In addition to treating depression, a commonly used antidepressant medication also protects against compounds that can cause memory loss and dementia, a Loyola University Medical Center study has found. The study found that blood levels of two neurotoxic compounds dropped significantly in depressed patients after they were treated with the antidepressant escitalopram (Lexapro).... Read more »
Halaris, A., Myint, A., Savant, V., Meresh, E., Lim, E., Guillemin, G., Hoppensteadt, D., Fareed, J., & Sinacore, J. (2015) Does escitalopram reduce neurotoxicity in major depression?. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 118-126. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.04.026
A molecule from chili peppers can be modified to bind to a protein involved in cancer progression. How would a molecule similar to hot pepper spice be used to fight cancer?... Read more »
Elumalai N, Berg A, Rubner S, & Berg T. (2015) Phosphorylation of Capsaicinoid Derivatives Provides Highly Potent and Selective Inhibitors of the Transcription Factor STAT5b. ACS chemical biology. PMID: 26469307
Professor Meiering and her colleagues were able to incorporate both structure and function into the design process by using bioinformatics to leverage information from nature. They then analyzed what they made and measured how long it took for the folded, functional protein to unfold and breakdown... Read more »
Broom A, Ma SM, Xia K, Rafalia H, Trainor K, Colón W, Gosavi S, & Meiering EM. (2015) Designed protein reveals structural determinants of extreme kinetic stability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(47), 14605-10. PMID: 26554002
Researchers at the University of Waterloo have discovered a new way to create designer proteins that have the potential to transform biotechnology and personalized medicines.
In a range of experiments Professor Elizabeth Meiering, in collaboration with colleagues from India and the United States, created a protein that can withstand a range of physiological and environmental conditions – a problem that has challenged chemists looking to create super stable, highly functional proteins.... Read more »
Broom, A., Ma, S., Xia, K., Rafalia, H., Trainor, K., Colon, W., Gosavi, S., & Meiering, E. (2015) Designed protein reveals structural determinants of extreme kinetic stability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1510748112
The Wilson Center’s Synthetic Biology Project has released a short documentary on the growth of the do-it-yourself biology (DIYbio) movement as seen through a community DIYbio lab in Baltimore, Maryland. ... Read more »
The Wilson Center. (2015) The rise of do-it-yourself biology: A look at the Baltimore Underground Science Space. Synthetic Biology Project. info:other/Link
A recent study indicates that Antarctic sea ice is growing, but what about its long-term evolution? Read on to see what scientists have discovered about the Antarctic's future.... Read more »
Zwally JH et al. (2015) Mass gains of the Antarctic ice sheet exceed losses. Journal of Glaciology. DOI: 10.3189/2015JoG15J071
Silicon anodes offer great capacity for next-generation batteries but suffer from volume expansion that degrades batteries. Here new research has found a clever method to allow for volume expansion and maintain their high potential capacity!... Read more »
Hassan FM, Batmaz R, Li J, Wang X, Xiao X, Yu A, & Chen Z. (2015) Evidence of covalent synergy in silicon-sulfur-graphene yielding highly efficient and long-life lithium-ion batteries. Nature communications, 8597. PMID: 26497228
Scientists have suggested that we have more diamonds than we think, and the process of formation of diamond is probably not as complicated as we think.
In a recent study from scientists of Johns Hopkins University, it has been suggested that diamonds in the Earth are not as rare as once thought. They are of opinion that diamonds are commonly produced deep inside the Earth.
“Diamond formation in the deep Earth,........ Read more »
Sverjensky, D., & Huang, F. (2015) Diamond formation due to a pH drop during fluid–rock interactions. Nature Communications, 8702. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9702
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a model that could be used to predict a drug’s side effects on different patients. The proof of concept study is aimed at determining how different individuals will respond to a drug treatment and could help assess whether a drug is suitable for a particular patient based on measurements taken from the patient’s blood.... Read more »
Bordbar, A., McCloskey, D., Zielinski, D., Sonnenschein, N., Jamshidi, N., & Palsson, B. (2015) Personalized Whole-Cell Kinetic Models of Metabolism for Discovery in Genomics and Pharmacodynamics. Cell Systems, 1(4), 283-292. DOI: 10.1016/j.cels.2015.10.003
From a new date for earliest life on earth to the potentially controversial findings that Antarctica is gaining more ice than it’s loosing, here are 5 of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »
Bell, E., Boehnke, P., Harrison, T., & Mao, W. (2015) Potentially biogenic carbon preserved in a 4.1 billion-year-old zircon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201517557. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1517557112
Zwally, H. Jay, Li, Jun, Robbins, John W, Saba, Jack L, Yi, Donghui, & Brenner, Anita C. (2015) Mass gains of the Antarctic ice sheet exceed losses. Journal of Glaciology. DOI: 10.3189/2015JoG15J071
Kim TW, Ping Y, Galli GA, & Choi KS. (2015) Simultaneous enhancements in photon absorption and charge transport of bismuth vanadate photoanodes for solar water splitting. Nature communications, 8769. PMID: 26498984
Tyagi, N., Farnell, E., Fitzsimmons, C., Ryan, S., Tukahebwa, E., Maizels, R., Dunne, D., Thornton, J., & Furnham, N. (2015) Comparisons of Allergenic and Metazoan Parasite Proteins: Allergy the Price of Immunity. PLOS Computational Biology, 11(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004546
Barrett, S., Speth, R., Eastham, S., Dedoussi, I., Ashok, A., Malina, R., & Keith, D. (2015) Impact of the Volkswagen emissions control defeat device on US public health. Environmental Research Letters, 10(11), 114005. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/11/114005
