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Category: Biotechnology

RMIT University in Melbourne has worked with a medical device company and a neurosurgeon to successfully create a 3D printed vertebral cage for a patient with severe back pain.

Cornell biomedical engineers have developed specialized white blood cells - dubbed "super natural killer cells" - that seek out cancer cells in lymph nodes with only one purpose: destroy them. This breakthrough halts the onset of metastasis, according to a new Cornell study published this month in the journal Biomaterials.

Plant Breeding Institute's Principal Research Fellow, Associate Professor Harbans Bariana, is demonstrating the issue of wheat rust.
A gene that can prevent some of the most important wheat diseases has been identified--creating the potential to save more than a billion dollars in lost production in Australia alone each year.

While there are no cures for neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, many researchers believe that one could be found in neural stem cells. Unfortunately, scientists do not yet have a full understanding of how these cells behave and differentiate, which has put a roadblock in the path to potential life-saving treatments.

University of Birmingham (UK) scientists have created a plant that rejects its own pollen or pollen of close relatives, according to research published in the journal Science today (5 November 2015).

Scientists have shown for the first time that tumour DNA shed into the bloodstream can be used to track cancers in real time as they evolve and respond to treatment, according to a new Cancer Research UK study published in the journal Nature Communications today (Wednesday).

A DNA sample thought to show prehistoric trade in cereals is most likely from modern wheat, according to new research led by the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology.

A team of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has shown that a method they developed to improve the usefulness and precision of the most common form of the gene-editing tools CRISPR-Cas9 RNA-guided nucleases can be applied to Cas9 enzymes from other bacterial sources. In a paper receiving advance online publication in Nature Biotechnology, the team reports evolving a variant of SaCas9 - the Cas9 enzyme from the Streptococcus aureus bacteria - that recognizes a broader range of nucleotide sequences, allowing targeting of genomic sites previously inaccessible to CRISPR-Cas9 technology.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a nanoscale machine made of DNA that can randomly walk in any direction across bumpy surfaces. Future applications of such a DNA walker might include a cancer detector that could roam the human body searching for cancerous cells and tagging them for medical imaging or drug targeting.

Brent Opell, a professor of biological sciences in the College of Science and a Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate, collects a portion of a spider web.
A taut tug on the line signals the arrival of dinner, and the leggy spider dashes across the web to find a tasty squirming insect. The spider, known as an orb weaver, must perfectly execute this moment, from a lightning-fast reaction to an artfully spun web glistening with sticky glue.

The Brazilian lancehead is one of several South American pit vipers that produce venom that has proven to be a powerful blood coagulant.
A nanofiber hydrogel infused with snake venom may be the best material to stop bleeding quickly, according to Rice University scientists.

In a novel use of the CRISPR/Cas9 system, which can be deployed to switch genes off, researchers from Germany, the UK and Spain have developed a multiplexed screening approach to study and model cancer development in mice. The scientists mutated genes in the adult mouse liver uncovering their cancer-causing roles and determining which combinations of genes cooperate to cause liver cancer.

New research may revolutionize the slow, cumbersome and expensive process of detecting the antibodies that can help with the diagnosis of infectious and auto-immune diseases.
New research may revolutionize the slow, cumbersome and expensive process of detecting the antibodies that can help with the diagnosis of infectious and auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and HIV. An international team of researchers have designed and synthetized a nanometer-scale DNA "machine" whose customized modifications enable it to recognize a specific target antibody. Their new approach, which they described this month in Angewandte Chemie, promises to support the development of rapid, low-cost antibody detection at the point-of-care, eliminating the treatment initiation delays and increasing healthcare costs associated with current techniques.

EPFL scientists have developed a new DNA stain that can be used to image living cells.

This hybrid device integrates a microfluidic chip for sample preparation and an optofluidic chip for optical detection of individual molecules of viral RNA.
A team led by researchers at UC Santa Cruz has developed chip-based technology for reliable detection of Ebola virus and other viral pathogens. The system uses direct optical detection of viral molecules and can be integrated into a simple, portable instrument for use in field situations where rapid, accurate detection of Ebola infections is needed to control outbreaks.

The ultra-stable properties of the proteins that allow deep-diving whales to remain active while holding their breath for up to two hours could help Rice University biochemist John Olson and his colleagues finish a 20-year quest to create lifesaving synthetic blood for human trauma patients.

The CRISPR-Cas9 system has been in the limelight mainly as a revolutionary genome engineering tool used to modify specific gene sequences within the vast sea of an organism's DNA. Cas9, a naturally occurring protein in the immune system of certain bacteria, acts like a pair of molecular scissors to precisely cut or edit specific sections of DNA. More recently, however, scientists have also begun to use CRISPR-Cas9 variants as gene regulation tools to reversibly turn genes on or off at whim.

Advances in 3-D printing have led to new ways to make bone and some other relatively simple body parts that can be implanted in patients. But finding an ideal bio-ink has stalled progress toward printing more complex tissues with versatile functions -- tissues that can be loaded with pharmaceuticals, for example. Now scientists, reporting in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, have developed a silk-based ink that could open up new possibilities toward that goal.

