Archive for bioengineering

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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October 2014: 2

Airway muscle-on-a-chip mimics asthma
“Tissue-level model of human airway musculature could pave way for patient-specific asthma treatments”
Wyss Institute for Biological Research, Harvard University — September 23, 2014

And so they beat on, flagella against the cantilever
“Monitoring the isolated vibrations of E. coli on a cantilever allows scientists to assess colony health in real time – a potential new screen for antibiotics and cancer drugs”
Applied Physics Letters — September 16, 2014

Our T-cells have been hiding something: Another way to kill bacteria
Tom Ulrich, Vector blog, Boston Children’s Hospital — September 24, 2014

Parasitic DNA stops “jumping” when protein takes charge
University of Rochester News Center — September 23, 2014

Unravelling cell division
Microtubules stretch dividing and tangled chromosomes
Centre for Genomic Regulation — September 15, 2014


Boosting armor for nuclear-waste eating microbes
Gemma Reguera, Michigan State University News — September 12, 2014


Improving Babies’ Language Skills Before They’re Even Old Enough to Speak
“A Rutgers researcher focuses infants on noticing the sounds that are most important”
Rob Forman, Rutgers University News — September 30, 2014

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July 2014: 2

Directly Visualizing Hydrogen Bonds
“Researchers at the University of Chicago use a novel spectroscopy technique to make breakthrough visualization of partners in a hydrogen bond dance”
John Arnst, from the Journal of Chemical Physics — July 15, 2014

Dodging dots helps explain brain circuitry
David Orenstein, Press contact, Brown University News — July 7, 2014

Lassa Virus Tactic Exposed
“Virus uses unexpected two-step mechanism to enter cells”
Harvard Medical News, Adapted from a Netherland Cancer Institute news release — June 30, 2014

Noninvasive brain control
“New light-sensitive protein enables simpler, more powerful optogenetics”
Anne Trafton, MIT News Office — June 29, 2014

SLU Scientists Hit ‘Delete’: Removing Disordered Regions of Shape-Shifting Protein Explains How Blood Clots
Carrie Bebermeyer, Saint Louis University — July 10, 2014

Targeting Bone Cancer
“HMS researchers have utilized nanomedicine technologies to develop a drug-delivery system that can attack cancer cells in the bone”
Marjorie Monemayor-Quellenberg — July 1, 2014

Unmasking Viral Invader
“Device used in physics/chemistry reveals dynamics of pervasive pathogen”
David Cameron, Harvard Medical News — June 5, 2014

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April 2014: 2

Genetic circuits research
The Elowitz Lab, Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, 2014

It Takes Two
“Microbial molecule stimulates both arms of the immune system to quell inflammation”
Elizabeth Cooney, Harvard Medical News — April 9, 2014

Milestones in synthetic (micro)biology (pdf)
Editorial, Nature Reviews — May 2014

Antibiotic matters

A potential new target to thwart antibiotic resistance
Wyss Institute —  June 10, 2013

New method could help dodge harmful side effects of antibiotics
Truth Drive News Desk — July 4, 2013

Overcoming Resistance
“In the face of bacterial threats that can evade modern medicines, researchers are trying every trick in the book to develop new, effective antibiotics”
Staff writer, The Scientist — April 1, 2014

Unsolved drugs (abstract for non-subscribers — better source coming soon)
“A simmering controversy surrounds what’s still unknown about how antibiotics kill”
Beth Mole, — April 18, 2014

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December 2013: 1

Common brain cell plays key role in shaping neural circuits, study finds
Bruce Goldman, Stanford School of Medicine News — November 24, 2013

Doctors Identify a New Knee Ligament
Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times Wellness blog — November 13, 2013

Pills of the future: nanoparticles
“Researchers design drug-carrying nanoparticles that can be taken orally”
Anne Trafton, MIT News Office — November 27, 2013

Protocell Progress
“Researchers clear hurdle to making primitive, synthetic cells”
Sue McGreevey, Harvard Medical News — November 28, 2013

Scientists think mysterious virus could be a signal of a weak immune system
“Genomic analysis of transplant patients finds an opportunistic microorganism whose elevated presence could be used as an indicator in treatment”
Tom Abate, Stanford School of Medicine News — November 21, 201

Shaping the Cancer Genome
Genomic structural susceptibility to cancer is more complex than previously imagined
Stephen Elledge, Harvard Magazine, November 6, 2013

With Jell-O and Lasers, UT Scientists Build Tiny Cages for Bacteria
Matt Largey, KUOT radio, University of Texas, Austin —  November 19, 2013

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October 2013: 4

Breaking Through Cancer’s Shield
“Experimental treatment prevents cancer cells from blocking the immune response”
Gina Kolata, New York Times — October 14, 2013

Curve Ball
“New approaches, surprising results challenge fundamental principle of drug discovery”
Jake Miller, Harvard Medical News — October 9, 2013

One-two punch knocks out aggressive tumors
“New nanoparticles weaken tumor-cell defenses, then strike with chemotherapy drug”
Anne Trafton, MIT News Office — October 21, 2013

Talking With Light
“Hydrogel implant enables light-based communication with cells inside the body”
Sue McGreevey, Harvard Medical News — October 22, 2013

The colorful lives of squid
“Squids, octopuses and cuttlefishes are nature’s iPads”
Susan Milius, — October 21, 2013


The Power of Patience
“Teaching students the value of deceleration and immersive attention”
Jennifer L. Roberts, Harvard Magazine — November 2013

Light: optical manipulation of quantum states

Electronics takes on a new spin (background)
“Researchers at MIT find a way to observe and control the way electrons spin on the surface of exotic new materials”
David L. Chandler, MIT News Office — December 5, 2011

Persuading light to mix it up with matter
“MIT team documents a never-before-seen coupling of photons with electrons on the surface of an exotic crystal”
David L. Chandler, MIT News Office — October 26, 2013

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October 2013: 3

Creating a permanent bacteria barrier
“Startup Semprus Biosciences develops a permanent solution for keeping bacteria off implanted medical devices”
Rob Matheson, MIT News Office — October 11, 2013

Exercising the Mind
“Scientists identify protein produced during muscular exertion that boosts brain health”
Richard Saltus, Harvard Gazette — October 10, 2013

Lurking males lead to hard-to-fertilize mouse eggs
“Mixed-sex society raises females’ resistance to sperm”
Susan Milius, — October 15, 2013

Ring Leader
“Behind the orchestration of nerve and blood vessel growth”
Stephanie Dutchen, Harvard Medical News — October 16, 2013

Radical Recoding
“Researchers advance toward engineering ‘wildly new genome'”
Jake Miller, Harvard Medical News — October 17, 2013

Materials science

Surprisingly simple scheme for self-assembling robots
“Small cubes with no exterior moving parts can propel themselves forward, jump on top of each other, and snap together to form arbitrary shapes”
Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office — October 4, 2013


The bright side of sadness
“Bad moods can have unappreciated mental upsides”
Bruce Bower, — October 18, 2013

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