Archive for the ‘bioengineering’ category: Page 14

Jul 29, 2023

MU researcher receives $3 million grant to use gene editing for investigating the building blocks of disease

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, health

In a new study funded by a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), University of Missouri researcher Kiho Lee, an associate professor in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, will use gene editing to investigate the building blocks of disease.

Jul 29, 2023

Bioengineered Probiotics: Synthetic Biology Can Provide Live Cell Therapeutics for the Treatment of Foodborne Diseases

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, economics, food, health

The rising prevalence of antibiotic resistant microbial pathogens presents an ominous health and economic challenge to modern society. The discovery and large-scale development of antibiotic drugs in previous decades was transformational, providing cheap, effective treatment for what would previously have been a lethal infection. As microbial strains resistant to many or even all antibiotic drug treatments have evolved, there is an urgent need for new drugs or antimicrobial treatments to control these pathogens. The ability to sequence and mine the genomes of an increasing number of microbial strains from previously unexplored environments has the potential to identify new natural product antibiotic biosynthesis pathways. This coupled with the power of synthetic biology to generate new production chassis, biosensors and “weaponized” live cell therapeutics may provide new means to combat the rapidly evolving threat of drug resistant microbial pathogens. This review focuses on the application of synthetic biology to construct probiotic strains that have been endowed with functionalities allowing them to identify, compete with and in some cases kill microbial pathogens as well as stimulate host immunity. Weaponized probiotics may have the greatest potential for use against pathogens that infect the gastrointestinal tract: Vibrio cholerae, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens and Clostridioides difficile. The potential benefits of engineered probiotics are highlighted along with the challenges that must still be met before these intriguing and exciting new therapeutic tools can be widely deployed.

The discovery and application of antibiotic drugs is among the most significant accomplishments of medical science. Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin (Fleming, 1929) and subsequent discovery and development of multiple classes of natural product antibiotics have been transformational to modern society. These compounds have yielded cheap and effective treatments for diseases caused by common bacterial infections that would previously have proven fatal. The advent of effective antibiotic drugs has made it possible to survive complex surgical procedures like open heart surgery and organ transplants and extended the average human life-span (Riley, 2005; Kaviani et al., 2020). The benefits of readily available antibiotic drugs have extended into agriculture and aquaculture, making it possible to increase productivity of farmed animals (Park et al., 1994; Patel et al., 2020).

Jul 29, 2023

New protein-based nano-switches could lead to faster, more accurate diagnostic tests

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, nanotechnology

QUT researchers have developed a new approach for designing molecular ON-OFF switches based on proteins which can be used in a multitude of biotechnological, biomedical and bioengineering applications.

The research team demonstrated that this novel approach allows them to design and build faster and more accurate diagnostic tests for detecting diseases, monitoring water quality and detecting environmental pollutants.

Professor Kirill Alexandrov, of the QUT School of Biology and Environmental Science, lead scientist on the CSIRO-QUT Synthetic Biology Alliance and a researcher with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology, said that the new technique published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Nanotechnology demonstrated that protein switches could be engineered in a predictable way.

Jul 28, 2023

Genetically engineered trees stoke climate hope — and environmental fears

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, climatology, genetics, sustainability

“O poplar tree, O poplar tree, how carbon-dense are thy branches …”

Trees are a major tool in our fight against climate change by sucking up carbon dioxide, but one company is taking them a step further: genetically engineering trees to sequester even more carbon. U.S. climate technology startup Living Carbon is developing genetically engineered seedlings of a hybrid poplar that it says can accumulate up to 53% more biomass than control plants and thereby absorb 27% more carbon.

Plants use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar, a process known as photosynthesis. Living Carbon says its trees, a hybrid of the common aspen (Populus tremula) and white poplar (P. alba), can do it better with genetic changes to boost its photosynthetic performance.

Jul 27, 2023

Biotechnology giant: Does China now lead the world in human and agricultural genetic engineering?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, food, genetics

For many people, when they hear China and genetic engineering in the same sentence, it is often synonymous with scandal.

