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Archive for the ‘chemistry’ category: Page 2

Jun 1, 2019

Quick liquid packaging: Encasing water silhouettes in 3D polymer membranes for lab-in-a-drop experiments

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, engineering, nanotechnology

The ability to confine water in an enclosed compartment without directly manipulating it or using rigid containers is an attractive possibility. In a recent study, Sara Coppola and an interdisciplinary research team in the departments of Biomaterials, Intelligent systems, Industrial Production Engineering and Advanced Biomaterials for Healthcare in Italy, proposed a water-based, bottom-up approach to encase facile, short-lived water silhouettes in a custom-made adaptive suit.

In the work, they used a biocompatible that could self-assemble with unprecedented degrees of freedom on the surface to produce a . They custom designed the polymer film as an external container of a liquid core or as a free-standing layer. The scientists characterized the physical properties and morphology of the and proposed a variety of applications for the phenomenon from the nanoscale to the macroscale. The process could encapsulate cells or microorganisms successfully without harm, opening the way to a breakthrough approach applicable for organ-on-a-chip and lab-in-a-drop experiments. The results are now published in Science Advances.

The possibility of isolating, engineering and shaping materials into 2-D or 3D objects from the nanometer to the microscale via bottom-up engineering is gaining importance in materials science. Understanding the physics and chemistry of materials will allow a variety of applications in microelectronics, drug delivery, forensics, archeology and paleontology and space research. Materials scientists use a variety of technical methods for microfabrication including two-photon polymerization, soft interference lithography, replica molding and self-folding polymers to shape and isolate the material of interest. However, most materials engineering protocols require chemical and physical pretreatments to gain the desired final properties.

Continue reading “Quick liquid packaging: Encasing water silhouettes in 3D polymer membranes for lab-in-a-drop experiments” »

May 22, 2019

Newly discovered hybrid molecules could serve as a novel category of anti-cancer agent

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry

Researchers from NYU Abu Dhabi’s (NYUAD) chemistry program and colleagues from the University’s biology program have developed and studied the biological activity of five new, metal-organic hybrid knotted molecules, termed metal-organic trefoil knots (M-TKs). These molecules can effectively deliver metals to cancer cells, demonstrating the potential to act as a new category of anti-cancer agents.

In a study published in the journal Chemical Science, NYUAD Research Scientists Farah Benyettou and Thirumurugan Prakasam from the Trabolsi Research Group, led by NYUAD Associate Professor of Chemistry Ali Trabolsi, report that these nanoscale, water-soluble M-TKs showed high potency in vitro against six cancer cell lines and in vivo in zebrafish embryos. Zebrafish-related studies were performed by NYUAD Postdoctoral Associate Anjana Ramdas Nair from the Sadler Lab.

The M-TKs, generated by metal-templated self-assembly of a simple pair of chelating ligands, were well tolerated in vitro by non-cancer cells but were significantly more potent than cisplatin, a common chemotherapy medication, in both human cancer cells—including those that were cisplatin-resistant—and in zebrafish embryos. In cultured cells, M-TKs introduce reactive oxygen species (ROS) that damage the mitochondria of cancer cells, but not the nuclear DNA or the plasma membrane.

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May 20, 2019

New autism research on single neurons suggests signaling problems in brain circuits

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, neuroscience

Autism affects at least 2% of children in the United States—an estimated 1 in 59. This is challenging for both the patients and their parents or caregivers. What’s worse is that today there is no medical treatment for autism. That is in large part because we still don’t fully understand how autism develops and alters normal brain function.

One of the main reasons it is hard to decipher the processes that cause the disease is that it is highly variable. So how do we understand how autism changes the ?

Using a new technology called single-nucleus RNA sequencing, we analyzed the chemistry inside specific brain cells from both and those with autism and identified dramatic differences that may cause this disease. These autism-specific differences could provide valuable new targets for drug development.

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May 19, 2019

Where is the Origin of Life on Earth?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, chemistry, evolution, physics

To answer the iconic question “Are We Alone?”, scientists around the world are also attempting to understand the origin of life. There are many pieces to the puzzle of how life began and many ways to put them together into a big picture. Some of the pieces are firmly established by the laws of chemistry and physics. Others are conjectures about what Earth was like four billion years ago, based on extrapolations of what we know from observing Earth today. However, there are still major gaps in our knowledge and these are necessarily filled in by best guesses.