Scientists have developed a method, using a double layer of lipids, which facilitates the assembly of DNA origami units, bringing us one-step closer to DNA nanomachines.
Scientists have been studying ways to use synthetic DNA as a building block for smaller and faster devices. DNA has the advantage of being inherently "coded". Each DNA strand is formed of one of four "codes" that can link to only one complementary code each, thus binding two DNA strands together. Scientists are using this inherent coding to manipulate and "fold" DNA to form "origami nanostructures": extremely small two- and three-dimensional shapes that can then be used as construction material to build nanodevices such as nanomotors for use in targeted drug delivery inside the body.

The study, published today at Nature Methods (the most prestigious journal for the presentation of results in methods development), proposes the use of two plant protein epitopes, named inntags, as the most innocuous and stable tagging tools in the study of physical and functional interactions of proteins.

A UCSF-led team has developed a technique to build tiny models of human tissues, called organoids, more precisely than ever before using a process that turns human cells into a biological equivalent of LEGO bricks. These mini-tissues in a dish can be used to study how particular structural features of tissue affect normal growth or go awry in cancer. They could be used for therapeutic drug screening and to help teach researchers how to grow whole human organs.

This is a composite image of a growing experimental mustard plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, along with a luminescence-based image of the root system of the same plant.
Plants form a vast network of below-ground roots that search soil for needed resources. The structure and function of this root network can be highly adapted to particular environments such as desert soils where plants like Mesquite develop tap roots capable of digging 50 meters deep to capture precious water resources. Excavation of root systems reveals these kinds of adaptations but is laborious, time consuming, and does not provide information on how growing roots behave.

After a decade's work a team led by Stanford bioengineer Christina Smolke succeeded in finding more than 20 genes from five different organisms and engineering them into the genome of...
For thousands of years, people have used yeast to ferment wine, brew beer and leaven bread.

BiotechnologyAugust 5, 2015 04:50 AM

Two single computer-model modules are used by BioLEGO to characterize a two-step/two-organism fermentation process. Any two building blocks can be used, assuming they are represented in compatible model formats.
The composition of feedstock biomass and the selection of fermenting microorganisms are critical factors in biorefinery design. Once biomass feedstock is identified, depending on local conditions, biorefinery designers need to select optimal fermenting organisms. Using organism communities has theoretical advantages but also leads to problems in the context of species competition, process design and modelling, in turn resulting in insufficient process control. This study presents the optimization control that is possible when using a serial fermentation approach. Using one organism after the other - in serial fermentation, rather than in a community configuration allows maximal process control, while benefiting from organism diversity to maximize feedstock conversion rates. This study introduces a freely available web-based application, BioLEGO, which provides access to computer-assisted single and two-step multiorganism fermentation process design. BioLEGO also supports the evaluation of possible biomass-to-product yields for biomass mixes or general media and recommends media changes to increase the process efficacy. BioLEGO is accessible via a simple and intuitive user interface.

The concept of walking on water might sound supernatural, but in fact it is a quite natural phenomenon. Many small living creatures leverage water's surface tension to maneuver themselves around. One of the most complex maneuvers, jumping on water, is achieved by a species of semi-aquatic insects called water striders that not only skim along water's surface but also generate enough upward thrust with their legs to launch themselves airborne from it.

Some DNA sequences appear multiple times in the genome. Here, an RNA guide probe labels repetitive regions in the nucleus of a Xenopus laevis sperm.
University of California, Berkeley, researchers have discovered a much cheaper and easier way to target a hot new gene editing tool, CRISPR-Cas9, to cut or label DNA.

CRISPR/Cas9 is a gene-editing tool that can target a particular segment of DNA in living cells and replace it with a new genetic sequence.
Researchers at Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego, have developed a new user-friendly resource to accompany the powerful gene editing tool called CRISPR/Cas9, which has been widely adopted to make precise, targeted changes in DNA. This breakthrough has the potential to facilitate new discoveries in gene therapies and basic genetics research. The research was published in the July 13 issue of Nature Methods.

A simple, lower-cost new method for DNA profiling of human hairs developed by the University of Adelaide should improve opportunities to link criminals to serious crimes.

This is a graphic showing a process for producing large numbers of activated, customized T cells using magnetic nanoparticles and a column.
In recent years, researchers have hotly pursued immunotherapy, a promising form of treatment that relies on harnessing and training the body's own immune system to better fight cancer and infection. Now, results of a study led by Johns Hopkins investigators suggests that a device composed of a magnetic column paired with custom-made magnetic nanoparticles may hold a key to bringing immunotherapy into widespread and successful clinical use. A summary of the research, conducted in mouse and human cells, appears online July 14 in the journal ACS Nano.

A group led by Assistant Professor Dan Ohtan Wang from Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) in Japan successfully visualized RNA behavior and its response to drugs within the living tissue brain of live mice by labeling specific RNA molecules with fluorescent probes. Their study, published in Nucleic Acids Research, can potentially lead to faster, and more accurate screening processes for the discovery and development of new drugs.

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