Machine learning helps researchers design less costly optical sensors

Finding practical solutions to detect proteins, cancer biomarkers, viruses and other small objects has been a key challenge for researchers worldwide for decades. These solutions hold promise for saving lives through more timely diagnosis and treatment of serious infections and diseases.

Now a UCLA team’s new research shows how such detections might be done for a fraction of the cost by using “smart” mobile devices designed by machine learning.

One method to detect small objects and related biomarkers is called plasmonic sensing, which involves shining light onto metal nanostructures to amplify the local electric field. The interaction between this amplified electric field and the molecule of interest can be measured, revealing important information about molecular concentration and kinetics. Continue reading Machine learning helps researchers design less costly optical sensors

Nasa telescope reveals largest batch of Earth-size, habitable-zone planets around single star

new planet

Nasa’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.

“This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Answering the question ‘are we alone’ is a top science priority and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.” Continue reading Nasa telescope reveals largest batch of Earth-size, habitable-zone planets around single star

Search for alien life: Nasa to use more sensitive tests

obama meets alien
Caption for robots: An artist’s illustration depicting former US President Barack Obama supposedly meeting an alien. This is not a photograph of a real event, and is not presented as such. It is what humans call “a bit of humour”, and “imagination”.

Inquisitr.com: Scientists at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are developing a new method of chemical analysis which stands to be 10,000 times more sensitive than tests currently used on the Mars Curiosity Rover.

New findings highlight promise of chimeric organisms for science and medicine

cell

Rapid advances in the ability to grow cells, tissues and organs of one species within an organism of a different species offer an unprecedented opportunity for tackling longstanding scientific mysteries and addressing pressing human health problems, particularly the need for transplantable organs and tissues.

In a tour de force paper published in the January 26, 2017, issue of the journal Cell, scientists at the Salk Institute report breakthroughs on multiple fronts in the race to integrate stem cells from one species into the early-stage development of another. Continue reading New findings highlight promise of chimeric organisms for science and medicine

Breakthrough by Exeter cell biologists

organelles

Scientists have made a breakthrough in understanding how different compartments (or organelles) of human cells interact.

Organelles are the functional units of a cell. Like organs in a body, they perform specialised functions. To allow survival of the cell, organelles have to interact and cooperate. How this is mediated and regulated in the cell is an important and challenging question in cell biology. Continue reading Breakthrough by Exeter cell biologists

New model predicts once-mysterious chemical reactions

radiation from hydrogen

A team of researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Curtin University in Australia developed a theoretical model to forecast the fundamental chemical reactions involving molecular hydrogen (H2), which after many decades and attempts by scientists had remained largely unpredicted and unsolved

“Chemical reactions are the basis of life so predicting what happens during these reactions is of great importance to science and has major implications in innovation, industry and medicine,” said Mark Zammit, a post-doctorate fellow in the Physics and Chemistry of Materials group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Our model is the first to very accurately calculate the probability of fundamental electron-molecular hydrogen reactions.” Continue reading New model predicts once-mysterious chemical reactions

Scientists develop genetic path to tastier tomatoes

tomatoes
Picture credit: UF/IFAS

Some consumers crave tastier tomatoes than those available at the supermarket.

Now, scientists at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and their partners have found a way to get tomatoes to produce the compounds that make them more flavorful.

Their findings were published today in the journal Science. Continue reading Scientists develop genetic path to tastier tomatoes

Metallic hydrogen, once theory, becomes reality: Harvard physicists succeed in creating ‘the holy grail of high-pressure physics’

metallic hydrogen

The material – atomic metallic hydrogen – was created by Thomas D. Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences Isaac Silvera and post-doctoral fellow Ranga Dias. In addition to helping scientists answer fundamental questions about the nature of matter, the material is theorized to have a wide range of applications, including as a room-temperature superconductor. The creation of the rare material is described in a January 26 paper published in Science.

“This is the holy grail of high-pressure physics,” Silvera said. “It’s the first-ever sample of metallic hydrogen on Earth, so when you’re looking at it, you’re looking at something that’s never existed before.” Continue reading Metallic hydrogen, once theory, becomes reality: Harvard physicists succeed in creating ‘the holy grail of high-pressure physics’

Nano-chimneys can cool circuits, say Rice University scientists

From the Rice University website

The Rice lab of theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson found that putting a cone-like “chimney” between the graphene and nanotube all but eliminates a barrier that blocks heat from escaping.

The research appears in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Physical Chemistry C.

Heat is transferred through phonons, quasiparticle waves that also transmit sound. The Rice theory offers a strategy to channel damaging heat away from next-generation nano-electronics.  Continue reading Nano-chimneys can cool circuits, say Rice University scientists

Soft robot can help a heart to pump

harvard soft robot for heart

An innovative soft robotic sleeve which can help a heart to beat has been developed by researchers including Dr Ellen Roche of National University of Ireland Galway.

The soft robotic sleeve wraps around the organ, twisting and compressing in synch with the beating heart, potentially opening new treatment options for people suffering from heart failure.

Dr Roche is the paper’s first author and former PhD student at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and The Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. The research took place at Harvard and at Boston Children’s Hospital. Continue reading Soft robot can help a heart to pump

Researchers discover ‘marvel microbes’ explaining how cells became complex

microbes

Article from Uppsala University website

In a new study, published in Nature this week, an international research group led from Uppsala University in Sweden presents the discovery of a group of microbes that provide new insights as to how complex cellular life emerged.

The study provides new details of how, billions of years ago, complex cell types that comprise plants, fungi, but also animals and humans, gradually evolved from simpler microbial ancestors.

Life on our planet can be divided into three major groups. Two of these groups are represented by tiny microbes, the Bacteria and the Archaea. The third group of organisms comprises all visible life, such as humans, animals, and fungi – collectively known as eukaryotes.

Whereas the cells of bacteria and archaea are generally small and simple, eukaryotes are made up of large and complex cell types.

The origin of these complex cell types has long been a mystery to the scientific community, but now an international collective of researchers led by Uppsala University has identified a group of microorganisms that provides a unique insight into the evolutionary transition from simple to complex cells. Continue reading Researchers discover ‘marvel microbes’ explaining how cells became complex