Jul 25, 2023

The Ethics and Security Challenge of Gene Editing

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, ethics, genetics, military, neuroscience

The weaponization of the scientific and technological breakthroughs stemming from human genome research presents a serious global security challenge. Gene-editing pioneer and Nobel Laureate Jennifer Doudna often tells a story of a nightmare she once had. A colleague asked her to teach someone how her technology works. She went to meet the student and “was shocked to see Adolf Hitler, in the flesh.”

Doudna is not alone in being haunted by the power of science. Famously, having just returned home from Los Alamos in early 1945, John von Neumann awakened in panic. “What we are creating now is a monster whose influence is going to change history, provided there is any history left,” he stammered while straining to speak to his wife. He surmised, however, that “it would be impossible not to see it through, not only for military reasons, but it would also be unethical from the point of view of the scientists not to do what they knew is feasible, no matter what terrible consequences it may have.”

According to biographer Ananyo Bhattacharya, von Neumann saw what was happening in Nazi Germany and the USSR and believed that “the best he could do is allow politicians to make those [ethical and security] decisions: to put his brain in their hands.” Living through a devastating world war, the Manhattan Project polymath “had no trust left in human nature.”

Jul 24, 2023

Research to merge human brain cells with AI secures national defence funding

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, neuroscience, robotics/AI, security

“The new research program, led by Associate Professor Adeel Razi, from the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, in collaboration with Melbourne start-up Cortical Labs, involves growing around 800,000 brain cells living in a dish, which are then “taught” to perform goal-directed tasks. Last year the brain cells’ ability to perform a simple tennis-like computer game, Pong, received global attention for the team’s research.”

Monash University-led research into growing human brain cells onto silicon chips, with new continual learning capabilities to transform machine learning, has been awarded almost $600,000 AUD in the prestigious National Intelligence and Security Discovery Research Grants Program.

According to Associate Professor Razi, the research program’s work using lab-grown brain cells embedded onto silicon chips, “merges the fields of artificial intelligence and synthetic biology to create programmable biological computing platforms,” he said.

Continue reading “Research to merge human brain cells with AI secures national defence funding” »

Jul 24, 2023

Robot made of LEGOs produces DNA machines

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, nanotechnology, robotics/AI

A team of ingenious bioengineers at Arizona State University (ASU) has harnessed the power of childhood nostalgia, unveiling a creative solution to a long-standing challenge in DNA origami research.

They’ve successfully employed a LEGO robotics kit to build an affordable, highly effective gradient mixer for purifying self-assembling DNA origami nanostructures. This innovative breakthrough, detailed in a paper published one PLOS ONE, promises to revolutionize how scientists approach DNA origami synthesis.

The creation of DNA origami structures is an intricate process, requiring precise purification of nanostructures. Traditionally, this purification step involved rate-zone centrifugation, relying on a costly piece of equipment called a gradient mixer. However, the maverick minds at ASU have demonstrated that even the iconic plastic bricks of LEGO can be repurposed for scientific advancement.

Jul 24, 2023

A synthetic biology platform enabling control over aging-associated stress response

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, life extension, robotics/AI, virtual reality

Integrated Biosciences, a biotechnology company combining synthetic biology and machine learning to target aging, in collaboration with researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara, today announced a drug discovery platform that enables precise control of the integrated stress response (ISR), a biological pathway that is activated by cells in response to a wide variety of pathological and aging-associated conditions.

A new publication, “Optogenetic control of the integrated stress response reveals proportional encoding and the stress memory landscape,” authored by company founders and featured on the cover of Cell Systems describes a technique that triggers the ISR virtually using light and demonstrates how the accumulation of stress over time shifts a cell’s reaction from adaptation to apoptosis (programmed cell death).

“In a very real way, our platform puts cells into a virtual reality, making them experience stress in the absence of physical stressors,” said Maxwell Wilson, Ph.D., a co-founder of Integrated Biosciences and Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of California Santa Barbara.

Jul 22, 2023

Timelapse of Future BIOTECHNOLOGY

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, bioprinting, biotech/medical, chemistry, cyborgs, food, robotics/AI, transhumanism

What happens when humans begin combining biology with technology, harnessing the power to recode life itself.

What does the future of biotechnology look like? How will humans program biology to create organ farm technology and bio-robots. And what happens when companies begin investing in advanced bio-printing, artificial wombs, and cybernetic prosthetic limbs.

Continue reading “Timelapse of Future BIOTECHNOLOGY” »

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