Tech

A dawning field of research, artificial biology, is working toward creating a genuinely new organism. At Princeton, chemistry professor Michael Hecht and the researchers in his lab are designing and building proteins that can fold and mimic the chemical processes that sustain life. Their artificial proteins, encoded by synthetic genes, are approximately 100 amino acids long, using an endlessly varying arrangement of 20 amino acids.

Organisms that aren't closely related may evolve similar traits as they adapt to similar challenges. It's called convergent evolution, and familiar examples include the wings of birds, bats, and insects, and echolocation in bats and dolphins. Now, molecular biologists have found evidence of convergent evolution in an important mechanism of gene regulation in humans and mice.

An ingredient commonly found in toothpaste could be employed as an anti-malarial drug against strains of malaria parasite that have grown resistant to one of the currently-used drugs. This discovery, led by researchers at the University of Cambridge, was aided by Eve, an artificially-intelligent 'robot scientist'.

Microwaves usage across the EU alone emits as much carbon dioxide as nearly seven million cars according to a new study by The University of Manchester.

Researchers at the University have carried out the first ever comprehensive study of the environmental impacts of microwaves, considering their whole life cycle, from 'cradle to grave'.

The study found:

Microwaves emit 7.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year in the EU. This is equivalent to the annual emissions of 6.8 million cars.

Although the U.S and other countries have banned or restricted the use of bisphenol A (BPA) because of environmental and health concerns, it is still used in thermally printed receipts and labels. Now researchers report in a study in the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research that they have developed potentially safer polymers that could replace BPA for printed papers.
 

Researchers have discovered that killing cancer cells can actually have the unintended effect of fueling the proliferation of residual, living cancer cells, ultimately leading to aggressive tumor progression.

The findings of the multi-institutional research team -- including scientists from the Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center and the Institute for Systems Biology -- contradict the conventional approach to treating cancer.

A new original research article in SLAS Discovery presents a fast, sensitive, and robust methodology for screening small molecule inhibitors against CD73/Ecto-5'-Nucleotidase, a promising target for developing anti-cancer drugs.

Testing new clinical drugs' effect on heart tissue could become quicker and more straightforward, thanks to new research from Harvard University.

The study, published today in the journal Biofabrication, sets out a new, faster method for manufacturing a 'heart-on-a-chip', which can be used to test the reaction of heart tissue to external stimuli.

ANN ARBOR, Michigan -- While immunotherapy has made a big impact on cancer treatment, the fact remains that only about a quarter of patients respond to these treatments.

"This begs the question: Why does it work in those patients? We don't understand the mechanism at work very well," says Weiping Zou, M.D., Ph.D., the Charles B. de Nancrede Professor of Surgery, Pathology, Immunology and Biology at the University of Michigan.

Zou and colleagues offer a clue in a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

MIAMI--Scientists studying nearly identical coral reef systems off Australia discovered something unusual on the reefs subjected to nearly exclusive fishing of sharks--fish with significantly smaller eyes and tails. The study is the first field evidence of body shape changes in fish due to human-driven shark declines from overfishing. These findings shed new light on the cascading effects the loss of the ocean's top predators is having on marine ecosystems.