september 2015: 1

Building Muscle
“Lab-grown muscle fibers offer new muscular dystrophy model”
Future applications include other degenerative muscle diseases.
Harvard Medical School News — August 3, 2015

Fat in the Family?
Study could lead to therapeutics that boost metabolism
Harvard Medical School News — August 20, 2015

UGA’s Regenerative Bioscience Center collaborates in development of brain-friendly interfaces
“…proof of concept that extracellular matrix can be used to ensheathe a functioning electrode without the use of any other foreign or synthetic materials…. the extracellular matrix derived electrodes adapted to the mechanical properties of brain tissue and were capable of acquiring neural recordings from the brain cortex.”
Regenerative Bioscience Center, University of Georgia — August 5, 2015

We transformed living cells into tiny lasers
Harvard Medical School Dermatology/The Conversation, American pilot, July 27, 2015

Alzheimer’s research

Immune mechanisms of synapse loss in health and disease (YouTube lecture)
Beth Stevens, Broad Institute/Boston Children’s Hospital —  July 8, 2015
Her lab is “using a combination of live imaging, molecular, biochemical, and neuroanatomical approaches to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which immune molecules and immune cells called microglia prune synapses in health and disease. Her recent work demonstrates [how] immune-related pruning pathways mediate aberrant synapse loss and dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease) and neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism.

Iron-containing inflammatory cells seen in Alzheimer’s brains
“Using high-field MRI technology and staining techniques, scientists have located inflamed, iron-containing scavenger cells in a memory-formation structure in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients who died”
Stanford Medicine News Center — July 20, 2015

something completely different

Why the long face? Horses and humans share facial expressions
“Horses and humans share surprisingly similar facial expressions”
University of Sussex — August 5, 2015


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june 2015

injecting electronic scaffolds into the brain

Injectable device delivers nano-view of the brain
Harvard Gazette — June 8, 2015

  • Discovery of a way to inject nanofabricated electronic scaffolds into the brain without causing inflammation.
  • Scaffolds, etched like microchips, can be precisely located to monitor and stimulate tissue processes and regenerate neurons. They are flexible and “like to interact with neurons.”

new techniques for profiling a single cell

Beyond Average
Stephanie Dutchen, Harvard Medical News — May 21, 2015

  • “Different cells in a tissue use the same genome in amazingly diverse ways…”
  • …”even embryonic stem cells are not uniform…”
  • Thousands of single cell profiles can be generated per day using the Drop-Seq and inDrops techniques. This is up from the previous profile generation rate of 96 single cell profiles per day.

Single-cell analysis hits its stride
Lisa Girard, Broad Communications — May 21, 2015

  • Analyzing variations between the same cell type is faster and more straightforward now that each cell can be assigned a unique DNA barcode.
  • Microfluidic techniques allow each cell to interact with an outside DNA fragment. The DNA breaks up the cell and “reverse transcribes” the cell’s mRNA into a unique DNA barcode.
  • When the tissue cells are sequenced and sorted, variation can be traced back to an individual cell using its barcode.
  • Labs can buy droplets with DNA fragments for use in barcoding for 6 cents each.

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may 2015

Today’s posting: courtesy of Harvard University researchers and science writers

Activating genes on demand
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University — March 3, 2015

Blood Work
“Decreased red blood cell clearance appears to predict serious disease”
Harvard Medical School News — April 28, 2015

How to Kill a Protein
“Cells have been doing it for millions of years, and we’re just starting to learn their tactics”
Harvard Medical School News — April 22, 2015
“Artificially activating a neural link in mice can reduce eating without chronic hunger”
Harvard Medical School News — April 28, 2015
New Chapter in Epigenetics
“Unsuspected DNA modification raises possibility of new carrier of heritable epigenetic information”
Harvard Medical School News — April 30, 2015
‘New clarity’ against Alzheimer’s
“Recent findings open the door for a breakthrough, Tanzi says”
Harvard Gazette, Science and Health/Health and Medicine — May 5, 2015

