Environment


Donald Voigt, chief scientist at the WAIS Divide Camp, examines an ice core.
A team of U.S. ice-coring scientists and engineers in Antarctica, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), have recovered from the ice sheet a record of past climate and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that extends back 68,000 years.

Biology


The eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus)
Most mammals, including humans, see in stereo and hear in stereo. But whether they can also smell in stereo is the subject of a long-standing scientific controversy. Now, a new study shows definitively that the common mole (Scalopus aquaticus) – the same critter that disrupts the lawns and gardens of homeowners throughout the eastern United States, Canada and Mexico – relies on stereo sniffing to locate its prey. The paper that describes this research, "Stereo and Serial Sniffing Guide Navigation to an Odor Source in a Mammals," was published on Feb. 5 in the journal Nature Communications.

Biotechnology

The behavior of cells strongly depends on their environment. If they are to be researched an manipulated, it is crucial to embed them in suitable surroundings. Aleksandr Ovsianikov is developing a laser system, which allows living cells to be incorporated into intricate taylor-made structures, similar to biological tissue, in which cells are surrounded by the extracellular matrix. This technology is particularly important for artificially growing biotissue, for finding new drugs or for stem cell research. Ovsianikov has now been awarded the ERC Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) of approximately 1.5 million Euros.

Biotechnology

Many medically minded researchers are in hot pursuit of designs that will allow drug-carrying nanoparticles to navigate tissues and the interiors of cells, but University of Michigan engineers have discovered that these particles have another hurdle to overcome: escaping the bloodstream.

Molecular & Cell Biology


Mitochondria (bright areas) are visible in these stained fruit fly ovary cells.
Diseases from a mutation in one genome are complicated enough, but some illnesses arise from errant interactions between two genomes: the DNA in the nucleus and in the mitochondria. Scientists want to know more about how such genomic disconnects cause disease. In a step in that direction, scientists at Brown University and Indiana University have traced one such incompatibility in fruit flies down to the level of individual nucleotide mutations and describe how the genetic double whammy makes the flies sick.




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