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Mini microscope for studies of brain disease in living mice

The mini microscope measures 5 cubic centimeters -- smaller than a US quarter. Credit: Arvind Pathak Working with mice, a team of Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers has developed a relatively inexpensive, portable mini microscope that could improve scientists' ability to image the effects of cancer, stroke, Alzheimer's disease and other conditions in the brains of…

Just add heat to open this tiny box

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have designed two types of nanocubes whose building blocks, hexaphenylbenzene derivative molecules (represented as red and blue), can automatically combine and scramble repeatedly based on the temperature of their environment. This ability comes from the different temperature stabilities of the two cubes. Credit: Zhan et al. 2019 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09495-1…

New cellulose-based material gives three sensors in one

PhD student Shaobo Han with the sensor that can measure pressure, temperature and humidity -- at the same time. Credit: Thor Balkhed Cellulose soaked in a carefully designed polymer mixture acts as a sensor to measure pressure, temperature and humidity -- at the same time. The measurements are completely independent of each other. The sensor…

New Yorkers brace for self-cloning Asian longhorned tick

The new species, identified last summer in Westchester and Staten island, is increasing and spreading quickly. Credit: Center for Disease Control and Prevention Staten Island residents have another reason to apply insect repellent and obsessively check for ticks this spring and summer: the population of a new, potentially dangerous invasive pest known as the Asian…

A key to soybean cyst nematode growth identified

Female soybean cyst nematode showing seam cells in blue. Credit: Nathan Schroeder, University of Illinois The soybean cyst nematode, one of the crop's most destructive pests, isn't like most of its wormy relatives. Whereas the vast majority of nematodes look like the microscopic worms they are, the female soybean cyst nematode shape-shifts into a tiny…

Technique uses well-known dye to watch amyloid plaques in the brain

Super-resolution images of the remodeling of amyloid-beta fibrils by epi-gallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Scale bar: 500 nm. Credit: Kevin Spehar, Tianben Ding, Matthew D. Lew, and Jan Bieschke While amyloid plaques have long been closely associated with mechanisms driving Alzheimer's disease, visualizing how amyloid proteins assemble continues to prove difficult. The nanometer-sized amyloid fibrils are only…

Offspring of older mothers are more responsive to aging interventions

A female Brachionus manjavacas rotifer, carrying four large eggs. The hair-like cilia at the top are used for swimming and filter feeding, while the tail-like 'foot,' ending in two small toes, is used for defense and attachment. Credit: Michael Shribak and Kristin Gribble Advanced maternal age at the time of giving birth is known to…

Biologists find a way to boost intestinal stem cell populations

MIT biologists found that intestinal stem cell populations declined in aged mice (right), compared to younger mice (left). Messenger RNA encoding a protein associated with intestinal stem cells is labeled in black. MIT biologists found that intestinal stem cell populations declined in aged mice (right), compared to younger mice (left). Messenger RNA encoding a protein…

Galápagos islands have nearly 10 times more alien marine species than once thought

The bryozoan Amathia verticillata. Known in other parts of the world for fouling pipes and fishing gear and killing seagrasses, its discovery in the Galapagos is especially concerning for scientists. Credit: Dan Minchin/Marine Organism Investigations Over 50 non-native species have found their way to the Galápagos Islands, almost 10 times more than scientists previously thought,…

Tiny optical elements could one day replace traditional refractive lenses

Northwestern University researchers have demonstrated a versatile imaging platform based on fully reconfigurable metalenses made from silver nanoparticles and a polymer. During a single imaging session, the device can evolve from a single-focus lens to a multi-focal lens that can produce more than one image at any programmable 3D position. Credit: Northwestern University A Northwestern…

Making waves: Researchers shed light on how cilia work

The body motion is cancelled and basis of the cilium is fixed. The blue line corresponds to the mathematical description of the position of the cilium. The red circle corresponds to the basis of the cilium. The video is slowed by a factor of 40. Credit: Philip Bayly Human bodies have some built-in systems to…

Shape shifting mirror opens a vista for the future

New glue-free deformable mirror. Credit: JTEC Corporation A team of researchers from JTEC Corporation and Osaka University developed a bimorph deformable mirror that allows for precise shape modification and usage under vacuum, a world first. Because piezo actuators and a mirror substrate in conventional deformable mirrors were bonded with epoxy glues, this caused problems such…

Feather mites may help clean birds’ plumage, study shows

Feather mites, like those depicted here on a wing feather of an Eastern Bluebird, are harmless, possibly even beneficial to their host birds. Credit: Heather Proctor Feather mites help to remove bacteria and fungi from the feathers of birds, according to a new study by University of Alberta biologists. In fact, the relationship between these…

Hubble spots flock of cosmic ducks

This is a Hubble image of Messier 11. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, P. Dobbie et al. This star-studded image shows us a portion of Messier 11, an open star cluster in the southern constellation of Scutum (the Shield). Messier 11 is also known as the Wild Duck Cluster, as its brightest stars form a "V"…

Need to increase diversity within genetic data sets

Current polygenic scores are significantly better in predicting the risk of common diseases for people of European ancestry than those of African ancestry. Credit: Susanna M. Hamilton, Broad Communications Polygenic scores can predict a person's risk for conditions like coronary artery disease, breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes (T2D) with great accuracy, even in patients…

Scientists find brain mechanism that naturally combats overeating

Activation of hD2R neurons, pictured here, prompts mice to decrease their food intake. Credit: Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at The Rockefeller University Food is, generally speaking, a good thing. In addition to being quite tasty, it is also necessary for survival. That's why animals have evolved robust physiological systems that attract them to food and…

Odd reaction creates a stir in the lab

Rice University chemists who discovered that chemicals used in Billups-Birch reductions of carbon nanotubes react with the white PTFE stir bars, turning them black. They recommend using glass stir bars, like the one in the middle, for such reductions. Credit: Brandon Martin/Rice University The stirrers that mix cream into your coffee probably don't make much…

New gene essential for making ears of corn

A normal corn plant (left) and a barren stalk2 (ba2) plant (right). Plants with a mutation in the ba2 gene cannot grow ears, hence the name barren stalk. Credit: University of Missouri A team of scientists led by University of Missouri maize geneticist Paula McSteen has identified a gene essential for forming the ears in…

Old for new: Using ancient genetic variation to supercharge wheat

This is Dr. Ryan Johnson in wheat field in Mexico. Credit: Earlham Institute Wheat is responsible for half of global calories consumed either directly or as animal feed and we need to make a lot more of it in the coming decades. Now, an important paper marks a step change in how breeders might approach…

Quantum optical cooling of nanoparticles

A tightly focused laser field traps a nanoparticle between two highly reflecting mirrors, i.e. an optical cavity. Preferential scattering along this optical resonator allows to induce cooling of the nanoparticle motion in all three directions. Credit: © Aspelmeyer group/University of Vienna One important requirement to see quantum effects is to remove all thermal energy from…

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