Zooming in on Transcription
“How RNA machinery navigates our genomic obstacle course”
Harvard Medical School News — April 23, 2015

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april 2015: 2

Bicarbonate for Better Vision?
“Controlling bicarbonate levels may slow progression of eye diseases”
Harvard Medical School News — April 2, 2015

Evolutionary Relic
Pseudogenes in the human genome may lead to cancer development”
Harvard Medical School News — April 2, 2015

New function of obesity gene revealed
University of Oxford — April 17, 2015

Scientists discover protein that boosts immunity to viruses and cancer
Imperial College London — 16 April 16, 2015


Major Advance in Artificial Photosynthesis Poses Win/Win for the Environment
“Berkeley Lab Researchers Perform Solar-powered Green Chemistry with Captured CO2”


Thousands of atoms entangled with a single photon
“Result could make atomic clocks more accurate”
MIT News Office — March 26, 2015

Using sound waves to detect rare cancer cells
“Acoustic device can rapidly isolate circulating tumor cells from patient blood samples”
MIT News Office — April 6, 2015

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april 2015:1

Experimental cancer drug restores memory in mouse model of Alzheimer’s
Yale University News — March 31, 2015

Human Brains Age Less than Previously Thought
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) — March 5, 2015

Innovative light therapy reaches deep tumors
Washington University School of Medicine — March 9, 2015

Seeing the Light
“Gene therapy slows vision loss in mouse models of retinal degeneration”
Harvard University School of Medicine — March 23, 2015

Skin Tough
“Study at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source Shows Why Skin is Resistant to Tearing”
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory — March 31, 2015

Synaptic Shortcut
“Newly discovered brain pathway overturns anatomy, could solve antipsychotic mystery”
Harvard University School of Medicine — March 6, 2015

Transport molecule forms a protective structure to guide proteins to cell membrane
University of Chicago Medicine — March 5, 2015


Metabolic Path to Improved Biofuel Production
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory — March 4, 2015

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march 2015

A new stem cell advance
“Scientists produce hypothalamic neurons, which can help target a range of conditions by using lab dishes”
Hannah Robbins, Harvard Gazette Science and Health — March 2, 2015

A new understanding of Alzheimer’s
“…mitochondria — cellular power plants — might be at the center of the disease”
Peter Reuell, Harvard Gazette Science and Health — February 25, 2015

Brain Waves
“Basal forebrain neurons fine-tune consciousness by synchronizing rhythms in the cortex”
Jake Miller, Harvard Medical News — March 2, 2015

Perception of food consumption overrides reality
“Research suggests anti-aging benefits of calorie restriction without the restriction”
Karen Feldscher, Harvard School of Public Health Communications — February 26, 2015

background: proteins

Strike a Pose
“The structure of our proteins informs how we function”
Stephanie Dutchen, Assembled with care, Harvard Medical School–Winter 2015


Bionic Leaf
“Researchers use bacteria to convert solar energy into liquid fuel”
Elizabeth Cooney, Harvard Medical news — February 9, 2015

A trap for greenhouse gas
“Microcapsule method offers new approach to carbon capture and storage at power plants”
Harvard University and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory — February 5, 2015

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february 2015

Decoding sugar addiction
“Separate neural circuits control sugar cravings and healthy eating”
Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, MIT —  January 29, 2015

DNA nanoswitches reveal how life’s molecules connect
“nanoscale tool made from strands of DNA…can detect and report how molecules behave”
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering —  January 29, 2015

Epigenetic Breakthrough: A first of its kind tool to study the histone code
“Scientists from UNC-Chapel Hill have created a new way to investigate epigenetic mechanisms…”
UNC School of Medicine — February 9, 2015

RNA: The unknotted strand of life
“…unlike other biopolymers, RNA, the long strand that is ‘cousin’ to DNA, tends not to form knots”
International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA) — February 2, 2015


