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BioTechCircle News®

 

August 2011

 

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Issue 98

See all previous issues at archives: http://www.techmanage.net/research

 

You can now follow our comments and updates on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BioTechCircle

For a sneak preview of site updates and analysis of the latest research reports (articles and gene-related patents, patent applications), subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of our home page.

 

In this articles section: links to 107 free Web articles in 12 major categories.

There are 7 articles in our new “BTC’s News You Can Use” category. These articles contain vital new information for improving health and well being or issues that we feel you need to be aware of and can start using right away.

 

The major categories are in alphabetical order and further subdivided to make it easy for you to locate news and developments in technology, the business and the markets in the life science areas of interest to you. We’ve provided brief synopses to help you decide which articles you’d like to read. Simply click on the title to go directly to the original article.

 

Here are the major categories.

 

Agri-Biotech (11 articles)

Biobusiness Management (8 articles)

BTC’s News You Can Use (7 articles)

Drug Delivery (2 articles)

Industry (10 articles)

Investments/Government Support (5 articles)

Novel Applications (9 articles)

Organizations (1 article)

People Profiles (2 articles)

Platform Technologies (22 articles)

Research Advancements (20 articles)

Research Tools (10 articles)

 

For a brief explanation of how we categorize the articles, please see "Express Guide to Monthly Web Articles at: http://www.techmanage.net/expressguide_articles

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AGRI-BIOTECH

Subcategory: Animal

How Bats Stay on Target Despite the Clutter

Richard Lewis Brown University (28-Jul-11)

Differences in delay as short as 3 microseconds between parts of an echo is

enough to tell the bat the object may not be its target. The research could lead

to more precise targeting by sonar-led vehicles.

Critters Moving Away from Global Warming Faster

Seth Borenstein Yahoo!News (18-Aug-11)

About 2,000 species examined are moving away from the equator at an

average rate of more than 15 feet per day, about a mile per year, according to

new research. Species are also moving up mountains to escape the heat,

averaging about 4 feet a year.

Subcategory: Energy/ Fuel

Biofuels: An Ethical Framework

Rajendrani Mukhopadhyay Chemical & Engineering News (15-Aug-11)

Discusses 5 principles to govern the ethical production of biofuels based on

an integrated analysis of all the ethical concerns of biofuel production,

recommendations on how to better set government policies to guide biofuel

production. Link to report.

Subcategory: Environment

Tohoku Tsunami Created Icebergs In Antarctica

NASA (08-Aug-11)

Proof that seismic activity can cause Antarctic iceberg calving might shed

some light on our knowledge of past events. Before and after photos show the

power of an earthquake and tsunami to break off large icebergs a hemisphere

away in Antarctica.

Subcategory: Environmental

Facts and Fascination: "Marine Biology" at 3000m Above Sea Level

Austrian Science Fund (02-Sep-11)

Research on lifestyle habits and climate 140 to 90 million years ago in the

Dolomites' Cretaceous period is presented in film and photos. Proved that sea

temperatures in the Mediterranean area rose by 10 to 12 degrees Celsius

during that period.

Algae-Based Fuel: Environmental Burden

Zak Richards Manufacturing.net (19-Aug-11)

Algae-based biodiesel production uses more energy in the form of

petroleum-powered processes than other biofuels. Algae-based biodiesel and

bioelectricity production processes also require substantial amounts of water

and emit more greenhouse gases.

Subcategory: Food

U of A Researchers Strive to Increase Awareness of Forgotten Essential Nutrient

Andrea Hill University of Alberta (05-Aug-11)

Choline, a nutrient found in foods such as egg yolks, liver and soybeans, does

not appear to be high on anyone’s list of eating priorities. Although produced

naturally in the liver, people can't produce enough to reap choline's benefits,

say researchers.

U of M Researchers Discover a Natural Food Preservative that Kills Food-borne

Bacteria

University of Minnesota (04-Aug-11)

Patented naturally occurring lantibiotic (a peptide produced by a harmless

bacteria) could be added to food to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella, E. coli

and listeria. Lantibiotics are easy to digest, nontoxic, do not induce allergies.

Subcategory: Materials


Why Don’t Spiders Drop off of Their Threads?

Prof. Horst Kessler TUM (17-Aug-11)

Scientists unveil a further secret of silk proteins and the mechanism that

imparts spider silk with its strength, which is 5x the tensile strength of steel

and is stronger then even the best currently available synthetic fibers.

Better Desalination Technology Would Help Solve World’s Water Shortage

Yale University (04-Aug-11)

Scientists believe a membrane could be developed that would filter boron and

chloride more efficiently at the same time as the salt is removed. Would result

in large energy, cost savings, especially for the 70% of the world's water used

in agriculture.

