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Imaging small biomolecules inside live cells

March 7, 2014

Images of stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy coupled with alkyne tags for visualizing a broad spectrum of small molecule dynamics in live cells and animals, including metabolic incorporation of small molecule precursors of nucleic acids for de novo synthesis of DNA (magenta image) and RNA (cyan image), amino acids for newly synthesized proteins (red image), lipids for choline phospholipids (yellow image) and triglycerides (blue image); and delivery pathways of small molecule drugs in mouse ear tissues (green image). (Credit: Lu Wei of Columbia University)

Researchers at Columbia University have made a significant step toward visualizing small biomolecules inside living biological systems with minimum disturbance, a longstanding goal in the scientific community.

In a study published March 2nd in Nature Methods, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Wei Min’s research team has developed a general method to image a broad spectrum of small biomolecules, such as small molecular drugs and nucleic acids, amino acids,… read more

Optical nano-tweezers allow for manipulating molecules, other nanoscale objects

March 7, 2014

The image on the left is an electron beam microscopy image of the extremity of the plasmon nano-tweezers. The image on the right is a sketch illustrating the trapping of a nanoparticle in the bowtie aperture. (Credit: Institute of Photonic Sciences)

Researchers at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) in Catalonia have invented nano-optical tweezers capable of trapping and moving an individual nano-object in three dimensions using the force of light.

“This technique could revolutionize the field of nanoscience since, for the first time, we have shown that it is possible to trap, 3D-manipulate, and release a single nano-object without exerting any mechanical contact or other invasive action,” said Romain… read more

‘Multiferroics’ advances promise increased power efficiency for future computer processors

March 7, 2014

Multiferroic_Materials

A team led by researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has made major improvements in computer processing using an emerging class of magnetic materials called “multiferroics,” and these advances could make future devices far more energy-efficient than current technologies.

With today’s microprocessors, electric current passes through transistors (electronic switches). Because current involves the movement of electrons, this process produces heat —… read more

Credit card-sized device could analyze biopsy, help diagnose pancreatic cancer in minutes

Use in diagnosis of other cancers also planned
March 6, 2014

uw-microfluidic-device

University of Washington scientists and engineers are developing a low-cost device that could help pathologists diagnose pancreatic cancer* earlier and faster.

The prototype can perform the basic steps for processing a biopsy, relying on fluid transport instead of human hands to process the tissue.

“This new process is expected to help the pathologist make a more rapid diagnosis and be able to determine more accurately how… read more

Supplement added to a standard diet improves health and prolongs life in mice

March 5, 2014

Representative photographs from blinded histopathological analysis of kidney, liver, and lung panels for mice on standard diet (SD) and SRT1720 supplementation

Activating a protein called sirtuin 1 extends lifespan, delays the onset of age-related metabolic diseases, and improves general health in mice. The findings, which appear online February 27 in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports, point to a potentially promising strategy for improving health and longevity.

Sirtuin 1, or SIRT1, is known to play an important role in maintaining metabolic balance in multiple tissues, and studies in… read more

Robotic-assisted prostate surgery offers better cancer control, study finds

March 5, 2014

da Vinci Si robot (credit: Intuitive Surgical)

An observational study from UCLA‘s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that prostate cancer patients who undergo robotic-assisted prostate surgery have fewer instances of cancer cells at the edge of their surgical specimen and less need for additional cancer treatments like hormone or radiation therapy than patients who have traditional “open” surgery.

The study, published online Feb. 19 in the journal European Urology, was led… read more

Study pinpoints protective mutations for type 2 diabetes

March 5, 2014

In the new study, researchers describe the genetic analysis of 150,000 patients showing that rare mutations in a gene called SLC30A8 reduce risk of type 2 diabetes by 65 percent (credit: Lauren Solomon, Broad Communications)

An international team led by researchers at the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has identified mutations in a gene that can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, even in people who have risk factors such as obesity and old age.