Does time pass?
“Philosopher Brad Skow’s new book says it does — but not in the way you may think”
Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office — January 28, 2015

nanopore technology

DNA ‘cage’ could improve nanopore technology
Brown University — February 10, 2015

accelerating subatomic particles

Particles accelerate without a push
“New analysis shows a way to self-propel subatomic particles, extend the lifetime of unstable isotopes”
David L. Chandler, MIT News Office — January 20, 2015

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January 2015:3

New analysis explains collagen’s force
“Experiments and simulations show that adding or removing water makes the material push and pull”
David L. Chandler, MIT News Office — January 22, 2015

Ribose-seq identifies and locates ribonucleotides in genomic DNA
New ribose-seq technique allows access to the full profile of ribonucleotides embedded in genomic DNA
Georgia Tech News Center, Health and Medicine — January 26, 2015

Telomere extension turns back aging clock in cultured human cells, study finds
“Researchers delivered a modified RNA that encodes a telomere-extending protein to cultured human cells”
Krista Conger, Stanford Medicine News Center — January 22, 2015

cell mechanics: transcription and replication

Genetic switch regulates transcription and replication in human mitochondria
Heather Zeiger,, Cell & Microbiology — February 2, 2015

In a role reversal, RNAs proofread themselves
“Molecular photographs of an enzyme bound to RNA reveal a new, inherent quality control mechanism”
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory — January 29, 2015

Variety show
“New techniques reveal ‘extreme’ gene copy range”
Stephanie Dutchen, Harvard Medical News — January 29, 2015


The Pursuit of Beauty
“Yitang Zhang solves a pure-math mystery”
Alec Wilkinson, New Yorker — February 2, 2015

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January 2015:2

Ancient Viruses Gain New Functions in the Brain
“Once thought to be little more than genetic junk, retroviruses lurking within host genomes have acquired new roles that may be involved in brain development, a recent study suggests”
Andrea Alfano, Scientific American news — January 19, 2015

Going viral: Targeting brain cancer cells with a wound-healing drug
“Scientists awarded grant to design a virus capable of converting a wound-healing drug into a treatment for brain tumors”
Ashley WennersHerron, Virginia Tech Carilion Institute — December 12, 2014

MIT team enlarges brain samples, making them easier to image
“New technique enables nanoscale-resolution microscopy of large biological specimens”
Anne Trafton, MIT News Office — January 15, 2015

New ‘microcapsules’ have potential to repair damage caused by osteoarthritis
“A new ‘microcapsule’ treatment delivery method developed by researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) could reduce inflammation in cartilage affected by osteoarthritis and reverse damage to tissue”
News Office, Queen Mary University of London — January 21, 2015

Researchers target the cell’s ‘biological clock’ in promising new therapy to kill cancer cells, shrink tumor growth
University of Texas Southwestern Newsroom — January 1, 2015

The brain’s electrical alphabet: Timing, rate underlie neural information, study shows
 Sissa Medialab via Science Daily — January 23, 2015


“Imaginary meal” tricks the body into losing weight
“Salk scientists made a more effective diet pill”
Salk Institute, January 2015

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January 2015:1

Bacteria programmed to churn out valuable chemicals
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard — Dec 23, 2014

Defying Textbook Science, Study Finds New Role for Proteins
Julie Kiefer, Communications Specialist, University of Utah Health Care — January 1, 2015

New cell marking technique to help understand how our brain works
University of Southampton, News Release — December 22, 2014

Proteins drive cancer cells to change states
When RNA-binding proteins are turned on, cancer cells get locked in a proliferative state.
Anne Trafton, MIT News Office — December 15, 2014

Scientists map human loop-ome, revealing new form of genetic regulation
Glenna Picton, Baylor College of Medicine News — December 11, 2015

Study Sheds Light on What Causes Cells to Divide
Kim McDonald, UC San Diego News Center — December 24, 2014

sleep research

Light-Emitting E-Readers Before Bedtime Can Adversely Impact Sleep
Brigham & Women’s Hospital Press Release — December 22, 2014

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