Subcategory: Microorganisms

Hidden Soil Fungus, Now Revealed, Is in a Class All Its Own

University of Michigan (11-Aug-11)

A type of fungus that's been lurking underground for millions of years,

previously known to science only through its DNA, has been cultured,

photographed, named and assigned a place on the tree of life. Its new class:

Archaeorhizomycetes.

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BIOBUSINESS MANAGEMENT

Subcategory: Bioethics

A Clash of Interests

Britt Erickson Chemical & Engineering News (29-Aug-11)

Criticism of an updated rule meant to strengthen conflict-of-interest oversight

concerns access to the information. Instead of requiring conflict-of-interest

information to be publicly accessible on a website, institutions may opt for a

written request.

Subcategory: Energy/ Fuel

IIT Installs Chicago’s First Advanced Wind Turbine

Illinois Institute of Technology (20-Jul-11)

The utility-grade research turbine is outfitted with high-performance

technology designed to increase output and reduce wear and tear on

components, which ultimately will increase the lifespan and performance of

the equipment.

Subcategory: Environmental

Solar Company That Got Federal Loan Shuts Down

Kevin Freking and Jason Dearen Manufacturing.net (31-Aug-11)

Third solar company to seek bankruptcy protectionin 2011 said that the

global economy as well as unfavorable conditions in the solar industry

combined to force the company to suspend its manufacturing operations.

Subcategory: Marketing

Time for Pharma to Face Social Media Fears?

Reeta Mehrishi and Sanjeev Sachdeva Bio-IT World (02-Aug-11)

By getting mired in regulatory and compliance challenges posed by the U.S.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA), pharma companies are missing out on

a significant opportunity both for their businesses and their brands, authors

write.

Subcategory: Microorganisms

NIST Finds That Ethanol-Loving Bacteria Accelerate Cracking of Pipeline

Laura Ost National Institute of Standards and Technology (02-Aug-11)

Bacteria that feed on ethanol and produce acid boosted fatigue crack growth

rates by at least 25 times the levels occuring in air alone. Glutaraldehyde, a

biocide used in oil and gas operations, may help control bacterial growth

during ethanol transport.

Subcategory: Miscellaneous


Georgia Tech Researchers Demo Disaster Communications System

Georgia Tech (16-Aug-11)

A wireless system called LifeNet, designed to help first responders

communicate after disasters, is a mobile ad-hoc network that requires no

infrastructure such as Internet, cell towers or traditional landlines.

Subcategory: Patent/Intellectual Property Issues

Patenting Human Genes

Glenn Hess Chemical & Engineering News (02-Aug-11)

Ruling supports right of company to patent to "isolated" human genes that

account for most forms of breast and ovarian cancers. Researchers and

women’s health groups are unhappy, likely to ask for rehearing or seeking

review by the Supreme Court.

Patent Trolls and Innovation

Brayden King orgtheory.net (26-Jul-11)

What if patent use is becoming decoupled from creativity? increasingly

patents are being used to stifle innovation by wiping out or financially

weakening companies that are actually trying to bring innovation to the

marketplace.

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BTC'S NEWS YOU CAN USE

Subcategory: Cardiology/ Vascular Diseases

2011 Invention Awards: A Mirror That Monitors Vital Signs

Gregory Mone Popsci (26-May-11)

A webcam in a monitor behind a 2-way mirror captures the changes in the

light reflected off the subject’s face when the heart beats. The computer

translates the light data into a heart rate reading.

Subcategory: Energy/ Fuel

Department of Energy Relaunches Energy.Gov

U.S. Department of Energy (04-Aug-11)

Energy.gov modernizes how consumers and businesses access the information

and resources they need to save money and energy while improving

Departmental staff’s ability to interact with the public and each other.

Subcategory: Miscellaneous

7 Medical Phone Peripherals You Should Know

Brian Dolan mobihealthnews (22-Jul-11)

These include an iPhone EKG, an integrated cell phone-glucometer system, a

nanosensor “tattoo” that allows sodium and blood oxygen levels to be

monitored, a system for prescribing eyeglasses and a microscope peripheral

for developing nations.

Subcategory: Neurology

Women and Men Anticipate Negative Experiences Differently, Study Suggests

Wellcome Trust (24-Aug-11)

Findings suggest that women's enhanced emotional responsiveness extends to

the anticipation of unpleasant events. Upon anticipation of an unpleasant

event, women may spontaneously engage strategies to counter the impact of

negative emotions.

Subcategory: Oncology

New Non-Invasive Test Helps Diagnose Prostate Cancer

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (03-Aug-11)

Scientists identified a fusion between 2 genes that’s present in around half of

all prostate cancers called TMPRSS2:ERG, highly specific for prostate

cancer—it’s not found in normal prostate tissue, nor in any other kinds of

cancer.

