Slow and Steady Drug Delivery Keeps Biomedical Devices Kicking

Researchers from MIT have developed a novel method to locally deliver drugs and prevent immune activity around implanted biomedical devices over several months. The method is based on the formation of crystals of immunosuppressive drugs, which can be included in devices and slowly dissolve over the course of months. While this method substantially increases the length of time tested devices can function, difficulty of crystallizing certain drugs or introducing them into specific devices may prove to be a challenge in adapting this method to other systems. Even so, for many cases, this method will likely substantially reduce the difficulty of maintaining device stability for extended periods of time. Continue reading Slow and Steady Drug Delivery Keeps Biomedical Devices Kicking

Genetic tools create new opportunities for decoding protein structures

Proteins are made up of linear sequences of amino acids but understanding how these amino acids fold to form a three-dimensional structure is notoriously difficult. Knowing what a protein looks like in 3D is often necessary for understanding how it functions and how it can be manipulated. For instance, understanding how proteins such as antibodies bind to viruses like the flu would enable scientists to … Continue reading Genetic tools create new opportunities for decoding protein structures

Human endurance is not limitless

Imagine you’re running a race. But this is no normal race—this is a 140-day trek from Huntington Beach, CA to Washington, D.C. Welcome to Race Across the USA, a seemingly-superhuman feat that provides the perfect laboratory to study human endurance. After all, extreme athletes push their bodies to the proverbial “limit”—but what, exactly, is this limit? That’s what a new study published in Science Advances … Continue reading Human endurance is not limitless

So what color was that dinosaur, actually?

Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, Saber-toothed Tiger…as kids, we probably imagined these creatures using a variety of crayon colors. But what if we could figure out what color these creatures actually were? A scientific technique developed by Roy Wogelius involving the Interdisciplinary Centre for Ancient Life at the University of Manchester may paint the ancient world in its truest form. Paleontologists use information contained in fossils to try … Continue reading So what color was that dinosaur, actually?

Conductors vs. Insulators: A Quantum Perspective

Electricity is created by electrons flowing through materials. Materials that allow electrons to travel through, like copper wires, are called conductors, whereas materials that inhibit electron flow, like rubber, are called insulators. However, the models behind our understanding have been incomplete. To understand which materials permit electron movement, scientists have investigated the patterns of electron motion in materials. Electrons do not behave like macroscopic objects. … Continue reading Conductors vs. Insulators: A Quantum Perspective

Pigs & Immortality: A Step Towards Reversing Death

Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine have developed a system capable of sustaining certain aspects of brain function for several hours, even if the host animal has been dead for up to four hours beforehand. While this by no means suggests that complete restoration of neurological function is on the horizon, it reveals the surprising resilience of post-mortem brain tissue, introduces a promising technique that could allow scientists to study certain biological functions outside of live animals, and highlights the important ethical considerations that must be discussed before any potential complete resuscitation of neurological activity is achieved. Continue reading Pigs & Immortality: A Step Towards Reversing Death

‘Ant bridge’-inspired nanoparticle assembly fixes broken electrical circuits

Colonies of social insects are capable of self-organizing and accomplishing complex tasks through individual interactions. For example, to march across large gaps, ants grip the bodies of each other, forming a living bridge that allows the colonies to reach the other side. Inspired by this swarm behavior of ants, scientists from the Chinese University of Hong Kong developed a nanoparticle self-assembly system that can fix … Continue reading ‘Ant bridge’-inspired nanoparticle assembly fixes broken electrical circuits

No, It’s Not Just You: Why time “speeds up” as we get older

How a clock measures time and how you perceive it are quite different. As we grow older, it can often feel like time goes by faster and faster. This speeding up of subjective time with age is well documented by psychologists, but there is no consensus on the cause. In a paper published this month, Professor Adrian Bejan presents an argument based on the physics … Continue reading No, It’s Not Just You: Why time “speeds up” as we get older