stem cells

While You Were at the Bench: Week 46

Researchers at Stanford University have created an organic polymer that is pressure sensitive and self-healing making this material ideal for artificial skin on biomimetic prostheses.  All the pieces are coming together for Skynet.

By incorporating iron oxide (rust) into a unique V-shaped ultrathin film, scientists at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have created a new type of solar cell that can use sunlight to oxidize water and store the energy as hydrogen-based biofuels.   This design is cheaper than photovoltaic solar cells and they can store solar energy for electricity use at night.

Is the key to the fountain of youth in all of us?  After studying the immortal polyp Hydra, German scientists have discovered that the FoxO gene is evolutionarily conserved to control longevity through regulation of stem cell production and proliferation.

A world-wide collaborative effort has identified a rare variant of the TREM2 gene that nearly triples the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Is your lab’s external terabyte hard drive maxed out from all your data files?  Good thing engineers at the University of Texas have developed self-assembling block copolymers that can increase hard drive storage capacity by five fold.

Idaho State University anthropologist Jeffrey Meldrum is currently designing a remote controlled blimp for the purposes of finding the elusive Sasquatch.  I hope he equips it with a high-definition camera so I don’t have to watch any more grainy videos of purported sightings.

Have a Great Weekend!

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While You Were at the Bench: Week 41

And the Nobel Goes To…….

Physiology or Medicine: Sir John B.  Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent

Chemistry:  Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka for studies of G-protein coupled receptors.

Physics:  Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems.

A big congratulations to all the recipients….now go enjoy that warm, sunny December Swedish weather.

Researcher’s at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts have reported a link between dietary intake of Mercury during pregnancy and increased susceptibility to ADHD in their children.  Sources of Mercury include Tuna, Swordfish, and Shark thus making it difficult for pregnant women to obtain the health benefits of fish without simultaneously increasing levels of environmental toxins to their unborn child.

Doctors at the University of California, San Francisco, implanted human CNS stem cells into four young boys suffering from Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease; a disease where myelin does not form leading to severe developmental set backs.  A year later, myelination was increased, motor function improved in 3 out of 4 boys, and no signs of tumorigenesis was observed, which paves the way for larger clinical trials to treat this disease.

University of Washington researchers have proposed a concept to contain the million-degree plasma necessary for creating a fusion reaction.  This is a critical component for building the international tokamak nuclear fusion reactor located in Cadarache, France.

Researchers at Weizmann Institute of Science have experimentally observed quantum effects in chemical reactions by merging beams of excited atoms at 0.01 Kelvins.  At these ultra low temperatures, atomic bond formation proceeds faster than expected, which may help to explain interstellar chemical reactions.

The first ever historical evidence of predator behavior in spiders was captured in a 110-million-year-old piece of burmese amber.  Great, I can sleep easier knowing that spiders will never evolve beyond creepy status.

By analyzing mitochondrial DNA from bones of the extinct New Zealand moa, researchers have determined that the half-life of DNA is 521 years.  Scratch “cloned dinosaur” off my Christmas list :(

Have a great weekend.  I’ll be enjoying mine in New Orleans for the Society of Neuroscience annual meeting.  Looking forward to seeing you there.

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