Rutgers Study: More Evidence that Caffeine Lowers Risk of Skin Cancer

Rutgers (15-Aug-11)

Study strengthens the theory that caffeine guards against certain skin cancers

at the molecular level by inhibiting a protein enzyme in the skin, known as

ATR. Not yet determined: whether topical caffeine inhibits sunlight-induced

skin cancer.

Subcategory: Pulmonary/ Respiratory Diseases

Penn Study Shows an Ancient Crop Effective in Protecting Against a 21st

Century Hazard

Penn Medicine (09-Aug-11)

Researchers found that a diet of flaxseed given to mice not only protects lung

tissues from fibrosis before exposure to radiation, but can also significantly

reduce damage after exposure occurs.

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DRUG DELIVERY

Subcategory: Nanotechnology

Researchers Develop and Test New Molecule as a Delivery Vehicle to Image and

Kill Brain Tumors

Virginia Commonwealth University (03-Aug-11)

A nanoparticle filled with gadolinium, a sensitive MRI contrast agent for

imaging, and radioactive lutetium 177 to deliver brachytherapy, is capable of

delivering simultaneously effective treatment and imaging.

Subcategory: Privacy/ Records Management

Insulin Pumps, Monitors Vulnerable to Hacking

Jordan Robertson Techland (04-Aug-11)

A security researcher who is diabetic has identified flaws that could allow an

attacker to remotely control insulin pumps and alter the readouts of

blood-sugar monitors. As a result, diabetics could get too much or too little insulin.

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INDUSTRY

Subcategory: Academia/ Laboratories

Many Top US Scientists Wish They Had more Children

Rice University (08-Aug-11)

Academic science careers are tough on family life because of the long hours and the pressure of publishing and grant-getting needed to get tenure. Both men and women say having a science career means they will have fewer children than they wanted.


Subcategory: Drug Discovery

The Human Element in Toxicity Testing

Vanessa Ott Drug Discovery & Development (01-Aug-11)

Pharmaceutical companies seek ways to improve their research and

development hit rate, lower the cost of research, and reduce pipeline attrition

during drug development. The use of iPSC-derived human cell models may

have a significant positive impact.

Subcategory: Electronic Health Records

Personal Health Record Use is Poised for a Significant Upswing, Finds Frost &

Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan 11-Jul-11

Consumer adoption of Web-based personal health records (PHRs) is steadily

growing due to greater awareness of its value, increased use of electronic

health records by physicians and hospitals, new mobile technology tools.

Report abstract.

Subcategory: Employment/Jobs

Healthcare Industry Leads Market in IT Hiring

Lucas Mearian CIO (04-Aug-11)

IT jobs in healthcare are expected to grow by 20% annually through 2018,

"much faster than average." There are currently 176,090 healthcare IT jobs,

according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. CIO and CTO positions

show the most growth.

Subcategory: Energy/ Fuel

Renewable Energy's Achilles' Heel Is Storage

Charles Murray Design News (31-Aug-11)

Experts say that if more than 20% of our power came from renewables, we

would need storage. "It looks like nuclear is the power source that can take us

through the next 400 years. Solar and wind still have huge problems."

Energy Department Applauds World’s First Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy

Station in Orange County

U.S. Department of Energy (16-Aug-11)

Fuel cell, a combined heat, hydrogen, and power system, co-produces

hydrogen plus electricity and heat, making it a tri-generation system. A

hydrogen fueling station will be open to the public, supporting 25-50 fuel cell

electric vehicle fill-ups per day.

Subcategory: Environment

Human Influence on the 21st Century Climate: One Possible Future for the

Atmosphere

Mary Beckman Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (05-Aug-11)

New computer modeling work indicates use of more nuclear and renewable

energy, choosing electricity over fossil fuels, reducing emissions through

technologies that capture and store carbon dioxide, and even using forests to

store carbon.

Subcategory: Geographic focus

Innovation & Opportunities-Chronic Diseases & Community Care-Trends in

Asia & Singapore

Dr. Milind Sabnis Frost & Sullivan (01-Aug-11)

Slide show on changing demand for healthcare services resulting from a rising

middle clas and an aging population, specialized services delivery, shifting

trends from treatment to prevention and other issues.

Subcategory: Geriatrics

RIBA-II, the Next Generation Care-giving Robot

RIKEN (02-Aug-11)

A new robot using high-precision tactile sensors and flexible motor control

technology can lift a patient off bedding and into a wheelchair, taking Japan

one step closer to its goal of providing high-quality care for its growing elderly population.

