Articles from March 2013



Better Than GOOGLE!

Aurora Clark, an associate professor of chemistry at Washington State University, has adapted Google’s PageRank software to create moleculaRnetworks, which scientists can use to determine molecular shapes and chemical reactions without the expense, logistics and occasional danger of lab experiments.”What’s most cool about this work is we can take technology from a totally separate realm of science, computer science, and apply it to understanding our natural world,” says Clark.
What Aurora Clarck probably did not know is that the algorithm used successfully by Google founders is based mostly on a free formula developed by an Italian Professor of mathematics from the Univeristy of Padua. Now professor Massimo Marchiori has opened a new search engine on the web, with specific features that will surpass the accuracy of Google search engine. At this moment, the new search engine address is www.volunia.com.
Google

Google’s PageRank software, developed by its founders at Stanford University, uses an algorithm—a set of mathematical formulas—to measure and prioritize the relevance of various Web pages to a user’s search.

Radiating Sunlight Back Into The Chilly Vacuum Of Space

A Stanford team has designed an entirely new form of cooling panel that works even when the sun is shining. Such a panel could vastly improve the daylight cooling of buildings, cars and other structures by radiating sunlight back into the chilly vacuum of space.
In the future we can imagine homes and buildings chilled without air conditioners. Car interiors that don’t heat up in the summer sun. Tapping the frigid expanses of outer space to cool the planet. Science fiction, you say? Well, maybe not any more.
cooling solar structure

People usually see space as a source of heat from the sun, but away from the sun outer space is really a cold, cold place,” explained Shanhui Fan, professor of electrical engineering and the paper’s senior author. “We’ve developed a new type of structure that reflects the vast majority of sunlight, while at the same time it sends heat into that coldness, which cools manmade structures even in the day time.”

Source: http://engineering.stanford.edu/

How to diagnose directly Lyme

Early diagnosis is critical in treating Lyme disease. However, nearly one quarter of Lyme disease patients are initially misdiagnosed because currently available serological tests have poor sensitivity and specificity during the early stages of infection. Misdiagnosed patients may go untreated and thus progress to late-stage Lyme disease, where they face longer and more invasive treatments, as well as persistent symptoms. A nanotechnology-inspired technique developed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania may lead to diagnostics that can detect the organism itself.

lyme anibody
An illustration of a Lyme antibody attached to a carbon nanotube
Lyme disease is an infection transmitted by the bite of ticks carrying the spiral-shaped bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. The disease was named for Lyme, Connecticut, the town where it was first diagnosed in 1975 after a puzzling outbreak of arthritis. The organism was named for its discoverer, Willy Burgdorfer. The effects of this disease can be long-term and disabling unless it is recognized and treated properly with antibiotics.

Source: http://www.upenn.edu/

High-power Lithium-Ion Batteries for Electric Cars

The Rice University lab of materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan determined that Hybrid ribbons of vanadium oxide (VO2) and graphene, is a superior cathode for batteries that could supply both high energy density and significant power density. The ribbons created at Rice are thousands of times thinner than a sheet of paper, yet have potential that far outweighs current materials for their ability to charge and discharge very quickly. Cathodes built into half-cells for testing at Rice fully charged and discharged in 20 seconds and retained more than 90 percent of their initial capacity after more than 1,000 cycles.
electricCAR

This is the direction battery research is going, not only for something with high energy density but also high power density,” Ajayan said. “It’s somewhere between a battery and a supercapacitor.
These new Hybrid ribbons could be decisive to build high-power lithium-ion batteries suitable for electric cars.
The research appears online this month in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.
Source: http://news.rice.edu/

Nanowires concentrate15 Times Sun Light Intensity

Scientists from the Nano-Science Center at the Niels Bohr Institut, Denmark and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, have shown that a single nanowire can concentrate the sunlight up to 15 times of the normal sun light intensity. The results are surprising and the potential for developing a new type of highly efficient solar cells is great.
nanowires

Due to some unique physical light absorption properties of nanowires, the limit of how much energy we can utilize from the sun’s rays is higher than previous believed. These results demonstrate the great potential of development of nanowire-based solar cells, says PhD Peter Krogstrup on the surprising discovery that is described in the journal Nature Photonics.
Source: http://www.nbi.ku.dk/

Synthetic Nanomotors Pump DNA

A research team lead by Dr Peixuan Guo from the University of Kentucky (USA) have cracked a 35-year-old mystery about the workings of the natural motors that are serving as models for development of a futuristic genre of synthetic nanomotors that pump therapeutic DNA, RNA or drugs into individual diseased cells.
DNA nanomotor

The importance of nanomotors in nanotechnology is akin to that of mechanical engines to daily life. The AAA+ superfamily is a class of nanomotors performing various functions. Their hexagonal arrangement facilitates bottom-up assembly for stable structures. Bacteriophage phi29 DNA-translocation motor contains three co-axial rings and viral DNA-packaging motor has been believed to be a rotational machine. However, the researchers found a revolution mechanism without rotation. By analogy, the earth revolves around the sun while rotating on its own axis.
Click here to enjoy the video

Source University of Kentucky: http://nanobio.uky.edu/
AND
ACS Nano: http://pubs.acs.org

Nano-hitchhikers Track Stem Cells Entering Heart

The promise of repairing damaged hearts through regenerative medicine — infusing stem cells into the heart in the hope that these cells will replace worn out or damaged tissue — has yet to meet with clinical success. But a highly sensitive visualization technique developed by Stanford University School of Medicine scientists may help speed that promise’s realization.
stem_cell

All stem cell researchers want to get the cells to the target site, but up until now they’ve had to shoot blindly,” said Gambhir, who is also the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor in Cancer Research and director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford. “With this new technology, they wouldn’t have to. For the first time, they would be able to observe in real time exactly where the stem cells they’ve injected are going and monitor them afterward. If you inject stem cells into a person and don’t see improvement, this technique could help you figure out why and tweak your approach to make the therapy better.”

