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.
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.
Research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has revealed how protein degradation is critical to cell cycle progression and bacterial development. The team used a combination of biochemistry and mass spectrometry to “trap” scores of new candidate substrates of the protease ClpXP. These substrates cover all aspects of bacterial growth and development.
In a recently published study, scientists say they have found a diverse multitude of microbes colonizing and thriving on flecks of plastic that have polluted the oceans—a vast new human-made flotilla of microbial communities that they have dubbed the “plastisphere.” Using scanning electron microscopy and gene sequencing techniques, they found at least 1,000 different types of bacterial cells, some of them new species yet to be identified.
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.
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.
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.
Reference brains are indispensable tools in human brain mapping, enabling integration of multimodal data into an anatomically realistic standard space. Available reference brains, however, are restricted to the macroscopic scale. Researchers have now created a publicly available ultrahigh-resolution 3-D model of a human brain at nearly cellular resolution.
Oscar Wilde called memory “the diary that we all carry about with us.” Now a team of Univ. of Southern California scientists has developed a way to see where and how that diary is written. The team engineered microscopic probes that light up synapses in a living neuron in real time by attaching fluorescent markers onto synaptic proteins—all without affecting the neuron’s ability to function.
What would you do with a camera that can take a picture of something and tell you how new it is? If you’re a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist, you use it to gain a better understanding of the ever-changing world of metabolites. A team of researchers has developed a mass spectrometry imaging technique that not only maps the whereabouts of individual metabolites in a biological sample, but how new the metabolites are too.
Small electrodes placed on or inside the brain allow patients to interact with computers or control robotic limbs simply by thinking about how to execute those actions. Researchers have recently shown the brain can adapt to this brain-computer interface technology. Their work shows that it behaves much like it does when completing simple motor skills such as kicking a ball, typing, or waving a hand.
JPK Instruments reports on the Yan Jie single-molecule biophysics research group at the Mechanobiology Institute (MBI) of the National Univ. of Singapore (NUS) and their use of optical tweezers. The MBI of the NUS was created through joint funding by the National Research Foundation and the Ministry of Education with the goal of creating a new research center in mechanobiology to benefit both the discipline and Singapore.
A unique chemical imaging tool readily and reliably presents volatile liquids to scientific instruments, according to a team including Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. These instruments require samples be held in a vacuum, which is often incompatible with hydrocarbons and other liquids.
To test the severity of a viral infection, clinicians try to gauge how many viruses are packed into a certain volume of blood or other bodily fluid. However, the standard methods used for these tests are only able to estimate the number of viruses in a given volume of fluid. Now two independent teams have developed new optics-based methods for determining the exact viral load of a sample by counting individual virus particles.
Virus particles of the same type had been thought to have identical structures, like a mass-produced toy, but a new visualization technique developed by a Purdue University researcher revealed otherwise. It was found that an important viral substructure consisted of a collection of components that could be assembled in different ways, creating differences from particle to particle.
A team of researchers has captured images of green alga consuming bacteria, offering a glimpse at how early organisms dating back more than 1 billion years may have acquired free-living photosynthetic cells. This acquisition is thought to have been a critical first step in the evolution of photosynthetic algae and land plants.
Columbia University has signed a licensing agreement with Varian Medical Systems for new imaging software that facilitates 3D segmentation, the process by which anatomical structures in medical images are distinguished from one another—an important step in the precise planning of cancer surgery and radiation treatments.
Researchers at Columbia University and Stanford University have developed a computational method that enables scientists to visualize and interpret "high-dimensional" data produced by single-cell measurement technologies such as mass cytometry. A sophisticated algorithm converts difficult-to-interpret data into visual representations similar to two-dimensional "scatter plots".
Your brain often works on autopilot when it comes to grammar. That theory has been around for years, but University of Oregon neuroscientists have captured elusive hard evidence that people indeed detect and process grammatical errors with no awareness of doing so.
Despite the perceived advantages of foot protection, some runners in recent years have returned to barefoot running, believing it is a more natural way to run and therefore less injurious to the feet and legs. The difference results in a different running stride, and it affects how the muscles of the legs and feet respond and develop. A new study attempts to explain exactly how the muscles respond to this change.
Metal elements and molecules interact in the body, but visualizing them together has always been a challenge. Researchers at RIKEN in Japan have developed a new molecular imaging technology that enables them to image bio-metals and bio-molecules at the same time in a live mouse. This new technology will enable researchers to study the complex interactions between metal elements and molecules in living organisms.
Metal elements and molecules interact in the body but visualizing them together has always been a challenge. Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies have developed a new molecular imaging technology that enables them to visualize biometals and biomolecules simultaneously in a live mouse. This new technology will enable researchers to study the complex interactions between metal elements and molecules.
Scientists at TU Delft have made an important advancement in a new microscopic technique that is widely used in medical research. They demonstrate what the resolution of this localization microscopy is and how the best resolution can be achieved as quickly as possible.
To get a better understanding of metastasis, more than 95 graduate students, post docs and professors in a variety of laboratories across the U.S. subjected two cell lines to a battery of tests and measurements using more than 20 different techniques. The work has enabled a comprehensive cataloging and comparison of the physical characteristics of non-malignant and metastatic cells.
Researchers have married two biological imaging technologies, creating a new way to learn how good cells go bad. Being able to study a cell's internal workings in fine detail would likely yield insights into the physical and biochemical responses to its environment. The technology, which combines an atomic force microscope and nuclear magnetic resonance system, could help researchers study individual cancer cells.