Archive for synthetic biology

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, sciencenews.org — October 21, 2013

Learning

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: 1

DNA nanotechnology opens new path to super-high-resolution molecular imaging
Dan Ferber, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering — Oct 3, 2013

Lifestyle Changes May Lengthen Telomeres, A Measure of Cell Aging
“Diet, Meditation, Exercise Can Improve Key Element of Immune Cell Aging, UCSF Scientists Report”
Elizabeth Fernandez, UC San Francisco News — September 16, 2013

Extracellular RNA

Extracellular RNA communication (background and video)
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Research, NIH

DNA Found Outside Genes Plays Largely Unknown, Potentially Vital Roles
“UCSF Study Identifies Thousands of Previously Unknown RNA Molecules”
Jeffrey Norris, University of California at San Francisco —  June 27, 2013

NIH funds research to explore a cell communication process
“Researchers will investigate the emerging field of extracellular RNA and its role in human health conditions”
August 13, 2013

Linguistics

Bringing ‘common sense’ to text analytics
“Luminoso Technologies uses artificial-intelligence research as a commercial springboard”
Rob Matheson, MIT News Office — September 24, 2013

Physics

Seeing light in a new way
“Scientists coax photons to bind into molecules for first time”
Peter Reuell, Havard Gazette — September 27, 2013

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September 2013: 2

Cross-disciplinary team from Harvard University and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute brings novel therapeutic cancer vaccine to human clinical trials
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University — September 6, 2013

Gene Therapy With a Difference
“Experimental drugs use a technique called exon skipping to try to counteract genetic errors that cause muscular dystrophy.”
Andrew Pollack, New York Times — September 23, 2013

Lasering in on tumors
“New tool, which ‘sees’ diseased cells, may greatly boost accurate brain surgery”
Peter Reuell, Harvard Gazette — September 4, 2013

Nanoparticle vaccine offers better protection
“Particles that deliver vaccines directly to mucosal surfaces could defend against many infectious diseases”
Anne Trafton, MIT News Office — September 25, 2013

Tiny human almost-brains made in lab
“Stem cells arrange themselves into a version of the most complex human organ”
Laura Sanders, sciencenews.org — August 28, 2013

When bacteria fight back
“Q&A with David Hooper on the rising threat from drug-resistant microbes”
Alvin Powell, Harvard Gazette — September 20, 2013

Materials science

Understanding a new kind of magnetism
“Researchers use low-frequency laser pulses to probe the properties of a kind of fluctuating magnetism known as a spin-liquid state”
David L. Chandler, MIT News Office — September 23, 2013

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September 2013: 1

Analog circuits boost power in living computers
“New cell-based computers do division and logarithms the old-fashioned way”
Meghan Rosen, sciencenews.org — May 17, 2013

An easier way to control genes
“New method for turning genes on and off could enable more complex synthetic biology circuits”
Anne Trafton, MIT News Office — September 3, 2013

How quickly can a bacterium grow?
“Physicist finds that E. coli replicate close to thermodynamic limits of efficiency”
Anne Trafton, MIT News Office — August 27, 2013

LITE illuminates new way to study the brain
Using light to speed up epigenetic analysis
Haley Bridger, Broad Communications — July 23rd, 2013

Programmable glue made of DNA directs tiny gel bricks to self-assemble
“New method could help to reconnect injured organs or build functional human tissues from the ground up”
Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering — September 9, 2013

Transparent artificial muscle plays music
“Gel-based audio speaker demonstrates capabilities of ionic conductors, long thought limited in application”
Caroline Perry, SEAS Communications/Harvard Science News — August 29, 2013

Years or decades later, flu exposure still prompts immunity
“New forms of influenza viruses can spur production of antibodies to past pandemics in people who lived through them”
Tina Hesman-Saey, sciencenews.org — August 16, 2013

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August 2013: 5

A Powerful Tool in the Doctor’s Toolkit
Danielle Ofri, MD, New York Times — August 15, 2013

Clues emerge to explain allergic asthma
“Allergens that chop up a clotting protein contribute to reactions”
Nathan Seppa, sciencenews.org — August 15, 2013

Feel the Pain
“Surprise finding may change how virulent, painful bacterial infections are viewed”
Nancy Fliesler, Harvard Medical News — August 22, 2013

Glowing Proteins: More Than a Marker
“Researchers transform fluorescent proteins into a scaffold for manipulating genes”
Elizabeth Cooney, Harvard Medical News — August 15, 2013

Gut-brain communication failure may spur overeating
“Restoring a depleted molecule in obese mice repaired their abnormal response to food”
Cristy Gelling, sciencenews.org — August 15, 2013

Lung-on-a-Chip wins prize
“Award validates Wyss team’s approach to revolutionize drug treatment”
Wyss Institute, Harvard University — February 26, 2013

Lung on a chip: YouTube (for slower internet speeds) 
Wyss Institute, Harvard University — 2011

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July 2013: 1

Balancing Act
“Mitochondrial protein coordinates a little-known enzyme that controls how fat is stored or burned”
Elizabeth Cooney, Harvard Medical News — June 17, 2013

Enhancing RNA interference
“Helping RNA escape from cells’ recycling process could make it easier to shut off disease-causing genes”
Anne Trafton, MIT News Office — June 23, 2013

Gene therapy shows new signs of promise
Scott Kirsner, Boston Globe — June 2, 2013

Reading DNA, backward and forward
“MIT biologists reveal how cells control the direction in which the genome is read”
Anne Trafton, MIT News Office — June 23, 2013

Engineering microbes

High-Octane Bacteria Could Ease Pain at the Pump
“Engineered E. coli mass produce key precursor to potent biofuel”
Dan Ferber, Harvard Medical News — June 26, 2013

Living Factories: How Scientists Engineer Microbes to Make Useful Molecules (video)
Kevin Bonham, Science blogs: We, beasties —  June 12, 2013

Mathematics literacy

Goodnight moon, goodnight math (npr video)
“Should you add some math problems to your kids’ bedtime stories?”
Laura Overdeck, Founder, Bedtime Math, Science Friday

Research into light (Fall 2012)

French, American physicists who study light awarded Nobel
“Their work may lead to super accurate clocks”
Dennis Overbye, New York Times — October 10, 2012

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June 2013: 3

A step closer to artificial livers
“Researchers identify compounds that help liver cells grow outside the body.”
Anne Trafton, MIT News Office  — June 2, 2013

Chemical screen points to new line of attack against neuroblastoma
Making cancer cells “grow up” (differentiation therapy)
Haley Bridger, Broad Communications — May 30th, 2013

Mindfulness meditation: A mental workout to benefit the brain
(Includes a good set of additional references)
Science in the News — April 15, 2013

New MATH for Cancer
“In head and neck tumors, genetic diversity predicts outcomes”
Sue McGreevey, Harvard Medical School News  — May 20, 2013

Selectively Silencing Itch
“Experimental approach uses itch-specific nerves to let in relief”
Elizabeth Cooney, Harvard Medical School News — June 7, 2013

Viral Architecture
“Seeing how the Hepatitis C virus builds ion channels could help researchers find new drugs to fight the disease?
Jake Miller, Harvard Medical School News — June 13, 2013

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