Substantially smaller and longer-lasting batteries for everything from portable electronic devices to electric cars could become a reality thanks to an innovative technology developed by University of Waterloo researchers. Zhongwei Chen, a chemical engineering professor at Waterloo, and a team of graduate students have created a low-cost battery using silicon that boosts the performance and life of lithium-ion batteries.... Read more »
Hassan, F., Batmaz, R., Li, J., Wang, X., Xiao, X., Yu, A., & Chen, Z. (2015) Evidence of covalent synergy in silicon–sulfur–graphene yielding highly efficient and long-life lithium-ion batteries. Nature Communications, 8597. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9597
In the spirit of Halloween we bring you the science fact and fiction behind the undead. Zombies, those brain loving little guys, (and girls) are everywhere. We are all familiar (if you are horror fans, or at least not living on an Amish compound) with the classic zombie. But did you know that we aren’t the only zombie lovers out there? It turns out that nature has its own special types of zombies, but this isn’t a science fiction movie, this is science fact!... Read more »
Lafferty KD. (2006) Can the common brain parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, influence human culture?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 273(1602), 2749-55. PMID: 17015323
Vyas A, Kim SK, Giacomini N, Boothroyd JC, & Sapolsky RM. (2007) Behavioral changes induced by Toxoplasma infection of rodents are highly specific to aversion of cat odors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(15), 6442-7. PMID: 17404235
Passamonti L, Crockett MJ, Apergis-Schoute AM, Clark L, Rowe JB, Calder AJ, & Robbins TW. (2012) Effects of acute tryptophan depletion on prefrontal-amygdala connectivity while viewing facial signals of aggression. Biological psychiatry, 71(1), 36-43. PMID: 21920502
Thomas, F., Schmidt-Rhaesa, A., Martin, G., Manu, C., Durand, P., & Renaud, F. (2002) Do hairworms (Nematomorpha) manipulate the water seeking behaviour of their terrestrial hosts?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 15(3), 356-361. DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2002.00410.x
W. Wesołowska T. Wesołowski. (2014) Do Leucochloridium sporocysts manipulate the behaviour of their snail hosts?. Journal of Zoology , 292(3), 151-155. info:/10.1111/jzo.12094
How do we make sea level rise due to global warming more personal? A new educational experiment has been designed to show the physics behind this phenomenon that can be done in the kitchen or the classroom.... Read more »
Hughes, S., & Pearce, D. (2015) Investigating sea level rise due to global warming in the teaching laboratory using Archimedes’ principle. European Journal of Physics, 36(6), 65033. DOI: 10.1088/0143-0807/36/6/065033
Chernobyl has an unhospitable reputation for wildlife. But new research suggests that animals are thriving in the wild near the old reactor site.... Read more »
Deryabina, T., Kuchmel, S., Nagorskaya, L., Hinton, T., Beasley, J., Lerebours, A., & Smith, J. (2015) Long-term census data reveal abundant wildlife populations at Chernobyl. Current Biology, 25(19). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.08.017
I like making lists about living things. Colour is a great starting point for such lists, whether they're about body parts infected by microbes or the origins of science words. For this post, I'm going to look at how bones and teeth can take on a bunch of strange colours...... Read more »
Dooley A, & Moncrief N. (2012) Fluorescence provides evidence of congenital erythropoietic porphyria in 7000-year-old specimens of the eastern fox squirrel from the Devil's Den. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 32(2), 495-497. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2012.639422
Ferrand J, Rossano S, Rollet P, Allard T, Cordier P, Catillon G, Auxiette G, Farges F, & Pont S. (2014) On the origin of the green colour of archaeological bone artefacts of the Gallo-Roman Period. Archaeometry, 56(6), 1024-1040. DOI: 10.1111/arcm.12042
Everyone knows that exercise improves health, and ongoing research continues to uncover increasingly detailed information on its benefits for metabolism, circulation, and improved functioning of organs such as the heart, brain, and liver. With this knowledge in hand, scientists may be better equipped to develop “exercise pills” that could mimic at least some of the beneficial effects of physical exercise on the body. But a review of current development efforts ponders whether such pills will........ Read more »
Laher, & et al. (2015) Exercise Pills: At the Starting Line?. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tips.2015.08.014
A new mechanism of trapping carbon in the ocean has been proposed by researchers studying the migration of zooplankton!... Read more »
Jónasdóttir SH, Visser AW, Richardson K, & Heath MR. (2015) Seasonal copepod lipid pump promotes carbon sequestration in the deep North Atlantic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26338976
Kirigami, the ancient art of paper cutting, has inspired a new type of solar cell that can track the sun without lots of expensive materials!... Read more »
Lamoureux, A., Lee, K., Shlian, M., Forrest, S., & Shtein, M. (2015) Dynamic kirigami structures for integrated solar tracking. Nature Communications, 8092. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9092
UAB researchers determine how M. tb kills immune cells with an enzyme toxin... Read more »
Sun, J., Siroy, A., Lokareddy, R., Speer, A., Doornbos, K., Cingolani, G., & Niederweis, M. (2015) The tuberculosis necrotizing toxin kills macrophages by hydrolyzing NAD. Nature Structural , 22(9), 672-678. DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.3064
Imagine creating artificial plants that make gasoline and natural gas using only sunlight. And imagine using those fuels to heat our homes or run our cars without adding any greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. By combining nanoscience and biology, researchers led by scientists at University of California, Berkeley, have taken a big step in that direction.... Read more »
Liu, C., Gallagher, J., Sakimoto, K., Nichols, E., Chang, C., Chang, M., & Yang, P. (2015) Nanowire–Bacteria Hybrids for Unassisted Solar Carbon Dioxide Fixation to Value-Added Chemicals. Nano Letters, 15(5), 3634-3639. DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01254
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