The results focus the search for developing novel therapeutic strategies for type 2 diabetes; if a drug can be developed that mimics the… read more

Human Longevity Inc. launched to promote healthy aging using advances in genomics and stem-cell therapies

Building world’s largest genotype/phenotype database
March 5, 2014

hli_logo

Human Longevity Inc. (HLI), a genomics and cell therapy-based diagnostic and therapeutic company focused on extending the healthy, high performance human life span, was announced today by co-founders J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., Robert Hariri, M.D., Ph.D., and Peter H. Diamandis, M.D.

The company, headquartered in San Diego, California, is being capitalized with an initial $70 million in investor funding.

Largest human sequencingread more

Two-dimensional ‘electron gas’ creates radical microelectronics devices

March 4, 2014

Atomic structure of strontium titinate (credit: Vienna University of Technology)

Vienna University of Technology researchers have created a two-dimensional “electron gas” in strontium titanate. In a thin layer formed by the gas just below the surface, electrons can move freely and occupy different quantum states.

The new material represents a potential future alternative to standard semiconductors. Strontium titanate or other metal oxides could also exhibit other novel phenomena, such as superconductivity, thermoelectricity (converting heat to electricity), or magnetic… read more

How to generate new neurons in brains, spinal cords of living adult mammals

No stem-cell transplants required
March 4, 2014

Induced adult neuroblasts (iANBs) generated from astrocytes develop into functionally mature neurons

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have created new nerve cells in the brains and spinal cords of living mammals without the need for stem cell transplants to replenish lost cells.

In a comment to a KurzweilAI news article, “Brain signals from a primate directly move paralyzed limbs in another primate ‘avatar,’” “Cazbot” wondered if “a sort of ‘neural jumper’ could be used to bridge damaged sections… read more

How memory and thought alter the meaning of odors

Neuroscientists monitor inhibitory neurons that link sense of smell with memory and cognition in mice, shaping perception from experiences
March 4, 2014

Granule cells at work (credit: iStock)

Odors have a way of connecting us with moments buried deep in our past. But researchers have long wondered how the process works in reverse: how do our memories shape the way sensory information is collected?

In work published in Nature Neuroscience, scientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) demonstrate for the first time a way to observe this process in awake animals.

The team, led… read more

Evidence of former life on Mars?

Carbon-rich tunnel, microtunnel, and spheroidal features on meteorite suggest past water movement throughout a Martian meteorite
March 4, 2014

meteorite_mars

A team of scientists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has found evidence of past water movement throughout a Martian meteorite, reviving debate in the scientific community over life on Mars.

The team reports that newly discovered structures and compositional features within the a 30-pound (13.7-kilogram) Yamato meteorite suggest biological processes might have been at work on Mars hundreds of millions of years… read more

Making nanoelectronics last longer for medical devices and ‘cyborgs’

March 3, 2014

Silicon nanowires.Top: bare, bottom, coated with aluminum oxide. The coated version lasts for 100 hours without damage.

Harvard scientist Charles Lieber and colleagues have developed a coating that makes nanoelectronics much more stable in conditions mimicking those in the human body.

The advance could aid in the development of very small implanted medical devices for monitoring health and disease, and could speed up the debut of cyborgs who are part human, the researchers say.

Nanoelectronics devices with nanowire components are much smaller than most… read more

Are you ready for the Internet of Cops?

March 3, 2014

FirstNet-challenges

FirstNet — a state-of-the-art communications network for paramedics, firemen and law enforcement at the federal, state and local level — will give cops on the streets unprecedented technological powers, and possibly hand over even more intimate data about our lives to the higher ends of the government and its intelligence agencies, Motherboard reports.

According to a series of presentation slides from December last year, FirstNet… read more

Future Day: a 24-hour global conversation

March 3, 2014

Future Day events

Future Day 2014, a third annual global event, combined Google hangouts and live events, bringing together people around the world to brainstorm ways to create a radically better future.

Future Day was organized by Humanity+, an international nonprofit membership organization that advocates the ethical use of technology to expand human capacities, and The Millennium Project — an independent non-profit global participatory futures… read more

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