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Acoustic cell-sorting chip may lead to cell phone-sized laboratories

October 3, 2012 4:32 am | News | Comments

According to a team of Penn State University researchers, a technique that uses acoustic waves to sort cells on a chip may create miniature medical analytic devices that could make Star Trek's tricorder seem a bit bulky in comparison. The device uses two beams of acoustic—or sound—waves to act as acoustic tweezers and sort a continuous flow of cells on a dime-sized chip.

One glue, two functions

October 3, 2012 4:27 am | News | Comments

University of Akron polymer scientists and biologists have discovered that a certain house spider—in order to more efficiently capture different types of prey—performs an uncommon feat. It tailors one glue to demonstrate two adhesive strengths: firm and weak. The researchers who made the finding are already working toward developing a synthetic adhesive that mimics this design strategy.

Watermelon shown to boost heart health

October 3, 2012 4:01 am | News | Comments

Eating an apple a day may keep the doctor away, but eating watermelon may just keep the cardiologist at bay. A study from Purdue University and the University of Kentucky showed that mice fed a diet including watermelon juice had lower weight, cholesterol, and arterial plaque than a control group.


The chemical memory of seawater

October 2, 2012 8:52 am | News | Comments

Water does not forget, says Prof. Boris Koch, a chemist at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. With the combination of some new techniques, Koch and colleagues can now identify and retrace some of the biomolecular tracks left by living organism. This dissolved organic matter, detectable with mass spectrometry, is one of the largest active, organic carbon reservoirs on earth.

Egyptian toes likely to be the world's oldest prosthetics

October 2, 2012 6:28 am | News | Comments

The results of scientific tests using replicas of two ancient Egyptian artificial toes, including one that was found on the foot of a mummy, suggest that they're likely to be the world's first prosthetic body parts.

Skydiver aims to break sound barrier in free fall

October 2, 2012 3:55 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

His blood could boil. His lungs could overinflate. The vessels in his brain could burst. His eyes could hemorrhage. And, yes, he could break his neck while jumping from a mind-boggling altitude of 23 miles. But the risk of a gruesome death has never stopped "Fearless Felix" Baumgartner it won’t likely stop him next Monday over New Mexico, where he will attempt the highest, fastest free fall in history and try to become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier.

First images of Landau levels revealed

October 1, 2012 7:28 am | News | Comments

Using scanning tunnelling spectroscopy, physicists have directly imaged Landau Levels—the quantum levels that determine electron behavior in a strong magnetic field—for the first time since they were theoretically conceived of by Nobel prize winner Lev Landau in 1930. The internal ring-like structure of these levels was revealed at the surface of a semiconductor.

Solar cell consists of a single molecule

October 1, 2012 5:39 am | News | Comments

Researchers in Germany and Israel have developed a method to measure photocurrents of a single functionalized photosynthetic protein system. The proteins represent light-driven, highly efficient single-molecule electron pumps that can act as current generators in nanoscale electrical circuits. According to the findings these proteins can be integrated and selectively addressed in artificial photovoltaic device architectures while retaining their biomolecular functional properties.


zarre tumor case may lead to custom cancer care

October 1, 2012 5:01 am | by Marilynn Marchone, AP Chief Medical Writer | News | Comments

It's a medical nightmare: a 24-year-old man endures 350 surgeries since childhood to remove growths that keep coming back in his throat and have spread to his lungs, threatening his life. A new discovery, however, allows doctors to grow "mini tumors" from each patient's cancer in a lab dish, then test various drugs or combinations on them to see which works best.

New study says nanoparticles don't penetrate the skin

October 1, 2012 3:46 am | News | Comments

Research by scientists at the University of Bath is challenging claims that nanoparticles in medicated and cosmetic creams are able to transport and deliver active ingredients deep inside the skin. The study discovered that even the tiniest of nanoparticles did not penetrate the skin's surface.

Artificially intelligent game bots pass the Turing test

September 28, 2012 10:15 am | News | Comments

One hundred years after the birth of mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing, whose “Turing test” stands as one of the foundational definitions of what constitutes true machine intelligence, a virtual “gamer” created by computer scientists at The University of Texas at Austin has won the annual BotPrize by convincing a panel of judges that their software-based robot was more human-like than half the humans it competed against.

All systems go at the biofactory

September 28, 2012 9:52 am | News | Comments

In order to assemble novel biomolecular machines, individual protein molecules must be installed at their site of operation with nanometer precision. In a technique called “single-molecule cut & paste”, researchers in Germany have found a way to do this using atomic force microscopy. At first, the method was limited only to DNA molecules, but it has since been expanded to proteins.

