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The Lead

Biofuel Struggles with Economics and the Environment

April 17, 2015 2:31 pm | by Tim Studt | Articles | Comments

Immediately following the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, much research interest focused on the development of bio-based renewable energy sources (biofuels). EISA mandated increased production and use of biofuels for the long term. There also appeared to be substantial long-term government support for the implementation of a biofuel-based industry.

New lab technique reveals structure, function of proteins critical in DNA repair

April 17, 2015 12:32 pm | by Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

By combining two highly innovative experimental techniques, scientists at the Univ. of Illinois...

DNA “spool” modification affects aging, longevity

April 17, 2015 10:01 am | by Krishan Ramujan, Cornell Univ. | News | Comments

Research on a modified protein around which DNA is wrapped sheds light on how gene regulation is...

Could maple syrup help cut use of antibiotics?

April 17, 2015 8:42 am | by Chris Chipello, McGill Univ. | Videos | Comments

A concentrated extract of maple syrup makes disease-causing bacteria more susceptible to...

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Zinc deficiency linked to activation of Hedgehog signaling pathway

April 17, 2015 8:03 am | by Mary Martialay, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | News | Comments

Zinc deficiency, long associated with numerous diseases like certain cancers, can lead to activation of the Hedgehog signaling pathway, a biomolecular pathway that plays essential roles in developing organisms and in diseases, according to new research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Solidifying Image Acquisition

April 16, 2015 2:53 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Articles | Comments

Image analysis is of growing importance in science, and trends are observed for different layers of image acquisition. Quantifiable and reproducible data is a prerequisite for scientific publications. And, today, it isn’t sufficient to just acquire aesthetically pleasing images with a microscope. To get powerful scientific results, scientists must get as much information as they can from an image.

Tailoring GPC/SEC to Today’s Applications

April 16, 2015 2:04 pm | by Stephen Ball, Product Marketing Manager, Nanoparticleand Molecular Characterization, Malvern Instruments | Articles | Comments

Gel permeation/size exclusion chromatography (GPC/SEC) is a vital analytical technique used to characterize synthetic and natural polymers, including biologically important macromolecules such as proteins and DNA. Evolving challenges tax the capabilities of traditional GPC/SEC and invite advances in the technology.

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Mobile, Raman and NMR Drive New Technologies

April 16, 2015 1:42 pm | by Tim Studt | Articles | Comments

At the 66th annual Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) this past March 7 – 13 in New Orleans, the spectroscopy- based new product introductions covered, quite literally, the entire analytical spectrum from the far-infrared to x-rays, along with Raman and mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) products.

Tracing dust samples using fungal DNA

April 16, 2015 12:33 pm | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State Univ. and the Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, have developed a statistical model that allows them to tell where a dust sample came from within the continental U.S. based on the DNA of fungi found in the sample.

Brain tumors may be new victims of Ebola-like virus

April 16, 2015 11:55 am | by Bill Hathaway, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

Brain tumors are notoriously difficult for most drugs to reach, but Yale Univ. researchers have found a promising but unlikely new ally against brain cancers, portions of a deadly virus similar to Ebola. A virus containing proteins found in the Lassa virus not only passed through the formidable blood-brain barrier but destroyed brain tumors in mice, according to research released in the Journal of Virology.

New transitional stem cells discovered

April 16, 2015 11:19 am | by Nathan Hurst, Univ. of Missouri | News | Comments

Pre-eclampsia is a disease that affects 5 to 8% of pregnancies in America. Complications from this disease can lead to emergency cesarean sections early in pregnancies to save the lives of the infants and mothers. Scientists believe pre-eclampsia is caused by a number of factors, including shallow placentas that are insufficiently associated with maternal blood vessels.

Inhibitor for abnormal protein points way to more selective cancer drugs

April 16, 2015 8:20 am | by Dave Zobel, Caltech | News | Comments

Nowhere is the adage "form follows function" more true than in the folded chain of amino acids that makes up a single protein macromolecule. But proteins are very sensitive to errors in their genetic blueprints. One single-letter DNA "misspelling" (called a point mutation) can alter a protein's structure or electric charge distribution enough to render it ineffective or even deleterious.

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BPA exposure in pregnant mice affects fertility in three generations

April 16, 2015 8:03 am | by Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois | News | Comments

When scientists exposed pregnant mice to levels of bisphenol A (BPA) equivalent to those considered safe in humans, three generations of female mouse offspring experienced significant reproductive problems, including declines in fertility, sexual maturity and pregnancy success, the scientists report in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.

Study: Many Medicare cataract patients given needless tests

April 15, 2015 6:05 pm | by Marilynn Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Millions of older people are getting tests they don't need to prove they are healthy enough to have cataracts removed, a new study finds. The excess testing before this quick, ultra-safe eye procedure is costing them and Medicare a bundle, and many patients don't know they can question it, doctors say.

Scientists uncover how molecule protects brain cells in parkinson's disease model

April 15, 2015 11:37 am | by The Scripps Research Institute | News | Comments

These findings could provide valuable insight into the development of drug candidates that could protect brain cells in Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Making injections less painful

April 15, 2015 10:45 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

If the Rice Univ. freshman engineering design team Comfortably Numb has it their way, children will be less fearful and feel less pain when they go to the doctor’s office for a shot. The trio of freshmen has created a device to ease the pain of an injection. Their device numbs the skin prior to a shot by producing a rapid chemical reaction to cool the patient’s skin.

