With such ambitious goals as helping cure cancer and eradicating pervasive disease, some of the most talented scientists in the country from the emerging field of synthetic biology are breaking new ground at Northwestern University.
Berkeley Lab researchers led the development of a new technique for identifying gene enhancers - sequences of DNA that act to amplify the expression of a specific gene - in the genomes of humans and other mammals. Called SIF-seq, this new technique complements existing genomic tools, such as ChIP-seq, and offers additional benefits.
A new microfluidic method for evaluating drugs commonly used for preventing heart attacks has found that while aspirin can prevent dangerous blood clots in some at-risk patients, it may not be effective in all patients with narrowed arteries. The study, which involved 14 human subjects, used a device that simulated blood flowing through narrowed coronary arteries to assess effects of anti-clotting drugs.
As stem cells continue their gradual transition from the lab to the clinic, a research group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has discovered a new way to make large concentrations of skeletal muscle cells and muscle progenitors from human stem cells.
Scientists have produced an antibiotic, whose biological activity can be controlled with light. Thanks to the robust diarylethene photoswitch, the antimicrobial effect of the peptide mimetic can be applied in a spatially and temporally specific manner.
The compound uses natural enzymes instead of the traditional chemical reagents, is biodegradable, and involves no environmental impact. Most important, it is easily applicable in the production process and requires no additional investment.
When a heart gets damaged, such as during a major heart attack, there's no easy fix. But scientists working on a way to repair the vital organ have now engineered tissue that closely mimics natural heart muscle that beats, not only in a lab dish but also when implanted into animals.
As some countries and companies roll out new rules to limit animal testing in pharmaceutical products designed for people, scientists are stepping in with a new way to test therapeutic drug candidates and determine drug safety and drug interactions - without using animals.
The University of California, Berkeley, and UC San Francisco are launching the Innovative Genomics Initiative (to lead a revolution in genetic engineering based on a new technology already generating novel strategies for gene therapy and the genetic study of disease.
In response to drug-resistant superbugs that send millions of people to hospitals around the world, scientists are building tiny, 'molecular drill bits' that kill bacteria by bursting through their protective cell walls.
Capitalizing on the ability of an organism to evolve in response to punishment from a hostile environment, scientists have coaxed the model bacterium Escherichia coli to dramatically resist ionizing radiation and, in the process, reveal the genetic mechanisms that make the feat possible.