Posts Tagged ‘biotechnology’

New technique for watching proteins in action in intact cells

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-01-2011

Proteins are literally the movers and the shakers of the intracellular world. If DNA is the film director, then they are the actors. And much can be learned about cell function – and dysfunction – by watching proteins on the move.

Until now, scientists have only been able to see this process indirectly. Now researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., have come up with a promising new technique that uses a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) to view proteins tagged with gold nanoparticles in whole, intact cells.
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Genomes, Phenomes and Personalized Medicine

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-26-2011

George Church, who it may be argued is the father of personalized genomics, spoke at TEDMED about the future of personal genomics and what research has yielded so far. Ironically, when he gave this talk one year ago in October of 2010, a google search of the term “synthetic personal genomes” did not yield any results (according to Dr. Church). The same search done today returns over 900,000 results! Obviously George continues to be light years ahead of the crowd. Have a look at the video below and see for yourself.

Why depressed animals are a reason to celebrate

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-25-2011

Washington State University researchers have taken a promising step toward creating an animal model for decoding the specific brain circuits involved in depression. By electrically stimulating a brain region central to an animal’s primary emotions, graduate student Jason Wright and his advisor Jaak Panksepp saw rats exhibit a variety of behaviors associated with a depressed, negative mood, or affect.

“We might now have a model that allows us to actually know where to look in the brain for changes relevant to depression, and we can monitor how activity in these regions change during states of negative affect and the restoration of positive affect,” says Wright. “There are no other models out there like this.”

The researchers caution that their work comes with a variety of caveats and that there are still many factors that need to be evaluated.

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Worm sperm and other creepy crawlers

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-19-2011

worm sperm magnified 5,000x

For better and for worse, human health depends on a cell’s motility –– the ability to crawl from place to place. In every human body, millions of cells –are crawling around doing mostly good deeds ––– though if any of those crawlers are cancerous, watch out.

“This is not some horrible sci-fi movie come true but, instead, normal cells carrying out their daily duties,” said Florida State University cell biologist Tom Roberts. For 35 years he has studied the mechanical and molecular means by which amorphous single cells purposefully propel themselves throughout the body in amoeboid-like fashion ––absent muscles, bones or brains.

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How an iPhone a day keeps the doctor away

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-04-2011

In a feat of technology tweaking that would rival MacGyver, a team of researchers from the University of California, Davis has transformed everyday iPhones into medical-quality imaging and chemical detection devices. With materials that cost about as much as a typical app, the decked-out smartphones are able to use their heightened senses to perform detailed microscopy and spectroscopy. The team will present their findings at the Optical Society’s (OSA) Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics (FiO) 2011, taking place in San Jose, Calif. Oct. 16-20.

The enhanced iPhones could help doctors and nurses diagnose blood diseases in developing nations where many hospitals and rural clinics have limited or no access to laboratory equipment. In addition to bringing new sensing capabilities where they are needed most, the modified phones are also able transmit the real-time data to colleagues around the globe for further analysis and diagnosis.

“Field workers could put a blood sample on a slide, take a picture, and send it to specialists to analyze,” says Sebastian Wachsmann-Hogiu, a physicist with UC Davis’ Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the Center for Biophotonics, Science and Technology, and lead author of the research to be presented at FiO.

Read more from the Optical Society…