Subcategory: Investees

Rock Report: State of Digital Health

Rock Health (01-Aug-11)

Slide show report on VC funding and entrepreneur perspectives on digital

health. Graphics, map identifying U.S. locations of VC-backed companies.

Links to digital health companies, healthstartup survey.

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INVESTMENTS/ GOV. SUPPORT

Subcategory: Education

New Fellowship Funds Research for 48 International Graduate Students

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (04-Aug-11)

Offered for the first time, the $2 million commitment to the International

Student Research Fellowships will support science and engineering students

during their third, fourth, and fifth year of graduate school.

ONR Funded Smartphone App Exceeds 33,000 Downloads in First Three Weeks

Office of Naval Research (03-Aug-11)

Department of the Navy’s commitment to investing in K-12 science,

technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and outreach is

vital as 50% of engineers will become eligible for retirement by 2020.

Subcategory: Energy/ Fuel

Examining Biofuels Policy

Rajendrani Mukhopadhyay Chemical & Engineering News (15-Aug-11)

Experts are taking a more measured view of biofuels and their promise to be

affordable, available, and clean. Among the factors under scrutiny are raw

materials, environmental impact, social cost, and infrastructure

implementation.

Subcategory: Federal

Stem Cells: NIH Welcomes Dismissal of Llawsuit that Would Stop Funding of

Research

Britt Erickson Chemical & Engineering News (01-Aug-11)

A federal judge has thrown out a case that in August 2010 briefly shut down

government-funded research on human embryonic stem cells and threatened to

stop the work altogether. The plaintiffs plan to review all options for an

appeal, however.

Subcategory: Geographic focus

U.S. Northeast Region to Launch $3.5 Billion in Industrial Projects in Third

Quarter

Industrial Info Resources (11-Aug-11)

The Pharmaceutical & Biotech Industry has highest third-quarter project

starts, with $796 million divided over just 21 projects. The largest is Merck's

$120 million project in New Jersey, to expand the former Schering-Plough

building. Free registration.

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NOVEL APPLICATIONS

Subcategory: Disease Prevention

VIDEO: Scientists Use Mosquitoes To Test Water Quality

IMPO (25-Aug-11)

A Costa Rican researcher has discovered a type of mosquito that can be used

to identify safe river water for human consumption. The mosquito and their

larvae become poisoned by polluted water or die from lack of oxygen.

Subcategory: Energy/ Fuel

Solar Power Company Plans Giant Arizona Tower, Second Tallest Structure on

Earth

Ned Potter ABC World News (27-Jul-11)

In the desert of western Arizona, a power company proposes to build the

world's tallest chimney -- a tower, 2,600 feet tall, that would be the

centerpiece of a giant non-polluting power plant, making electricity from the

heat of the sun.

Sun-Less Solar Cells Could Make Energy From Anything Hot

Kit Eaton Fast Company (01-Aug-11)

Photovoltaic cells that convert heat, not sunlight, to electricity may turn out

to be the solution for capturing all the energy we waste through heat. Could

include areas such as the hot back of your TV or even from the hot water you

let down the drain.

Subcategory: Environment

MIT Students Install 10,000 Revolutionary Solar Bottle Lamps in Manila Slums

Tafline Laylin Inhabitat (29-Jul-11)

Fill a bunch of 1-liter plastic bottles with water and bleach, insert them into

holes cut into a metal roof, seal the holes so they don't leak and what do you

get? Light, equivalent to a standard 60 watt light bulb. Lasts ~ 5 years, thanks

to the bleach.

Subcategory: Environmental

VIDEO: First Erasable Electronic Paper

IMPO (19-Aug-11)

A rewritable electronic paper ''i2R e-Paper'' that can be re-used up to 260

times may soon replace the conventional paper used for millions of signs and

posters for commercial purposes, train tickets and other applications such as

security badges.

Subcategory: Imaging

Invisible, Inc.

Bruce Barcott The Atlantic 01-Jul-11

Why "next-generation" camouflage works: it has to do with the way the eye

and the brain interact. Focal vision involves our direct attention, ambient

vision is constantly processing visual information in our periphery and

ignores perceived "white noise."

Subcategory: Materials

Southampton Engineers Fly the World’s First ‘Printed’ Aircraft

University of Southampton (28-Jul-11)

A nylon laser sintering machine fabricated the airplane, building it up layer by

layer. No fasteners were used; all equipment was attached using ‘snap fit’

techniques so that the entire aircraft can be put together without tools in

minutes.

Subcategory: Miscellaneous

Machine Turns Air Into Water

IMPO (10-Aug-11)

A Texas man has invented a machine that can make drinkable water out of air.

The "drought master" can make 5-7 gallons of pure water in a day. Making a

gallon only costs 4 cents in electrical charges and building one only takes 2

hours.

