Scientists have been investigating the structure of the HIV capsid for years; the protein shell protects the virus' genetic material, helps debilitate the infected person's immune system, and is the target for the development of new antiretroviral drugs. Research teams have turned to a wide range of futuristic-sounding techniques to crack the code, from cryo-electron microscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to cryo-EM tomography and X-ray crystallography.
Science stinks, literally. At least it does when you build a model human colon to follow the life cycle of E. coli and other bacteria.
After noting that scientists tend to study bacteria in isolated environments with carefully crafted growing conditions, engineer Ian Marcus, who recently earned his PhD from UC Riverside, decided to take matters into his own hands.
He built a system that models a human colon, a septic tank, and groundwater; fed the colon three times a day for weeks; let the bacteria grow alongside other microorganisms such as protozoa and fungi; and took copious notes.… Read more
In a seemingly random but nevertheless important discovery, scientists watching surfers with cystic fibrosis in Australia several years ago found that inhaling sea water mist reduced lung problems associated with the inherited disease.
So Cambridge Consultants in the U.K. paired with pharma firm Parion to develop and design a type of aerosol delivery systemt, called trans-nasal pulmonary aerosol delivery (tPAD), that brings the benefits of salt water treatment to the comfort of patients' homes, working overnight while they sleep.… Read more
A 3D printer saved the life of a baby boy with a rare disease that kept him from breathing properly, doctors are reporting in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The boy, Kaiba Gionfriddo of Ohio, had been diagnosed with severe tracheobronchomalacia, a rare respiratory condition that caused his airways to collapse, blocking the flow of air to his lungs daily.
About 1 in 2,200 babies are born with the condition, but only 10 percent of them have cases as severe as Kaiba's, according to his doctors. The boy's parents, April and Brian, learned something was wrong when he was 6 weeks old and the infant turned blue while the family was out to eat.
By the age of 2 months, Kaiba had to be intubated to breathe. Despite the breathing tube and a ventilator he also required, his breathing could not be maintained sufficiently. He needed to be resuscitated on a daily basis. … Read more
Biomedical engineers are unveiling a new type of fabric that, much like human skin, can turn excess sweat into droplets that simply fall away on their own accord.
"We intentionally did not use any fancy microfabrication techniques so it is compatible with the textile manufacturing process and very easy to scale up," said Siyuan Xing in a school news release. Xing is the lead biomedical engineering student on the project at the University of California, Davis.
After researching a device that draws energy from knee movement, some mechanical engineering students at Rice University decided to see if they could get the same result from another, less intrusive wearable item: a shoe.
With help from the Movement Analysis Laboratory at Shriners Hospital for Children in Houston, the resulting PediPower shoes harness energy from the force of the heel hitting the ground. The prototype -- while admittedly big, unattractive, and impractical to wear 100 percent of the time (think sleeping, showering, etc.) -- demonstrates that the simple act of walking may one day power a wide range of … Read more
The technology world was buzzing with news this week. From Google's annual I/O conference to some very tiny robotics, these are the images from the week's tech stories that stood out.
Google CEO Larry Page took the stage at Google I/O this week. He held a Q&A session at the end of the keynote presentation, during which he reinforced the idea of a technology-driven utopia and criticized anything that stood in the way of Google's vision.
Bugs, of the real and robotic kind, also saw a lot of attention. Researchers at Harvard conducted … Read more
For diabetics who have to constantly manage their blood-sugar levels, insulin works. The problem is, many people with Type 1 diabetes have to prick their fingers multiple times a day to monitor their levels, and inject themselves with insulin when those levels are too high. And they don't always administer the right amount at the right time.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston Children's Hospital hope to automate insulin delivery with a novel nanotech approach that involves injecting a gel that detects blood-sugar levels and secretes insulin when needed -- with a single injection doing do the trick for as many as 10 days.… Read more
Remember back in the olden days, when you had to wait till your baby came out of the womb to start determining whose nose and chin it had?
Pioneer, maker of speakers, receivers, and headphones, is moving into the in-utero-baby-picture realm with 3D holograms that give a remarkably detailed look at an infant's early visage.
The company does that using a full-color hologram printer. The device, which fits into a briefcase, can record a full color card-size hologram in 120 minutes, and a single-color hologram in 90 minutes. … Read more
Using off-the-shelf 3D printing tools, silver nanoparticles, and cell culture, scientists at Princeton University have created a functional bionic ear that can detect radio frequencies far beyond the normal human range.
"In general, there are mechanical and thermal challenges with interfacing electronic materials with biological materials," said Michael McAlpine, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton and the lead researcher on the project. "Previously, researchers have suggested some strategies to tailor the electronics so that this merger is less awkward. That typically happens between a 2D sheet of electronics and a surface of the tissue. However, our work suggests a new approach -- to build and grow the biology up with the electronics synergistically and in a 3D interwoven format." … Read more