We invited talented scientists to discuss their different opinions about the origin of life and the site of life’s origin. Most of them will agree that liquid water was necessary, but if we had a time machine and went back in time, would we find life first in a hydrothermal submarine setting in sea water or a fresh water site associated with emerging land masses?

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May 17, 2019

Quantum cloud computing with self-check

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, particle physics, quantum physics

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists first simulated the spontaneous formation of a pair of elementary particles with a digital quantum computer at the University of Innsbruck. Due to the error rate, however, more complex simulations would require a large number of quantum bits that are not yet available in today’s quantum computers. The analog simulation of quantum systems in a quantum computer also has narrow limits. Using a new method, researchers around Christian Kokail, Christine Maier und Rick van Bijnen at the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have now surpassed these limits. They use a programmable ion trap quantum computer with 20 quantum bits as a quantum coprocessor, in which quantum mechanical calculations that reach the limits of classical computers are outsourced.

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May 15, 2019

Dr. Matthew Roberts, CSO and SVP Innovation, Chromadex — ideaXme — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, DNA, finance, genetics, health, life extension, transhumanism

May 15, 2019

Understanding the power of honey through its proteins

Posted by in categories: chemistry, food

Honey is a culinary staple that can be found in kitchens around the world. Its long shelf life and medicinal properties make it a unique, multipurpose natural product. Although it seems that a lot is known about the sweet substance, surprisingly little is known about its proteins. Check out research in the Journal of Natural Products with new data on honey proteins that could lead to new medicinal applications:


American chemical society: chemistry for life.

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May 13, 2019

Awakening stem cells to unlock the brain’s regenerative potential

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, neuroscience

The human body has powerful healing abilities. But treating brain disorders is no easy task, as brain cells—neurons—have limited ability to regenerate. Nonetheless, stem cells are a form of natural backup, a vestige of our days as still-developing embryos.

The difficulty is that with age, neural stem cells ‘fall asleep’ and become harder to wake up when repairs are needed. Despite efforts to harness these cells to treat neurological damage, scientists have until recently been unsuccessful in decoding the underlying ‘sleep’ mechanism.

Now, researchers at Kyoto University studying brain chemistry in mice have revealed the ebb and flow of gene expression that may wake neural stem cells from their slumber. These findings, which may also apply to stem cells elsewhere in the body, were recently published in the journal Genes & Development.

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May 13, 2019

Tesla battery researcher is ‘excited’ about new battery tech developed by the Army

Posted by in categories: chemistry, military, sustainability

A new Li-ion battery technology developed by the US Army has piqued the interest of Jeff Dahn, Tesla’s main battery research partner.

In the latest issue of the journal Nature, the CCDC Army Research Laboratory (ARL), which is an element of the U.S. Army, released a study demonstrating a new battery technology based on a new cathode chemistry.

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May 10, 2019

Cancer cells can communicate over longer distances within the body

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry

“It was a huge surprise, we didn’t expect to find so many melanoma cell markers in blood exosomes,” explains Hubert Girault, who heads up the Laboratory of Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry at EPFL Valais Wallis. Professor Girault and his team made the discovery almost by accident. Their findings, which have been published in the journal Chem, offer insight into how cancer cells communicate with each other and send information around the body.

All biological cells excrete exosomes, microscopic spheres or vesicles that are less than 100 nanometers in size and contain a wealth of information in the form of nucleic acids, proteins and markers. Exosomes perform cell-to-cell signaling, conveying information between cells. Under the supervision of Senior Scientist Dr. Horst Pick, EPFL doctoral assistant Yingdi Zhu used cell culture and to isolate melanoma cancer cell exosomes. She was able to identify cancer cell markers in exosomes for each stage of melanoma growth.

When analyzing the blood exosomes of melanoma patients, the researchers were surprised to discover large quantities of cancer cell markers. The blood collects and transports all the exosomes that the body generates. While healthy cells usually produce exosomes in small quantities, cancer cells produce many more. But it was previously thought that these would be so diluted in the blood that they would be hard to detect. For Professor Girault, the discovery of large quantities of cancer cell markers in blood exosomes raises numerous questions about signaling between cancer , which until now were not thought to communicate over longer distances within the body.

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