Subcategory: Musculoskeletal

Running Robot: MABEL Is Now the World's Fastest Two-legged Robot with Knees

University of Michigan (15-Aug-11)

With a peak pace of 6.8 miles per hour, the robot MABEL may be precursor

to exoskeletons that enable wheelchair-bound people to walk again or that give

rescuers super-human abilities, and powered prosthetic limbs. Includes video.

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ORGANIZATIONS

Subcategory: Environment

Apple Unveils Exciting New Pictures of Its Foster & Partners Designed Green

Headquarters in Cupertino!

Tafline Laylin Inhabitat (15-Aug-11)

Description and photo gallery of Apple's new campus, planned to open in

2015. Features include a circular design, natural ventilation and

energy-efficiency via an on-campus power plant.

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PEOPLE PROFILES

Subcategory: Energy/ Fuel

13-Year-Old Makes Solar Power Breakthrough by Harnessing the Fibonacci

Sequence

Andrew Michler Inhabitat (19-Aug-11)

After studying how trees branch in a very specific way, Aidan Dwyer created

a solar cell tree that produces 20-50% more power than a uniform array of

photovoltaic panels. The biomimicry study earned Aidan a provisional U.S

patent.

Subcategory: Environmental

Super Green Adults

Jack Loechner Media Post Research Brief (16-Aug-11)

The Super Green population, which accounts for 5% of all U.S. adults, are

76% more likely than the average adult to have an annual household income of

$150K or greater. They are more likely to own homes valued above $500K.

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PLATFORM TECHNOLOGIES

Subcategory: Cell Therapy

A Patient's Own Skin Cells may One Day Treat Multiple Diseases

UC Davis (04-Aug-11)

Problems that have been identified with use of induced pluripotent stem cells

(iPSCs) to treat many diseases as an alternative or adjuvant therapy to drugs

or surgery likely can be overcome, allowing iPSCs to "jump from the

laboratory dish to patients."

Subcategory: Computing Systems

IBM Working On Chips That Behave Like Brains

Jordan Robertson Manufacturing.net (18-Aug-11)

Prototype chips said to process data more like how humans digest

information than the chips that now power PCs and supercomputers. The

new chips have parts that behave like digital "neurons" and "synapses" for

computing, communication and memory.

Subcategory: Drug Discovery

Anesthesia’s Awakening

Carmen Drahl Chemical & Engineering News (22-Aug-11)

Researchers are trying to gain a better understanding of how general

anesthetics work. They are also developing tools to help them search for new

anesthetics. And tadpoles are an important part of the process. Article and

video.

UC Riverside Chemists Transform Acids into Bases

University of California, Riverside (28-Jul-11)

Research makes impossible a reality, making possible a vast array of chemical

reactions – such as those used in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology

industries, manufacturing new materials, and research academic institutions.

Subcategory: Energy/ Fuel

Catalyst that Makes Hydrogen Gas Breaks Speed Record

Mary Beckman Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (11-Aug-11)

Enzyme coupled with a nickel-based catalyst is shown to work 10 times

faster than the original protein found in water-dwelling microbes, producing

100,000 molecules of hydrogen gas every second.

Subcategory: Evolution Research

Vertebrate Evolution Occurred in Genetically Distinct Epochs

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (19-Aug-11)

Describes 3 separate eras of genetic evolution: regulatory mutations occurring

near genes involved in guiding embryonic development, mutations affecting

the genes that regulate cell-to-cell signaling, genes involved in cells’ internal

signaling pathways.

Subcategory: Gene Therapy

Gene-therapy Success for Children Born without Functioning Immune System

Wellcome Trust (25-Aug-11)

Therapies have been developed to treat 2 conditions commonly known as

'boy in the bubble' syndrome: X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency

(X-SCID) and adenosine deaminase-deficient severe combined

immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID).

Subcategory: Genomics

Your Genome Structure, Not Genetic Mutations, Makes You Different

Brandon Keim Wired Science (29-Jul-11)

It might seem counterintuitive that big changes have been harder to detect than

small ones, but it’s a consequence of how genomes are read. But variations in

structure may be responsible for most genetic difference among people.

Subcategory: Lab-on-a-chip/ DNA Chips/

New UC Sensor Promises Rapid Detection of Dangerous Heavy Metal Levels in

Humans

M.B. Reilly University of Cincinnati (01-Aug-11)

Researchers have developed the first lab-on-a-chip sensor to provide fast

feedback regarding levels of the heavy metal manganese in humans. The sensor

is both environmentally and child friendly.