Laundry additive helps bust pollution

September 28, 2012 4:44 am | News | Comments

Plans are now proceeding to commercialize a new liquid laundry additive called CatClo, which contains microscopic pollution-eating particles. The chemical, developed in the U.K., contains nanoparticles of titanium dioxide that grip onto fabric tightly. When the particles then come into contact with nitrogen oxides in the air, they react with these pollutants and oxidize them in the fabric, removing up to 5 g of nitrogen oxides per day.


Bioengineers introduce 'Bi-Fi, the biological Internet

September 27, 2012 11:32 am | News | Comments

If you were a bacterium, the virus M13 might seem innocuous enough. It insinuates more than it invades, setting up shop like a freeloading house guest, not a killer. Once inside it makes itself at home, eating your food, texting indiscriminately. Recently, however, bioengineers at Stanford University have given M13 a bit of a makeover; they have parasitized the parasite and harnessed M13's key attributes to create what might be termed as the biological Internet, or "Bi-Fi."

Biologist discovers mammal with salamander-like regenerative abilities

September 26, 2012 5:38 pm | News | Comments

For years biologists have studied salamanders for their ability to regrow lost limbs. But amphibian biology is very different than human biology, which makes the recent discovery of a small African mammal with an unusual ability to regrow damaged tissues potentially crucial to new research in regenerative medicine.

Bizarre tumor case may lead to custom cancer care

September 26, 2012 1:40 pm | by Marilynne Marchione, AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

It's a medical nightmare: a 24-year-old man endures 350 surgeries since childhood to remove growths that keep coming back in his throat and have spread to his lungs, threatening his life. Now doctors have found a way to help him by way of a scientific coup that holds promise for millions of cancer...

Study: Computers match humans in understanding art

September 26, 2012 6:24 am | News | Comments

Until now, understanding and evaluating art has widely been considered as a task meant for humans. Recent research in Michigan with a new algorithm surprisingly shows that computers are able to "understand" art in a fashion very similar to how art historians perform their analysis, mimicking the perception of expert art critiques.

The colors of fall: Are autumn reds and golds passing us by?

September 26, 2012 6:11 am | News | Comments

According to research done at the Harvard Forest Long-Term Ecological Research site in Masschusetts, autumn colors were different there a century, or even a half-century, ago. And they will likely continue to change as alterations to the landscape occur through changing climate, tree disease, and harvesting practices.

The smallest ice crystals in the world

September 26, 2012 4:53 am | News | Comments

An ingenious experiment has recently revealed the minimum number of molecules needed before water forms a crystalline structure. It was previously thought that around 1,000 molecules were the minimum necessary for a complete crystal, but now crystal formation can be detected from as little as 275 molecules.

Exposing cancer's lethal couriers with nanochains

September 25, 2012 8:02 am | News | Comments

Malignant cells that leave a primary tumor, travel the bloodstream and grow out of control in new locations cause the vast majority of cancer deaths. New nanotechnology developed at Case Western Reserve University detects these metastases in mouse models of breast cancer far earlier than current methods, a step toward earlier, life-saving diagnosis and treatment.

Eye proteins have germ-killing power

September 25, 2012 5:03 am | News | Comments

When it comes to germ-busting power, the eyes have it, according to a discovery by University of California, Berkeley researchers that could lead to new, inexpensive antimicrobal drugs. A team of vision scientists has found that small fragments of keratin protein in the eye play a key role in warding off pathogens.

Automatic building mapping could help emergency responders

September 24, 2012 2:47 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A prototype sensor array built by Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers can be worn on the chest and automatically maps the wearer’s environment, recognizing movement between floors. The prototype system is envisioned as a tool to help emergency responders coordinate disaster response.

Researchers engineer novel DNA barcode

September 24, 2012 10:17 am | News | Comments

Scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have created a new kind of barcode that uses DNA origami technology. Colored dots can be arranged into geometric patterns or fluorescent linear DNA barcodes, and the combinations are almost limitless—substantially increasing the number of distinct molecules or cells scientists can observe in a sample.

Slow-moving rocks better odds that life crashed to Earth from space

September 24, 2012 9:54 am | News | Comments

Microorganisms that crashed to Earth embedded in the fragments of distant planets might have been the sprouts of life on this one, according to new research. The research team reports that under certain conditions there is a high probability that life came to Earth during the solar system's infancy when Earth and its planetary neighbors orbiting other stars would have been close enough to each other to exchange lots of solid materials.

A clock that will last forever

September 24, 2012 9:03 am | News | Comments

Imagine a clock that will keep perfect time forever or a device that opens new dimensions into the study of such quantum phenomena as emergence and entanglement. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers have proposed a space-time crystal based on an electric-field ion trap and the Coulomb repulsion of particles that carry the same electrical charge.

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