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Atoms to product: aiming to make nanoscale benefits life-sized

August 28, 2014

Assembly Gap

DARPA has created the Atoms to Product (A2P) program to develop enhanced technologies for assembling atomic-scale components and integrate them into materials and systems from nanoscale up to product scale — in ways that preserve and exploit distinctive nanoscale properties.

The new program also seeks to develop revolutionary miniaturization and assembly methods that would work at scales 100,000 times smaller than current state-of-the-art technology.

Many common… read more

Tissue regeneration using anti-inflammatory nanomolecules

August 28, 2014

Innate immune cell distribution in regenerating bladder tissue. Elevated levels of CD68+ macrophages (green) and MPO+ neutrophils (red). (Credit: Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute)

The research group of Arun K. Sharma*, PhD has developed a system for patients with urinary bladder dysfunction that may protect them against an inflammatory reaction** resulting from tissue regeneration, which can negatively impact tissue growth, development and function.

The researchers treated a highly pro-inflammatory biologic scaffold with anti-inflammatory peptide amphiphiles (AIF-PAs). (Self-assembling peptide amphiphiles, or PAs, are biocompatible and biodegradable nanomaterials used in a wide range of… read more

Sorting out circulating tumor cells in the blood with sound waves

Could help assess cancer’s spread
August 28, 2014

sorting out

A research team has developed a device that could be used to detect the extremely rare tumor cells that circulate in cancer patients’ blood, helping doctors predict whether a tumor is going to spread.

Developed by researchers from MIT, Pennsylvania State University, and Carnegie Mellon University, the dime-sized device separates out tumor cells from white blood cells by exposing the cells to sound… read more

Helping researchers cope with the medical literature knowledge explosion

IBM Watson, other tools to provide automated reasoning and hypothesis generation from the complete medical literature
August 27, 2014

(Credit: IBM)

Computational biologists at Baylor College of Medicine and analytics experts at IBM research are developing a powerful new tool called the Knowledge Integration Toolkit (KnIT) that promises to help research scientists deal with the more than 50 million scientific papers available in public databases — with a new one publishing nearly every 30 seconds.

The goal: allow researchers pursuing new scientific studies to mine all available medical… read more

Stanford bioengineers close to brewing opioid painkillers

A decade-long effort in genetic engineering is close to re-programming yeast cells to make palliative medicines
August 27, 2014

tanford Bioengineer Christina Smolke has been on a decade-long quest to genetically alter yeast so they can "brew" opioid medicines in stainless steel vats, eliminating the need to raise poppies and then industrially refine derivatives of opium into pain pills. (Credit: Poppy image created by Rachel Sakai)

Stanford bioengineers have hacked the DNA of yeast, reprograming these simple cells to make opioid-based medicines* via a sophisticated extension of the basic brewing process that makes beer.

Led by Associate Professor of Bioengineering Christina Smolke, the Stanford team has already spent a decade genetically engineering yeast cells to reproduce the biochemistry of poppies, with the ultimate goal of producing opium-based medicines, from start to… read more

Children with autism have extra synapses in brain

May be possible to prune synapses with a future drug after diagnosis
August 26, 2014

A neuron from the brain of young person with autism. A new study finds that young people with autism have excess synapses. (Credit: Guomei Tang and Mark S. Sonders/CUMC)

Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).

Because synapses are the points where neurons connect and communicate with each other, the excessive synapses may have profound effects on how the brain functions. The… read more

Functional thymus organ grown in mice from lab-created cells

August 26, 2014

Fibroblasts transformed into induced thymic epithelial cells (iTEC) in vitro (left, iTEC in green). iTEC transplanted onto the mouse kidney form an organised and functional mini-thymus (right, kidney cells in pink, thymus cells in dark blue) (credit: MRC)

Scientists have for the first time grown a complex, fully functional organ from scratch in a living animal by transplanting cells that were originally created in a laboratory to form a replacement thymus*, a vital organ of the immune system.

The advance could in the future aid the development of “lab-grown” replacement organs.