Subcategory: Materials

Utah Researcher Helps Artist Make Bulletproof Skin

Lynn DeBruin Manufacturing.net (22-Aug-11)

A bio-art project to create bulletproof skin has given a Utah State researcher

even more hope his genetically engineered spider silk can be used to help

surgeons heal large wounds and create artificial tendons and ligaments.

Sun-free Photovoltaics

Nancy W. Stauffer MIT News (28-Jul-11)

A new photovoltaic energy-conversion system can be powered solely by

heat, generating electricity with no sunlight at all via a novel way of

engineering the surface of a material to convert heat into precisely tuned

wavelengths of light.

Restoring Blood Flow

Megan Fellman Northwestern University (02-Aug-11)

A novel nanostructure promotes growth of new blood vessels, shows promise

as a therapy for conditions where increased blood flow is needed to supply

oxygen to tissue. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is the protein the

nanostructure mimics.

One Box of Girl Scout Cookies Worth $15 Billion

Rice University (04-Aug-11)

Graphene is a material valued for its toughness and conductivity. At a

commercial rate for pristine graphene ($250/2-inch square)a box of traditional

Girl Scout shortbread cookies could turn a $15 billion profit. Video, photo

links.

UCLA Engineers Create Polymer Light-emitting Devices that Can Be Stretched

like Rubber

UCLA (04-Aug-11)

Stretchable electronics, an emerging class of electronic materials that can bend

and stretch, have a wide range of potential applications, including wearable

electronics, "smart skins" and minimally invasive biomedical devices that can

move with the body.

Subcategory: Microorganisms

UMass Amherst Research Team Discovers New Conducting Properties of

Bacteria-Produced Nanowires

Janet Lathrop University of Massachusetts Amherst (07-Aug-11)

A fundamental, previously unknown property of microbial nanowires in the

bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens is that it allows electron transport across

long distances. Discovery represents a fundamental change in understanding of

biofilms.

Subcategory: Musculoskeletal

Back, Neck Pain Sufferers Could Find Relief with Cornell-developed Spinal

Disc Implants

Anne Ju Cornell University (01-Aug-11)

Artificial implant replaces intervertebral discs in the spinal column. Collagen

which wraps around the outside of the disc and a hydrogel called alginate fills

in the middle. Seeding the implants with cells repopulate the structures with

new tissue.

Subcategory: Nanotechnology

The Petri Dish Gets a Makeover

Lauren Gravitz Technology Review (23-Aug-11)

A nanopore membrane could let hospital laboratories identify the presence of

dangerous bacteria up to 5 times faster than conventional methods. Could

reduce unnecessary antibiotic use and provide more reliable water-quality test

results.

Subcategory: Proteomics

DNA Construction Software Saves Time, Resources and Money

Lynn Yarris Berkeley News (16-Aug-11)

DNA construction is used for a wide variety of purposes, including genetic

studies, medical research, and the development of advanced biofuels. New

software also identifies which strategy would be the most cost-effective.

Sighting Signaling

Carmen Drahl Chemical & Engineering News (26-Jul-11)

Researchers have obtained an atomic-resolution image of a G-protein-coupled

receptor (GPCR) together with its G protein partner. Iimplications for both

fundamental biochemistry and drug design.

Researchers Use Neutrons to Spy on the Elusive Hydronium Ion: Los Alamos

Team Sees Unprecedented Proof of Ion's Role in Enzymatic Process

Los Alamos National Laboratory (08-Aug-11)

Could aid in treatment of peptic ulcers or acid reflux disease, allow for more

efficient conversion of woody waste into transportation fuels; may help

provide a better understanding of metabolic transfer of energy in living cells or

living organisms.

Armchair Science: DNA Strands That Select Nanotubes Are First Step to a

Practical ‘Quantum Wire'

Michael Baum NIST (02-Aug-11)

Armchair-form single wall carbon nanotubes, needed to make “quantum

wires” for low-loss, long distance electricity transmission and wiring, can be

purified from tailored single strands of DNA.

An RNA Switch for Stem Cells

Courtney Humphries Technology Review (29-Aug-11)

New study reveals the influence of large RNA molecules called lincRNAs

(short for large intergenic noncoding RNAs) in controlling stem cells. Single

lincRNAs seem to interact with and control large complexes of proteins.

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RESEARCH ADVANCEMENTS

Subcategory: Cardiology/ Vascular Diseases

Pacing the Heart with Light

Courtney Humphries Technology Review (16-Aug-11)

Optogenetics, using a combination of genetic manipulation and simple pulses

of light, allows scientists to control beating heart cells, pointing the way

toward a better pacemaker. May be possible to inject a small amount of

light-sensitive donor cells.