Source: http://med.stanford.edu/

Nanomedicine Resolves Inflammation, Heals Tissue

A multicenter team of researchers has developed biodegradable nanoparticles that are capable of delivering inflammation-resolving drugs to sites of tissue injury. The nanoparticles, which were successfully tested in mice, have potential for the treatment of a wide array of diseases characterized by excessive inflammation, such as atherosclerosis. The study was published today in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science. Particpate scientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
polymeric nanoparticle
Collagen IV-targeted polymeric nanoparticles (shown in pink) are home to injured tissue, post-injection, in the blood.
A variety of medications can be used to control inflammation. Such treatments, however, usually have significant side effects and dampen the positive aspects of the inflammatory response,” said co-senior author Ira Tabas, MD, PhD,at CUMC.

Source: http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/
AND
http://www.eurekalert.org/

Artifical Cells Produce Protein Structures On Demand

Prof. Roy Bar-Ziv and his research team in the Weizmann Institute’s Materials and Interfaces Department – Israel – recently have created a two-dimensional, cell-like system on a glass chip. This system, composed of some of the basic biological molecules found in cells – DNA, RNA, proteins – carried out one of the central functions of a living cell: gene expression, the process by which the information stored in the genes is translated into proteins. More than that, it enabled the scientists, led by research student Yael Heprotein yman, to obtain “snapshots” of this process in nanoscale resolution. The system, consisting of glass chips that are only 8 nanometers thick, is based on an earlier one designed in Bar-Ziv’s lab by Dr. Shirley Daube and former student Dr. Amnon Buxboim. After being coated in a light-sensitive substance, the chips are irradiated with focused beams of ultraviolet light, which enables the biological molecules to bind to the substance in the irradiated areas. In this way, the scientists could precisely place DNA molecules encoding a protein marked with a green fluorescent marker in one area of the chip and antibodies that “trap” the colored proteins in an abutting area.
protein interaction
Protein interaction on a chip: Red proteins concentrated more on the right, farther from the chip-bound genes, while green proteins are more highly concentrated on the left, closer to the genes that encode them

Source: http://wis-wander.weizmann.ac.il/

How to Kill HIV with Bee Venom

Nanoparticles carrying a toxin found in bee venom can destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while leaving surrounding cells unharmed, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown. The finding is an important step toward developing a vaginal gel that may prevent the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Anti-HIV nanoparticlesNanoparticles (purple) carrying melittin (green) fuse with HIV (small circles with spiked outer ring), destroying the virus’s protective envelope. Molecular bumpers (small red ovals) prevent the nanoparticles from harming the body’s normal cells, which are much larger in size.
Our hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people could use this gel as a preventive measure to stop the initial infection,” says Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD, a research instructor in medicine.
The study appears in the current issue of Antiviral Therapy.
Source: http://news.wustl.edu/

Nanoparticles Mimic Cholesterol Transporter and Attack Lymphoma

C. Shad Thaxton, of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern and member of the Northwestern University Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence, and Leo Gordon, of Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, led research team that developed a biomimetic High-density lipoprotein HDL – nanostructure. HDL is well-known for its role in protecting the body from developing coronary artery disease, but HDL also helps lymphomas and other cancers acquire the large amounts of cholesterol they need to maintain the structure of their cell membranes as they grow rapidly. Researchers at Northwestern University have taken advantage of this dependency on HDL to create an HDL-mimicking nanoparticle that starves lymphoma cells of cholesterol, triggering them to commit programmed cell death without the use of any other anticancer agent.To create their biomimetic HDL nanostructures, the researchers start with spherical gold nanoparticles that are five nanometers in diameter and add the human protein ApoA1 and two phospholipids found in native HDLs.
nanoparticle mimics cholesterol

Drs. Thaxton and Gordon and their collaborators then treated mice with human lymphomas with the biomimetic HDL nanoparticles. This treatment stopped tumor growth when the tumors were derived from lymphoma cells.

Source: http://nano.cancer.gov/

How To Avoid Formation of Blood Clot

New research from Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and the Puget Sound Blood Center (PSBC) has revealed how stresses of flow in the small blood vessels of the heart and brain could cause a common protein to change shape and form dangerous blood clots. The scientists were surprised to find that the proteins could remain in the dangerous, clot-initiating shape for up to five hours before returning to their normal, healthy shape.The study — the first of its kind — focused on a protein called von Willebrand factor, or VWF, a key player in clot formation. A team led by Rice physicist Ching-Hwa Kiang found that “shear” forces, like those found in small arteries of patients with atherosclerosis, cause snippets of nonclotting VWF to change into a clot-forming shape for hours at a time. The finding appears online in Physical Review Letters.

Rice team New research has revealed how stresses of flow in the bloodstream can cause a common protein to change shape and initiate the formation of dangerous blood clots. Rice University study co-authors include (from left) Eric Frey, Ching-Hwa Kiang, Joel Moake and Sithara Wijeratne.
When I first heard what Dr. Kiang’s team had found, I was shocked,” said blood platelet expert Dr. Joel Moake, a study co-author who holds joint appointments at Rice and BCM. Moake, whose research group was the first to describe how high shear stress could cause platelets to stick to VWF, said, “I had thought that the condition might last for such a short time that it would be unmeasurable. No one expected to find that this condition would persist for hours. This has profound clinical implications.

Source: http://news.rice.edu/