Sunday, May 20, 2007

Science Sunday: Wrap-up of recent advancements in science from EurekAlert!

Inexpensive 'nanoglue' can bond nearly anything together:
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to bond materials that don't normally stick together. The team's adhesive, which is based on self-assembling nanoscale chains, could impact everything from next-generation computer chip manufacturing to energy production.

Television just got brighter: UCLA engineers are obsessed with the next generation of LEDs:
Making LEDs, or light-emitting diodes -- which illuminate today's plasma TV screens and cell phones more efficient -- cheaper and higher quality is the obsession that occupies the daily thoughts of UCLA Engineering professor Yang Yang and researcher Jinsong Huang. They have recently achieved the highest lumens per watt ever recorded for a red phosphorescent LED using a new combination of plastic, or polymer, infused liquid -- and they did it at half the current cost.

How insulin-producing cells develop -- new finding could help fight against diabetes:
A key aspect of how embryos create the cells which secrete insulin is revealed in a new study published tomorrow in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The researchers hope that their findings will enable the development of new therapies for diabetes, a condition caused by insufficient levels of insulin. The research reveals that glucose plays a key role in enabling healthy beta cells, which secrete insulin, to develop in the pancreas of an embryo.

Hubble sees dark matter ring in a galaxy cluster:
A team of astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to find the best evidence yet for the existence of dark matter, present in the form of a ghostly ring in a galaxy cluster.

Some children are born with 'temporary deafness' and do not require cochlear implant:
Clinical research conducted in the Department of Communication Disorders at the University of Haifa revealed that some children who are born deaf "recover" from their deafness and do not require cochlear implants.

Growing nerve cells in 3-D dramatically affects gene expression:
Nerve cells grown in three-dimensional environments deploy hundreds of different genes compared with cells grown in standard two-dimensional petri dishes, according to a new Brown University study. The research, spearheaded by bioengineer Diane Hoffman-Kim, adds to a growing body of evidence that lab culture techniques dramatically affect the way these cells behave.

NASA scientists pioneer technique for 'weighing' black holes:
Two astrophysicists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., Nikolai Shaposhnikov and Lev Titarchuk, have successfully tested a new method for determining the masses of black holes.

Scientists discover new life in the Antarctic deep sea:
Scientists have found hundreds of new marine creatures in the vast, dark deep-sea surrounding Antarctica. Carnivorous sponges, free-swimming worms, crustaceans, and molluscs living in the Weddell Sea provide new insights into the evolution of ocean life.

Newly identified mechanism for silencing genes points to possible anti-cancer strategies:
Scientists are only beginning to appreciate the extraordinary degree of control exercised over every step of the gene-to-protein production process. Only about 10 percent of human genes, for example, are active in a given cell at a given time, with the remaining 90 percent silenced by a various mechanisms. In a just-published study in Nature, scientists report an important new gene-silencing mechanism that points to promising potential targets for anti-cancer interventions.

Decoding protein structures helps illuminate cause of diabetes:
Now, chemists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have designed a powerful analytical tool capable of measuring molecular structures quickly and accurately enough to catch moving proteins in mid-fold and see the shapes of intermediate steps.

Powered by sound -- revolutionary stove could help reduce poverty:
It's a cooker, a fridge and a generator in one -- and it could have a huge impact on the lives of people in the world's poorest communities.

Sandia invention to make parabolic trough solar collector systems more energy efficient:
A mirror alignment measurement device invented by a Sandia National Laboratories researcher may soon make one of the most popular solar collector systems, parabolic troughs, more affordable and energy efficient.

Spreading viruses as we breathe:
Keeping at arm's length won't protect you from catching an infectious disease, according to new research by Queensland University of Technology which reveals airborne viruses can spread far and wide. Professor Lidia Morawska, director of QUT's International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, said the study dispelled the myth that viruses emitted from humans only travel a meter in the air.

Iowa State scientists demonstrate first use of nanotechnology to enter plant cells:
A team of Iowa State plant scientists and materials chemists are the first to use nanotechnology to penetrate plant cell walls and simultaneously deliver a gene and a chemical that triggers its expression with controlled precision. They modified an ISU proprietary technology-mesoporous silica nanoparticles-to work in plant cells. Their breakthrough creates a powerful new tool for targeted delivery into plant cells. The research was a highlighted article in the May issue of Nature Nanotechnology.



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