Subcategory: Dermatology

New Composite Material May Restore Damaged Soft Tissue

Johns Hopkins Medicine (01-Aug-11)

Liquid material, a composite of biological and synthetic molecules, shows

promise in restoring damaged soft tissue relatively safely and durably.

Injected under the skin, it is then “set” using light to form a more solid

structure

Subcategory: Geriatrics

Old Blood Impairs Young Brains

Courtney Humphries Technology Review (31-Aug-11)

And vice versa. Mouse study suggests that age-related chemical signals in

blood impair the growth of new neurons, but young blood can refresh old

brains. The process of neurogenesis thus may be affected from outside the

brain.

Yale Researchers Show how Memory Is Lost — and Found

Yale University (27-Jul-11)

The neural networks in the brains of the middle-aged and elderly have weaker

connections and fire less robustly than in youthful ones. Research suggests

that this condition is reversible. Video: How Memory Is Lost - and Found

Subcategory: Immunology/ Infectious Diseases

Antibody Recognizes Many Strains of Flu Virus

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (08-Aug-11)

Scientists have now discovered a human antibody, CH65, that recognizes

many different flu strains. Understanding more about this antibody may help Institute

scientists design a longer-lasting vaccine against the influenza virus.

Scientists Develop New Technology to Help Understand Bacterial Infections

Wellcome Trust (31-Aug-11)

New approach, using lateral molecular force microscope (LMFM) for

studying molecules within their natural environment will help researchers

understand how bacteria infect our cells. Measured changes in UspA1 protein

with Moraxella catarrhalis infection.

Subcategory: Metabolism: Obesity, Diabetes

Study of Metabolites Reveals Genetic Influence on Human Metabolism

Wellcome Trust (01-Sep-11)

Previously unknown association of mannose, a natural sugar, with

diabetes-associated variants identified. This link suggests a new line of

research to examine the role of mannose in diabetes, both as a diagnostic and

as part of the disease process.

Gene ‘Overdose’ Significantly Increases Risk of Extreme Thinness

Wellcome Trust (01-Sep-11)

Scientists have discovered a genetic variant that makes men 23 times and

women 5 times more likely to be underweight. The variant affects 1 in 2000

people, involves duplication of part of chromosome 16, resulting in an

abnormal ‘dosage’ of genes.

Subcategory: Miscellaneous

Research Offers New Way to Target Shape-shifting Proteins

Wellcome Trust (30-Aug-11)

The antibiotic molecule Rifamycin SV can stop the formation amyloid fibrils,

that cause joint pain in people receiving kidney dialysis. Could lead to insights

into Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and type II diabetes.

Subcategory: Musculoskeletal

From Wood to Bone

Elena Ledda European Research Media (16-Aug-11)

Wood transformed into a type of ceramic that is identical to the mineral part

of the bone (hydroxyapatite, which makes up 80% of it) can be inserted into

the gap of a fractured bone and stimulate the cells to wrap themselves around it.

Researchers Find 29 New Genetic Variants Associated with Multiple Sclerosis

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (11-Aug-11)

Many of the newly identified risk-related genes are immune system-related, in

particular implicate T-helper cell differentiation in the pathogenesis of MS.

The results also highlighted previously reported risk factors such as vitamin D

deficiency.

Subcategory: Neurology

Disease Protein’s Mistaken Identity

Celia Henry Arnaud Chemical & Engineering News (22-Aug-11)

A better understanding of a-synuclein’s structure could help biologists figure

out its normal function and provide a new therapeutic target for Parkinson’s

disease. Rather than an unfolded monomer, the tetramer could point to new

treatments.

Ready to Learn? Brain Scans Can Tell You

Anne Trafton MIT News (19-Aug-11)

Activity in a specific part of the brain, known as the parahippocampal cortex

(PHC), predicts how well people will remember a visual scene. Adds a new

element to the longstanding question of why we remember certain things

better than others.

Purdue Receives $2.1 Million to Study Link between Personality Traits, Health

Purdue News (10-Aug-11)

Study will focus on older adults, but some of their health and personality

information will be provided since they were young adults. Will track if

people's personality changed, extent to which the trait changers matter for

health and longevity.

Scientists Control Sleep and Social Activity with Light

Emily Singer Technology Review (28-Jul-11)

Optogenetics technology allows researchers to explore a growing range of

behavior. Light targeting the prefrontal cortex of the brain is used to trigger,

then alleviate social deficits in mice resembling those seen in autism.

Subcategory: Oncology

Cracking the Interferon Code

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (19-Aug-11)

Interferons appear to hold broad therapeutic potential as scientists explain

how each type I interferon triggers its own set of antiviral and anticancer

functions while acting through the same receptor.

