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Automated drug design using synthetic DNA self-assembly

Reducing the time required to create and test cancer and other medications
December 6, 2012

A collection of pharmaceutical molecules is shown after self-assembly. The detail shows a single molecule, made up of strands of DNA, a therapeutic agent and other components that improve its ability to target cancer. (Credit: Parabon NanoLabs)

Using a simple “drag-and-drop” computer interface and DNA self-assembly techniques, Parabon NanoLabs researchers have developed a new automated method of drug development that could reduce the time required to create and test medications, with the support of an NSF Technology Enhancement for Commercial Partnerships grant.

“We can now ‘print,’ molecule by molecule, exactly the compound that we want,” says Steven Armentrout, the principal investigator… read more

Rats use GPS to root out land mines

June 8, 2012


Two Bucknell University professors are working with a U.S. Department of Defense contractor to develop faster and more sophisticated technology and methods to detect land mines. The team has devised a system to train rats to recognize and respond to the explosives.

The rats will be outfitted with miniature backpacks and wireless transmitters that track their positions and movements. During the first part of their training, the… read more

Southampton engineers build a Raspberry Pi supercomputer

September 12, 2012


Computational Engineers at the University of Southampton have built a supercomputer from 64 Raspberry Pi computers and Lego.

The machine, named “Iridis-Pi” after the University’s Iridis supercomputer, runs off a single 13 Amp mains socket and uses MPI (Message Passing Interface) to communicate between nodes using Ethernet.

The whole system cost under £2,500 (excluding switches) and… read more

Cocoa flavanols lower blood pressure and increase blood-vessel function in healthy people

Poor diet and high blood pressure now number one risk factors for death
September 14, 2015

Cocoa pods (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Two recently published studies in the journals Age and the British Journal of Nutrition (BJN) demonstrate that consuming cocoa flavanols improves cardiovascular function and lessens the burden on the heart that comes with the aging and stiffening of arteries, while reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD)

As we age, our blood vessels become less flexible and less able to expand to let blood flow and circulate normally, and… read more

Biological transistor enables computing within living cells

March 29, 2013

Three-terminal transcriptor-based gates use integrase (Int) control signals to modulate RNA polymerase flow between a separate gate input and output (credit: Bonnet et al./Science)

Stanford University bioengineers have taken computing beyond mechanics and electronics into the living realm of biology by creating the “transcriptor” — a biological transistor made from DNA and RNA.

In electronics, a transistor controls the flow of electrons along a circuit. Similarly, a transcriptor controls the flow of a specific protein, RNA polymerase, as it travels along a strand of DNA.

“Transcriptors are the… read more

Why the new iPad is so huge for Apple

March 8, 2012


Today’s new iPad introduction was Apple’s most important event of the year.

I iPad is the future of Apple and potentially the future of the personal computer.

Today’s new iPad continued two important trends for Apple:

The iPad maintained its lead as the best tablet on the market in terms of hardware, software, and ecosystem, the retina display — unmatched by the competition… read more

Research dispels old myths about aging

May 31, 2012


Professor Tom Kirkwood has demolished a string of misconceptions about the aging process with a groundbreaking study into the health of more than 1,000 older people in the 85-plus generation.

His study, the largest of its kind ever undertaken, has proved revealing on several fronts:

  • Life expectancy is increasing by about two years every decade.
  • People

read more

Reprogramming your brain with transcranial magnetic stimulation

September 11, 2014

A mouse (happy and awake) receiving LI-rTMS (credit: University of Western Australia)

Weak repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) applied to mice can shift abnormal neural connections to more normal locations in the brain, researchers from The University of Western Australia and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in France have demonstrated.

The discovery has implications for treatment of nervous system disorders related to abnormal brain organization, such as depression, epilepsy, and tinnitus.

To better… read more

60 billion planets in our galaxy could sustain water, life: researchers

July 2, 2013

A planet with clouds and surface water orbits a red dwarf star in this artist’s conception of the Gliese 581 star system.

A new study by University of Chicago and Northwestern University researchers that calculates the influence of cloud behavior on climate doubles the number of potentially habitable planets orbiting red dwarfs, the most common type of stars in the universe.

In our Milky Way galaxy alone, 60 billion planets may be orbiting red dwarf stars in the habitable zone.

Current data from NASA’s… read more

World’s largest offshore wind farm generates first power

November 2, 2012


The first power has been produced at the London Array Offshore Wind Farm, DONG Energy, E.ON and Masdar have announced .

The 630MW scheme, located in the Thames Estuary, will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, with construction on schedule to be finished by the end of the year.

The 175 turbines will produce enough power to supply over 470,000 UK homes with electricity.

London… read more

Hawking offers new solution to ‘black hole information paradox’

New hope if you fall into a black hole
August 27, 2015

Nobel physics laureate Gerard 't Hooft of Utrecht University, the Netherlands, confers with Stephen Hawking at a weeklong conference at KTH Royal Institute of Technology on the information loss paradox. (photo credit: Håkan Lindgren)

Addressing a current controversy in physics about information in black holes, “I propose that the information is stored not in the interior of the black hole as one might expect, but on its boundary, the event horizon.”

The event horizon is a boundary around a black hole beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer, also known as “the point of no return” — where gravitational pull… read more

Here’s how to best secure your data now that the NSA can crack almost any encryption

October 27, 2013


The latest Snowden-supplied bombshell shook the technology world to its core on Thursday: The NSA can crack many of the encryption technologies in place today, PC World reports — a day after Pew reported that 90 percent of Internet users have taken steps to avoid surveillance in some way.

PC World recommends several open-source encryption tools, such as… read more

Network theory suggests consciousness is global in the brain

March 16, 2015

The black dots correspond to the 264 areas of the cerebral cortex that the researchers probed, and the lines correspond to the increased strength of the functional connections between each of these brain areas when subjects consciously perceive the target. The "hotter" colors are associated with stronger connections. This figure illustrates that awareness of the target corresponds to widespread increase in the strength of functional connections. (credit: Marois/Godwin).

Vanderbilt University researchers have found evidence that awareness or consciousness results from widespread communication across sensory and association areas of the cortex — challenging previous hypotheses that changes in restricted areas of the brain were responsible for producing awareness.

“Identifying the fingerprints of consciousness in humans would be a significant advancement for basic and medical research, let alone its philosophical implications on the underpinnings of the human… read more

Just add water: a portable hydrogen fuel cell

January 25, 2013

A close-up of spherical silicon nanoparticles about 10 nanometers in diameter. In Nano Letters, UB scientists report that these particles could form the basis of new technologies that generate hydrogen for portable power applications. (Credit: Swihart Research Group/University at Buffalo)

Battery dead in the middle of a phone call and you left your charger home, or worse, you’re on a camping trip. Sound familiar?

No prob, just grab some nanosilicon powder, mix with water, and zap: instant hydrogen fuel to generate recharge current — thanks to University at Buffalo researchers, who have discovered that super-small particles of silicon react with water to produce hydrogenread more

Scanadu Scout ‘Tricorder’ launches on indiegogo

May 23, 2013

Scanadu Scout (credit: Scanadu)

Scanadu has announced updates to its Scanadu Scout, the “first medical Tricorder,” a prototype device designed to measure vital signs; and the launch of an indiegogo campaign.

A first-edition Scout can be reserved on indiegogo and will be available in March 2014.

The Scout is sold as an exploratory tool. “By helping us collect data, we can file our application to the FDA for market… read more

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