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  • November 27, 2015
  • 09:28 AM

Designer proteins helping biomedicine

by ragothamanyennamalli in Getting to know Structural Bioinformatics

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  

  • November 24, 2015
  • 02:52 PM

Insights into protein structure could change the future of biomedicine

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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  

  • November 15, 2015
  • 03:19 PM

The rise of do-it-yourself biology

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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

  • November 11, 2015
  • 11:10 AM

Short-term stability and long-term collapse: exploring the complex behavior of the Antarctic ice sheet

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

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 »

  • November 9, 2015
  • 01:17 PM

Solving the silicon swelling problem in batteries

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

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 »

  • November 4, 2015
  • 03:58 AM

Earth has probably more diamonds than we think

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

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.

Published in:

Nature Communications

Study Further:

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 »

  • November 2, 2015
  • 07:05 PM

Predicting what side effects you’ll experience from a drug

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

  • November 2, 2015
  • 12:25 AM

Week In Review: Open-Access Science | 26 Oct to 1 Nov

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

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  

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  

  • October 26, 2015
  • 07:30 PM

Researchers create technology to produce lighter, long-lasting batteries from silicon

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

  • October 24, 2015
  • 04:12 PM

The science behind real life zombies

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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  

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

  • October 15, 2015
  • 09:43 AM

Climate change in the classroom: visualizing global warming effects with nothing but water and a marble

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

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 »

  • October 7, 2015
  • 02:56 PM

Is radiation or human intrusion the more clear and present danger to animals near Chernobyl?

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

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  

  • October 5, 2015
  • 04:12 PM

Weird colours of bones and teeth

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

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 »

  • October 3, 2015
  • 02:21 PM

Can exercise be replaced with a pill?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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:/

  • September 30, 2015
  • 08:40 PM

Zooplankton migration traps carbon in deep ocean

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

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  

  • September 24, 2015
  • 06:03 PM

New solar cells inspired by 400-year-old art

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

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  

  • September 17, 2015
  • 07:30 AM

A Tuberculosis Enzyme Decapitates Vital Energy Molecules to Kill Cells

by Shane Caldwell in Helical Translations

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  

  • September 8, 2015
  • 03:12 PM

Artificial ‘plants’ could fuel the future

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

  • September 4, 2015
  • 02:28 PM

Common antidepressant may change brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A commonly prescribed antidepressant may alter brain structures in depressed and non-depressed individuals in very different ways, according to new research. The study – conducted in nonhuman primates with brain structures and functions similar to those of humans – found that the antidepressant sertraline, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) marketed as Zoloft, significantly increased the volume of one brain region in depressed subjects but decreased the volume of two brain areas........ Read more »

Willard, S., Uberseder, B., Clark, A., Daunais, J., Johnston, W., Neely, D., Massey, A., Williamson, J., Kraft, R., Bourland, J.... (2015) Long term sertraline effects on neural structures in depressed and nondepressed adult female nonhuman primates. Neuropharmacology, 369-378. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.06.011  

  • September 1, 2015
  • 12:06 PM

Parasitized Bees May Self-Medicate with Nectar

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Mary Poppins taught us that a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. A bumblebee's favorite sugary drink may already be laced with medicine. And bees seem to dose themselves with medicinal nectar when they're suffering from a gut full of parasites.

Plants manufacture many chemical compounds to defend against attackers. Some of these are familiar to humans—like capsaicin, the potent weapon made by chili pepper plants. But not every animal enjoys painful food experiences like we do........ Read more »

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