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Key: Meeting Journal Funder
Public Release: 19-Sep-2014
Nature Photonics
UChicago-Argonne National Lab team improves solar-cell efficiency
New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular Engineering, and Argonne National Laboratory. Researchers identified a new polymer -- a type of large molecule that forms plastics and other familiar materials -- which improved the efficiency of solar cells.
National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, US Department of Energy

Contact: Steve Koppes
University of Chicago

Public Release: 19-Sep-2014
Acta Crystallographica Section D
A refined approach to proteins at low resolution
Crystals of membrane proteins and protein complexes often diffract to low resolution owing to their intrinsic molecular flexibility, heterogeneity or the mosaic spread of micro-domains. At low resolution, the building and refinement of atomic models is a more challenging task. The deformable elastic network refinement method developed previously has been instrumental in the determination of several structures at low resolution. Here, DEN refinement is reviewed.
National Institutes of Health

Contact: IUCR Press Office
International Union of Crystallography

Public Release: 19-Sep-2014
2D Materials
Graphene sensor tracks down cancer biomarkers
An ultrasensitive biosensor made from the wonder material graphene has been used to detect molecules that indicate an increased risk of developing cancer.

Contact: Michael Bishop
Institute of Physics

Public Release: 19-Sep-2014
Nature Communications
Long-distance communication from leaves to roots
Leguminous plants create symbiotic organs called nodules in their roots. Japanese researchers have shown that cytokinins, a kind of plant hormone, play an important role in preserving proper root nodule numbers using the model plant Lotus japonicus. The results of this work were published in the journal Nature Communications titled 'Shoot-derived cytokinins systemically regulate root nodulation.'

Contact: Office of Public Relations National Institute for Basic Biol
National Institutes of Natural Sciences

Public Release: 19-Sep-2014
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Quick-change materials break the silicon speed limit for computers
Faster, smaller, greener computers, capable of processing information up to 1,000 times faster than currently available models, could be made possible by replacing silicon with materials that can switch back and forth between different electrical states.
UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Contact: Sarah Collins
University of Cambridge

Public Release: 19-Sep-2014
Milestone in chemical studies of superheavy elements
An international collaboration led by research groups from Mainz and Darmstadt, Germany, has achieved the synthesis of a new class of chemical compounds for superheavy elements at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Research in Japan. For the first time, a chemical bond was established between a superheavy element -- seaborgium (element 106) in the present study -- and a carbon atom.

Contact: Christoph Düllmann
Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz

Public Release: 19-Sep-2014
Journal of Neuroscience
Neurons express 'gloss' using three perceptual parameters
Japanese researchers found that brain uses 3 perceptual parameters, the contrast-of-highlight, sharpness-of-highlight, or brightness of the object, as parameters when the brain recognizes a variety of glosses. They also found that different parameters are represented by different populations of neurons. This was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Contact: Hidehiko Komatsu
National Institutes of Natural Sciences

Public Release: 19-Sep-2014
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Monster galaxies gain weight by eating smaller neighbors
Research to be published this Friday shows that massive galaxies in the universe have stopped making their own stars and are instead 'snacking' on nearby galaxies. Astronomers looked at more than 22,000 galaxies and found that while smaller galaxies are very efficient at creating stars from gas, the most massive galaxies are much less efficient at star formation, producing hardly any new stars themselves, and instead grow by eating other galaxies.

Contact: Kirsten Gottschalk
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Nature Materials
Penn research helps uncover mechanism behind solid-solid phase transitions
Researchers have found that some crystals have an easier time of making a solid-solid transition if they take it in two steps. Surprisingly, the first step of the process involves the parent phase producing droplets of liquid. The liquid droplets then evolve into the daughter phase.
US National Science Foundation, National Natural Science Foundation of China, National Basic Research Program of China, NASA

Contact: Evan Lerner
University of Pennsylvania

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Nano Letters
Toward optical chips
In the next issue of the journal Nano Letters, researchers from MIT's departments of Physics and of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science will describe a new technique for building MoS2 light emitters tuned to different frequencies, an essential requirement for optoelectronic chips. Since thin films of material can also be patterned onto sheets of plastic, the same work could point toward thin, flexible, bright, color displays.

Contact: Kimberly Allen
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
ICHRIE Penn State Research Reports
Marcellus drilling boom may have led to too many hotel rooms
Drilling in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region led to a rapid increase in both the number of hotels and hotel industry jobs, but Penn State researchers report that the faltering occupancy rate may signal that there are now too many hotel rooms.

Contact: Matt Swayne
Penn State

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
GSA Bulletin
Tree rings and arroyos
A new GSA Bulletin study uses tree rings to document arroyo evolution along the lower Rio Puerco and Chaco Wash in northern New Mexico, USA. By determining burial dates in tree rings from salt cedar and willow, investigators were able to precisely date arroyo sedimentary beds 30 cm thick or greater. They then combined this data with aerial imagery, LiDAR, longitudinal profiles, and repeat surveys to reconstruct the history of these arroyos.

