Archive for neuroscience

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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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 2015:2

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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November 2014: 2

Adenosine can melt “love handles”
“Researchers at the University of Bonn discover a new signaling pathway to combat excess body weight”
Prof. Dr. Alexander Pfeifer, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Hospital Bonn — October 16, 2014

Antibacterial Ally
“Carbon monoxide helps immune cells battle bacterial infections”
Bonnie Prescott, Harvard Medical News — November 13, 2014

Cause of Aging Remains Elusive
“Study headed by the University of Bonn: the role of free radicals remains unresolved”
Dr. Markus Schwarzländer, Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation, University of Bonn — October 23, 2014

Marching to Our Own Sequences
Study finds DNA replication timing varies among people
Stephanie Dutchen, Harvard Medical News — November 13, 2014

Stem Cells for Seizures
“Scientists explore transplanting neurons to treat epilepsy”
Adriana Bobinchock, Harvard Medical News — November 7, 2014

Cell signaling

Internal Dialogues
“If we take the time to listen, our bodies’ cells have quite a bit to say”
Stephanie Dutchen, Harvard Medical News — September 2014


Pulling together the early solar system
“New study finds that a strong magnetic field whipped the early solar system into shape”
Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office — November 13, 2014

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October 2014: 1

Blood Cleanser for Sepsis
“Dialysis-like ‘biospleen’ quickly filters bacteria, fungi and toxins”
Kristen Kusek, Harvard Medical News — September 15, 2014

Cancer Immunotherapy on the Cusp
“HMS discoveries inspire treatments that free the immune system to fight tumors”
Elizabeth Cooney, Harvard Medical News — September 5, 2014

Pancreatic Cancer Insight
“Study reveals gene expression patterns in circulating tumor cells”
Sue McGreevey, Harvard Medical News — September 24, 2014

Scientists discover an on/off switch for aging cells
“The switch controls the growth of telomeres, the timekeepers of cells”
Salk Institute News — September 19, 2014

Sensory Sensitivity
“Stimulation and deprivation alter vascular structure in the brain”
Stephanie Dutchen, Harvard Medical News — September 4, 2014

Zebrafish Model of a Learning and Memory Disorder Shows Better Way to Target Treatment
Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania — September 11, 2014

Dark matter

Particle detector finds hints of dark matter in space
“Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer detects positrons in cosmic ray flux that hint at dark matter’s origin”
Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office —  September 18, 2014

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August 2014: 2

Tissue development ‘roadmap’ created to guide stem cell medicine
“Computer algorithm also provides ‘quality assurance’ for lab-created cells”
Boston University and Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University — Aug 14, 2014

Why To Exercise Today: Get Better At Bearing Pain
Carey Goldberg, WBUR Common Health — August 14, 2014

Blocking the Signal
“Brain-derived growth factor may lure lung cancer cells to migrate”
Nancy Fliesler, Harvard Medical News — August 12, 2014

Neurons at work
“Research provides a clearer view of ‘alternative splicing’”
Peter Reuell, Harvard Gazette, Science and Health, Life Sciences — August 11, 2014

Ants and Antifungals
“Bacteria that assist fungus-farming ants may be a source of new drugs”
Stephanie Dutchen, Harvard Medical News — August 4, 2014

Clues to curbing obesity found in neuronal ‘sweet spot’
Karen N. Peart, Yale University News — August 1, 2014


The 1,000-robot swarm
“Through commands, autonomous devices arrange selves into vast, complex shapes”
Caroline Perry, SEAS Communications, Harvard Gazette — August 14, 2014

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