Researchers from the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, at the University ofread more

A fully transparent solar concentrator for windows

August 26, 2014

Solar power with a view: MSU doctoral student Yimu Zhao holds up a transparent luminescent solar concentrator module. (Credit: Yimu Zhao)

Michigan State University researchers have developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to see through the window.

It is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC) and can be used on buildings, cell phones, and any other device that has a clear surface.

Research in the production of energy from solar cells placed around… read more

‘Robo Brain’ will teach robots everything from the Internet

August 26, 2014

Robo Brain (credit: Saxena Lab)

Robo Brain is currently downloading and processing about 1 billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals, all being translated and stored in a robot-friendly format.

The reason: to serve as helpers in our homes, offices and factories, robots will need to understand how the world works and how the humans around them behave.

Robotics researchers like Ashutosh Saxena,… read more

Autómata: a believable robot future

YOUR TIME IS COMING TO AN END. OURS IS NOW BEGINNING.
August 25, 2014

(Credit: Millennium Entertainment)

George Mason University neuroscience researcher Todd Gillette got a preview of the forthcoming movie Autómata. It “caught me completely by surprise,” he said on his OnMason blog. “Starring Antonio Banderas, here we have a believable future (2044, 30 years from now) in which desertification is threatening society, and a single company is leading the way in intelligent robotics.”

Autómata — Officialread more

Are young people losing the ability to read emotions?

August 25, 2014

(Credit: Apple Inc.)

You’ve been prevented from accessing your smart phone, computer, tablet, and TV for five days. Do you (A) totally freak out and go into withdrawal or (B) deal with it and regain some of your lost social skills, like reading emotions?

UCLA scientists found that sixth-graders who went five days without even glancing at a smartphone, television, or other digital screen chose option B. They did substantially… read more

A new future for cloud computing

NSF awards $20 million to support cloud-computing applications and experiments.
August 25, 2014

Apt, an NSF-funded precursor testbed to CloudLab, is adaptable to many different research domains. (Credit: NSF)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced two $10 million projects, called “Chameleon” and “CloudLab,” to create cloud-computing testbeds to help the academic research community develop and experiment with novel cloud architectures and applications.

The NSF is especially interested in real-time, safety-critical applications like those used in medical devices, power grids, and transportation systems.

Chameleon

Chameleon will be a… read more

Can we trust robots? Better question: can robots trust us?

August 24, 2014

https://twitter.com/hitchBOT

Ask HitchBOT, a charismatic robot who just hitchhiked its way across Canada from Halifax, N.S. to Victoria, B.C. — a three-week journey of more than 6,000 km (3728 miles) — accepting 18 rides from total strangers and tweeting its progress to its 35,100 followers.

@HitchBOT used GPS and a 3G cellphone wireless connection feeding to a map with its position. It has… read more

How lizards regenerate their tails: researchers discover genetic ‘recipe’

Finding may impact future therapies for spinal cord injuries, birth defects, arthritis, other conditions
August 22, 2014

Researchers have discovered the genetic "recipe" for how the green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis) can grow back a lost tail (credit: Hutchins et al./PLoS ONE)

 

Arizona State University scientists have discovered the genetic “recipe” for lizard tail regeneration, which may help develop future therapies for spinal cord injuries.

The team studied the regenerating tail of the green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis), which when caught by a predator, can lose its tail and then grow it back.

The findings were published Aug. 20 in the journal PLOS ONEread more

A low-cost water splitter that runs on an ordinary AAA battery

Could allow for true zero-emissions fuel-cell vehicles and save hydrogen producers billions of dollars in electricity costs
August 22, 2014

Stanford scientists have developed a low-cost device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas. Gas bubbles are produced by electrodes made of inexpensive nickel and iron.

A cheap, emissions-free device that uses a 1.5-volt AAA battery to split water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis has been developed by scientists at Stanford University.

Unlike other water splitters that use precious-metal catalysts, the electrodes in the Stanford device are made of inexpensive, abundant nickel and iron.

“This is the first time anyone has used non-precious metal catalysts to split water at a voltage… read more

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