Genetically Modified "Serial Killer" T Cells Obliterate Tumors in Patients

with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Penn Medicine (10-Aug-11)

Sustained remissions of up to a year is shown among a small group of

advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients treated with

genetically engineered versions of their own T cells. Within 3 weeks, the

tumors had been obliterated.

Engineered Viruses Selectively Kill Cancer Cells

Alla Katsnelson Technology Review (31-Aug-11)

A single injection of a virus that has been genetically engineered to kill cancer

cells can reliably infect tumors and leave healthy tissue unharmed. Findings

help lay the groundwork for a new type of cancer medicine using

cancer-killing viruses.

Subcategory: Pulmonary/ Respiratory Diseases

Artificial Lung Is Microfluidics Marvel

Doug Smock Design News (04-Aug-11)

Current artificial lungs require bulky compressed oxygen tanks. A prototype

of a portable or implantable artificial lung weighs about 20 grams (0.71

ounces); measuring 6"x6"x4" tall, it is about the volume of the human lung.

Subcategory: Test Systems - Chemistry/Biochemistry

Method Could Resolve Nanosilver's Cloudy Toxicity Picture

Naomi Lubick Chemical & Engineering News (08-Aug-11)

Manufacturers add silver nanoparticles to consumer products such as clothing

to exploit the particles' antimicrobial properties. Nanosilver can harm

organisms such as algae, but it's unclear whether silver nanoparticles or silver

ions cause the toxicity.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

RESEARCH TOOLS

Subcategory: Computing Systems

A Look At IBM's Brain-Like Computer Chips

IMPO (29-Aug-11)

Video. Prototypes offer further evidence of the growing importance of

"parallel processing," or computers doing multiple tasks simultaneously. The

chips process data more like how humans digest information than chips that

now power PCs and supercomputers.

Subcategory: Drug Discovery

Gene Expression Data Matches Old Drugs to New Uses

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (19-Aug-11)

New computer program compares gene expression patterns from diseased

cells with those from cells treated with individual drugs. When the program

finds a gene pattern that matches, it suggests a potential drug-disease pair.

Subcategory: Energy/ Fuel

Univ. of Miami Scientists Found Way To Identify Manmade Biofuels in

Atmosphere

University of Miami (03-Aug-11)

Thanks to a unique isotopic signature found in vehicle emissions, scientists

have discovered a technique to track urban atmospheric plumes.

Subcategory: Evolution Research

Gut Coils with Help from Its Elastic Neighbor

Caroline Perry Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (10-Aug-11)

Researchers show that a "simple" balance of forces determines the form of the

gut, as differences in growth rates between the gut tube and the neighboring

mesenteric tissue force the tube to coil, regardless of the space constraints.

Researchers Discover Oldest Evidence of Nails in Modern Primates

Danielle Torrent University of Florida (15-Aug-11)

Researchers recovered and analyzed the oldest fossil evidence of fingernails in

modern primates, confirming the idea nails developed with small body size

and disproving previous theories nails evolved with an increase in primate

body size.

Subcategory: Imaging

Detecting an Unexpected Delay at Ultrafast Speed

Riken Research (05-Aug-11)

Molecules that suddenly transform into new structures when stimulated by

photons or electrons play key roles in many chemical, biological processes.

Ultrafast laser spectroscopy reveals new insights into rearrangements of

light-driven chemical structures.

Subcategory: Lab-on-a-chip/ DNA Chips/

 

Singling Out Cells

Erika Gebel Chemical & Engineering News (10-Aug-11)

Researchers have developed a microfluidic chip that allows scientists to

monitor thousands of cells individually by trapping them in tiny pits, an

efficient way to monitor rare events in a large population of cells.

Subcategory: Mouse/ Rat Models

New Resource to Unlock the Role of MicroRNAs

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (08-Aug-11)

mirKO is a 'library' of mutant mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells in which

individual, or clustered groups of microRNA genes, have been deleted. Using

these tools researchers can create cells or mice lacking specific microRNAs.

Subcategory: Neurology

Kaspar the Friendly Robot Helps Autistic Kids

Maria Cheng The Washington Post (10-Mar-11)

A robot is programmed to do things like smile, frown, laugh, blink and wave

his arms. Experts say robots are much safer for autistic children to relate to

than people because there's less for them to interpret and they are very

predictable.

Subcategory: Proteomics

Largest-Ever Map of Interactions of Plant Proteins Produced

National Science Foundation (28-Jul-11)

Known as an "interactome," the new Arabidopsis network map defines 6,205

protein-to-protein Arabidopsis interactions involving 2,774 individual

proteins. May help scientists improve plant species used in agriculture and

pharmaceuticals.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

Copyright 2011, Technology Management Associates, Inc.. All rights reserved. Please do not reprint or host on your Web site without explicit permission.

 

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