For the first time, MIT engineers have designed sensors that can detect single protein molecules as they are secreted by cells. These sensors, which consist of modified carbon nanotubes, could help scientists with any application that requires detecting very small amounts of protein, such as tracking viral infection, monitoring cell manufacture of useful proteins, or revealing food contamination.
An interdisciplinary team of researchers has laid the foundations for an entirely new type of photovoltaic cell. In this new method, infrared radiation is converted into electrical energy using a different mechanism from that found in conventional solar cells. The mechanism relies on so-called polaron excitations, which combine the excitation of electrons and vibrations of the crystal lattice. The scientists present their work in the journal Advanced Energy Materials.
Our hearts beat a life long. With every beat our heart muscle contracts and expands. How this can work throughout an entire life remains largely a mystery. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now measured the forces acting between the building blocks titin and α-actinin which stabilize the muscle.
Certain edible and medicinal mushrooms contain bioactive compounds that may enhance nerve growth in the brain and protect against neurotoxic stimuli such as inflammation that contribute to neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The evidence supporting a potential role of mushrooms as functional foods to reduce or delay development of age-related neurodegeneration is presented in an article published in Journal of Medicinal Food.
Researchers at EPFL have come up with a way of imprinting nanometric patterns on the inside and outside of polymer fibers. These fibers could prove useful in guiding nerve regeneration and producing optical effects, for example, as well as in eventually creating artificial tissue and smart bandages.
Maternal infection during pregnancy increases the risk for psychiatric disorders in the child, but the path between the two is something of a mystery. In a study published in Biological Psychiatry, senior author Professor Urs Meyer of the University of Zurich-Vetsuisse in Zurich, Switzerland and colleagues use a mouse model to show that activation of the mother's immune system may cause long-term alterations in the programming of the offspring's genome, known as epigenetic modifications, which lead to behavioral abnormalities in adulthood.
More than 100 women die from breast cancer every day in the United States. Triple-negative breast cancers, which comprise 15 to 20 percent of all breast tumors, are a particularly deadly type of breast disease that often metastasize to distant sites. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that luteolin, a natural compound found in herbs such as thyme and parsley, and vegetables such as celery and broccoli, could reduce the risk of developing metastasis originating from triple-negative breast cancer in women.
Tectonically, the Mediterranean is extremely active and thus threatened by natural catastrophes. Over the last few years an international team of researchers with participation of scientists from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel has intensively studied the seafloor south of Sicily and Calabria. In their study, now published in the international scientific journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, they found evidence for recent tectonic activity on a plate boundary, which can cause strong earthquakes.
At the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research was developed and tested a new method for a future treatment of cardiac arrhythmia. The research was carried by a team of biophysicists from GSI and physicians from Heidelberg University and the Mayo Clinic in the United States. Beams of carbon ions are already used successfully to treat tumors and could represent a non-invasive alternative to the present treatment with cardiac catheters or drugs.
Computational biologists have looked at the complex networks of interacting proteins that drive cancer formation, and found that targeting the neighbors of cancer-causing proteins may be just as effective as focusing on the cancer proteins themselves.