Contact: Kea Giles
Geological Society of America

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Chemistry and Biology
Researchers study vital 'on/off switches' that control when bacteria turn deadly
No matter how many times it's demonstrated, it's still hard to envision bacteria as social, communicating creatures. But by using a signaling system called 'quorum sensing,' these single-celled organisms radically alter their behavior to suit their population. Helen Blackwell, a professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been making artificial compounds that mimic the natural quorum-sensing signals.

Contact: Helen Blackwell
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Miranda: An icy moon deformed by tidal heating
Miranda, a small, icy moon of Uranus, is one of the most visually striking and enigmatic bodies in the solar system. Despite its relatively small size, Miranda appears to have experienced an episode of intense resurfacing that resulted in the formation of at least three remarkable and unique surface features -- polygonal-shaped regions called coronae.

Contact: Kea Giles
Geological Society of America

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Nature Communications
Sensing neuronal activity with light
For years, neuroscientists have been trying to develop tools that would allow them to clearly view the brain's circuitry in action -- from the first moment a neuron fires to the resulting behavior in an organism. To get this complete picture, neuroscientists are working to develop a range of new tools to study the brain. Researchers at Caltech have developed one such tool that provides a new way of mapping neural networks in a living organism.
National Institutes of Health, NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders, Beckman Institute, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, US Army Research Office, Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation, Life Sciences Research Foundation

Contact: Deborah Williams-Hedges
California Institute of Technology

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
LSU Health research discovers means to free immune system to destroy cancer
LSU Health New Orleans research has identified the crucial role an inflammatory protein known as Chop plays in the body's ability to fight cancer. Results demonstrate, for the first time, that Chop regulates the activity and accumulation of cells that suppress immune response against tumors. With Chop removed, the T-cells of the immune system mounted an effective attack on the cancer cells, revealing a new target for the development of immunotherapies to treat cancer.
National Institutes of Health

Contact: Leslie Capo
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Molecular Cell
Scientists find how mysterious 'circular RNA' is formed, claim muscular dystrophy link
The role of circular RNA, discovered several years ago, is poorly understood. Now, Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers and their colleagues in Germany have discovered how circular RNA is created. They propose a link to the most common form of muscular dystrophy that begins in adulthood. The research advances our understanding of general molecular biology, and could help our understanding and eventual treatment of degenerative diseases in muscles and the brain.
European Research Council, Human Frontiers Science Career development award, Israel Science Foundation

Contact: Dov Smith
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Improving medicines for children in Canada
A new expert panel report, Improving Medicines for Children in Canada, released today by the Council of Canadian Academies, addresses the importance of developing safe and effective medicines for children. Each year about half of Canada's seven million children use at least one prescription drug. Much of this prescribing is done off-label, creating potential health risks.

Contact: Cathleen Meechan
613-567-5000 x228
Council of Canadian Academies

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
A more efficient, lightweight and low-cost organic solar cell
For decades, polymer scientists and synthetic chemists working to improve the power conversion efficiency of organic solar cells were hampered by the inherent drawbacks of commonly used metal electrodes, including their instability and susceptibility to oxidation. Now for the first time, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a more efficient, easily processable and lightweight solar cell that can use virtually any metal for the electrode, effectively breaking the 'electrode barrier.'

Contact: Janet Lathrop
University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
New insights into the world of quantum materials
In Innsbruck, Austria, a team of physicists led by Francesca Ferlaino experimentally observed how the anisotropic properties of particles deform the Fermi surface in a quantum gas. The work published in Science provides the basis for future studies on how the geometry of particle interactions may influence the properties of a quantum system.
Austrian Science Fund, European Union

Contact: Francesca Ferlaino
University of Innsbruck

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Current Biology
Single dose of antidepressant changes the brain
A single dose of antidepressant is enough to produce dramatic changes in the functional architecture of the human brain. Brain scans taken of people before and after an acute dose of a commonly prescribed serotonin reuptake inhibitor reveal changes in connectivity within three hours, say researchers who report their observations in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on Sept. 18.

Contact: Mary Beth O'Leary
Cell Press

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
Nuclear spins control current in plastic LED
University of Utah physicists read 'spins' in hydrogen nuclei and used the data to control current in a cheap, plastic light emitting diode -- at room temperature and without strong magnetic fields. The study in Friday's issue of Science brings physics a step closer to practical machines that work 'spintronically:' super-fast quantum computers, more compact data storage devices and plastic or organic light-emitting diodes more efficient than those used today in displays for cell phones, computers and TVs.
US Department of Energy, National Science Foundation

Contact: Lee J. Siegel
University of Utah

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
Advances in Water Resources
Nile River monitoring influences northeast Africa's future
Curtin University research that monitors the volume of water in the Nile River Basin will help to level the playing field for more than 200 million northeast Africans who rely on the river's water supply.

Contact: Vicki Brett
Curtin University

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
NASA releases IRIS footage of X-class flare
On Sept. 10, 2014, NASA's newest solar observatory, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, joined other telescopes to witness an X-class flare -- an example of one of the strongest solar flares -- on the sun.

Contact: Susan Hendrix
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
Hubble helps find smallest known galaxy containing a supermassive black hole
Astronomers using data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and ground observation have found an unlikely object in an improbable place -- a monster black hole lurking inside one of the tiniest galaxies ever known.

Contact: Ray Villard
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center