen sulfide levels as low as 190 nanomolar (10 parts per billion) in biological samples. They say the technique could serve as a new tool for basic biological research and as an enhanced detection system for hydrogen sulfide in suspected bacterially contaminated water sources.
Comic book hero Popeye swears by it. And so do generations of parents who “spoil” their children with spinach. But too much iron content in the blood can indicate acute inflammatory responses, which makes it an important medical diagnostic agent. Using nanoscale diamonds which feature defects, researchers in Europe have developed a new, sensitive biosensor for determination of iron content.
Scientists at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research have developed a microarray platform for culturing fungal biofilms that holds 1,200 individual cultures of fungi or bacteria. The nano-scale platform technology could one day be used for rapid drug discovery for treatment of any number of fungal or bacterial infections, or even as a rapid clinical test to identify antibiotic drugs.
Imagine a swarm of tiny devices only a few hundred nanometers in size that can detect trace amounts of toxins in a water supply or the very earliest signs of cancer in the blood. Now imagine that these tiny sensors can reset themselves, allowing for repeated use over time inside a body of water—or a human body. In a recent Yale Univ. breakthrough, this has become a reality.
Researchers in Japan have developed a new sugar and water-based solution that turns tissues transparent in just three days without disrupting the shape and chemical nature of the samples. Combined with fluorescence microscopy, this technique enabled the team to obtain detailed images of a mouse brain at an unprecedented resolution.
A research team at New Jersey Institute of Technology have created a carbon nanotube-based device to noninvasively and quickly detect mobile single cells with the potential to maintain a high degree of spatial resolution. This prototype lab-on-a-chip could someday enable a physician to detect disease or virus from just one drop of liquid, including blood.
Doctors are reporting a major step toward an "artificial pancreas," a device that would constantly monitor blood sugar in people with diabetes and automatically supply insulin as needed. A key component of such a system—an insulin pump programmed to shut down if blood-sugar dips too low while people are sleeping—worked as intended in a three-month study of 247 patients.