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Biological computer can run 1 billion programs

March 23, 2005

Technion Israel Institute of Technology scientists have developed a biological computer, composed entirely of DNA molecules and enzymes constructed on a gold-coated chip, that can run 1 billion programs.

This increase represents a dramatic advance in terms of the potential mathematical operations and complexity of problems that may be solved using a biological computer, according to a Technion statement.

“The chip allows for automatic, real-time readout of the… read more

Biolaser Lights Up Stem Cells

April 1, 2005

Scientists have developed a laser that could illuminate stem cells in greater detail than ever, revealing the important steps they take to become neuron, heart or other types of cells.

Biolab on a chip

September 26, 2012

Manipulating_microscopic_magnetic_beads_at_MIT

MIT researchers figured out a way to get instant blood tests.

If you throw a ball underwater, you’ll find that the smaller it is, the faster it moves: A larger cross-section greatly increases the water’s resistance. The researchers plan to use this basic principle, on a microscopic scale, to carry out biomedical tests that could eventually lead to fast, compact and versatile medical-testing devices.

The balls used here… read more

Bioinspired robot shakes a tail to fool fish

December 7, 2012

Ethorobotics Fish (credit: Vladislav Kopman et al./Polytechnic Institute of New York University

Zebrafish are attracted to robots that can convincingly imitate Zebrafish tail motions, researchers at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) found in an experiment in “ethorobotics” — the study of bioinspired robots interacting with live animal counterparts.

Maurizio Porfiri, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NYU-Poly and students used image-based tracking software to analyze the movement of the live… read more

Bioinformatics moves into the mainstream

December 8, 2003

Genome mappings have generated a vast amount of biological data and now more than ever, scientists need sophisticated computational techniques to make sense of it.

For example, the Human Genome Database contains approximately 3 terabytes of data and the volume of life sciences data is doubling every six months.

To meet those ever-increasing needs, bioinformatics is shifting from software designed for a specific project in academic laboratories to… read more

‘Biohackers’ get their own space to create

January 16, 2012

welcome-to-biocurious-sign

BioCurious, a 2,500-square-feet community lab in an office building in Sunnyvale, opened in November as a place where scientists, entrepreneurs and others can meet to conduct biology experiments and innovate on everything from bacteria to thermal cyclers. The facility also offers classes on topics ranging from DNA sequencing to microfluidics.

Biofuels on a Big Scale

January 7, 2008

The first large-scale study of “cellulosic” perennial crop-based fuels shows that switchgrass yields more than five times the energy needed to grow, harvest, and transport the grass and convert it to ethanol.

U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers also found that the switchgrass is carbon-neutral, since it absorbs essentially the same amount of greenhouse gases while it’s growing as it emits when burned as fuel.

Biofuels Are Bad for Feeding People and Combating Climate Change

February 8, 2008

Converting corn to ethanol in Iowa not only leads to clearing more of the Amazonian rainforest, researchers report, but also would do little to slow global warming.

It may often make it worse. Growing plants store carbon in their roots, shoots and leaves, which will end up as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere when cut down. And diverting food crops into fuel production also leads to ever more land… read more

Biofuel corn makes enzymes to digest itself

April 8, 2008

Michigan State University, East Lansing researchers and colleagues have grown corn engineered to produce key enzymes needed to break down cellulose into sugar for use in making biofuel.

The three enzymes added to the transgenic corn came from a hot-spring microbe (breaks cellulose up), a fungus (breaks cellulose into a pair of sugar molecules), and a cow’s stomach microbe (breaks paired sugar molecules into simple sugars).

To keep… read more

Biofeedback mobile app

February 12, 2013

lg-icon-biozen2

The Department of Defense has released an Android smartphone app to help service members use the therapeutic benefits of biofeedback.

BioZen, a mobile app from the Defense Department’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), uses Bluetooth-coupled sensors to show the user their physical level of relaxation.

It is the first portable, low-cost method for clinicians and patients to use biofeedback in… read more

Bioethics board backs embryo alteration for mitochondrial disease

June 12, 2012

fusing eggs

Reproductive procedures that would save children from inheriting mitochondrial diseases received a provisional thumbs-up from an influential U.K. bioethics body on June 12, Nature News Blog reports.

The London-based Nuffield Council on Bioethics found few ethical qualms with two procedures that involve transferring DNA from an egg cell with defunct mitochondria to another woman’s egg that has been stripped of its nucleus (see UK setsread more

Bioentrepreneur: From slime to tissue culture

May 20, 2011

Micro Bioreactor

TissueFlex, a disposable micro-bioreactor that allows cells to be grown in three dimensions rather than two, is being developed by a start-up firm called Zyoxel.

The micro-bioreactor is made from a biocompatible silicone-based polymer and comprises just two parts: the bottom layer, containing wells, and the top cover, which seals each well. Lengths of needle-like steel tubing, which make the inlet and outlet ports for… read more

Bioengineers Devise ‘Dimmer Switch’ To Regulate Gene Expression In Mammal Cells

August 2, 2007

Boston University biomedical engineers have created a genetic dimmer switch that can be used to turn on, shut off, or partially activate a gene’s function during expression as proteins.

The switch holds promise for therapeutic applications, and helps advance the field of synthetic biology, which rests on the premise that complex biological systems can be built by arranging components or standard parts, as an electrician would to build an… read more

Bioengineers create rewritable digital data storage in DNA

May 22, 2012

RAD module

A method for repeatedly encoding, storing and erasing digital data within the DNA of living cells, using natural enzymes adapted from bacteria — the genetic equivalent of a bit — has been developed by Stanford University scientists in the Department of Bioengineering, a joint effort of the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine.

“Programmable data storage within the DNA of living cells would seem… read more

Bioengineering cells for more efficient biofuel production

Yeast research takes a step toward production of alternatives to gasoline
February 20, 2013

Yeast Cell ---an image within an exhibit called "From Another Kingdom" at the National Botanic Garden of Wales (credit: flickr.com/col and tasha)

In the search for renewable alternatives to gasoline, heavy alcohols such as isobutanol are promising candidates.

They contain more energy than ethanol and are also more compatible with existing gasoline-based infrastructure.

For isobutanol to become practical, however, scientists need a way to reliably produce huge quantities of it from renewable sources.

MIT chemical engineers and biologists have now devised a way… read more

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