Shape-shifting molecule tricks viruses into mutating themselves to death

April 15, 2015 9:36 am | by Steve Koppes, Univ. of Chicago | News | Comments

A newly developed spectroscopy method is helping to clarify the poorly understood molecular process by which an anti-HIV drug induces lethal mutations in the virus’ genetic material. The findings from the Univ. of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could bolster efforts to develop the next generation of anti-viral treatments.

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NMR “fingerprinting” for monoclonal antibodies

April 15, 2015 8:49 am | by NIST | News | Comments

NIST researchers have demonstrated the most precise method yet to measure the structural configuration of monoclonal antibodies, an important factor in determining the safety and efficacy of these biomolecules as medicines. Monoclonal antibodies are proteins manufactured in the laboratory that can target specific disease cells or antigens (proteins that trigger an immune reaction) for removal from the body.

Study shows novel pattern of electrical charge movement through DNA

April 15, 2015 8:03 am | by Richard Harth, Biodesign Institute | News | Comments

Electrical charges not only move through wires, they also travel along lengths of DNA, the molecule of life. The property is known as charge transport. In a new study appearing in Nature Chemistry, researchers explore the ways in which electrical charges move along DNA bases affixed to a pair of electrodes.

DNA data set is potent, accessible tool

April 15, 2015 7:52 am | by Ron Walli, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists focused on producing biofuels more efficiently have a new powerful data set to help them study the DNA of microbes that fuel bioconversion and other processes. In a recently published paper, researchers describe methods and results for sequencing the Clostridium autoethanogenum bacterium. These and other microorganisms play important roles in biofuels, agriculture, food production, the environment, health and disease.

Your brain's aging and a new report urges ways to stay sharp

April 14, 2015 4:11 pm | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Those lost car keys that were an annoyance in your 30s can spark major anxiety in your 60s. Turns out it's pretty normal: The brain ages just like the rest of your body, says a new report that urges Americans to take steps to keep sharp in their senior years. The prestigious Institute of Medicine examined what scientists know about "cognitive aging," changes in mental functioning as we get older.

Recruiting the entire immune system to attack cancer

April 14, 2015 11:30 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

The human immune system is poised to spring into action at the first sign of a foreign invader, but it often fails to eliminate tumors that arise from the body’s own cells. Cancer biologists hope to harness that untapped power using an approach known as cancer immunotherapy. Orchestrating a successful immune attack against tumors has proven difficult so far, until now.

Researchers find protein that may signal more aggressive prostate cancers

April 14, 2015 8:13 am | by Nicole Casal Moore, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

Univ. of Michigan researchers have discovered a biomarker that may be a potentially important breakthrough in diagnosing and treating prostate cancer. Biomarkers in the body are analogous to the warning lights in cars that signal something might need repairing. In our bodies, they indicate if something's wrong or if we're about to get sick or if we're predisposed to certain illnesses.

Gold by special delivery intensifies cancer-killing radiation

April 14, 2015 7:47 am | by Kevin Stacey, Brown Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers have demonstrated a promising new way to increase the effectiveness of radiation in killing cancer cells. The approach involves gold nanoparticles tethered to acid-seeking compounds called pHLIPs. The pHLIPs (pH low-insertion peptides) home in on high acidity of malignant cells, delivering their nanoparticle passengers straight to the cells’ doorsteps.

Washington state school district gets tough about vaccines

April 14, 2015 12:03 am | by Nicholas K. Geranios, Associated Press | News | Comments

Spokane school district officials on Monday removed from class 143 students who could not prove they had legally required vaccinations. More than 700 students in the state's second-largest district lack complete vaccination documents, so that number was expected to rise, district spokesman Kevin Morrison said. The crackdown began Monday morning.

Research under way to test marijuana extract for epilepsy

April 13, 2015 4:05 pm | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | News | Comments

Even as some states are allowing use of certain marijuana extracts to treat severe epilepsy, the rigorous research needed to prove if one of these compounds really works is just getting under way. Monday, researchers said new findings from a small safety study suggest the extract cannabidiol should be put to the real test.

New ebola study points to potential drug target

April 13, 2015 2:04 pm | by Michael C. Purdy, WUSTL | News | Comments

Opening the door to potential treatments for the deadly Ebola virus, scientists have found that a protein made by the virus plays a role similar to that of a coat-check attendant.

Limber lungs: one type of airway cell can regenerate another lung cell type

April 13, 2015 1:41 pm | by UPenn | News | Comments

A new collaborative study describes a way that lung tissue can regenerate after injury. 

Specialty, generic drug costs drive Medicaid costs up

April 11, 2015 2:04 pm | by Marie French, Associated Press | News | Comments

The high cost of a drug used to treat Medicaid patients with hepatitis C drew scrutiny from lawmakers earlier this year, but other drugs are also driving up the state's costs and likely will continue to do so for several years, government data reveals. From fiscal year 2010 through 2014, drug costs for Missouri's Medicaid program rose 33%, to $1.16 billion.

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