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Iowa State Engineers Develop Hybrid Technology to Create Biorenewable Nylon

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Iowa State's Zengyi Shao and Jean-Philippe Tessonnier are combining the tools of biology and chemistry to create new biorenewable products. Their hybrid conversion technology is described in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

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EMBARGOED

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 10-Feb-2016 1:00 PM EST

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Programming Highlights for the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology will hold its annual meeting April 2 – 6 at the San Diego Convention Center. Below are the scientific symposia highlights.

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Scientists Take Key Step Toward Custom-Made Nanoscale Chemical Factories

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Scientists have for the first time reengineered a building block of a geometric nanocompartment that occurs naturally in bacteria. The new design provides an entirely new functionality that greatly expands the potential for these compartments to serve as custom-made chemical factories.

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Mayo Clinic Researchers Extend Lifespan by as Much as 35 Percent in Mice

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have shown that senescent cells – cells that no longer divide and accumulate with age – negatively impact health and shorten lifespan by as much as 35 percent in normal mice. The results, which appear today in Nature, demonstrate that clearance of senescent cells delays tumor formation, preserves tissue and organ function, and extends lifespan without observed adverse effects.

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Delivering Genes Across the Blood-Brain Barrier

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Caltech biologists have modified a harmless virus in such a way that it can successfully enter the adult mouse brain through the bloodstream and deliver genes to cells of the nervous system. The virus could help researchers map the intricacies of the brain and holds promise for the delivery of novel therapeutics to address diseases such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's. In addition, the screening approach the researchers developed to identify the virus could be used to make additional vectors capable of targeting cells in other organs.

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Acoustic Tweezers Provide Much Needed Pluck for 3-D Bioprinting

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Researchers, including Carnegie Mellon University President Subra Suresh and collaborators Tony Jun Huang from the Pennsylvania State University and Ming Dao from MIT, have demonstrated that acoustic tweezers can be used to non-invasively move and manipulate single cells along three dimensions, providing a promising new method for 3-D bioprinting.

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Biologists Develop Method for Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing

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A team of biologists and biomedical researchers at UC San Diego has developed a new method to determine if bacteria are susceptible to antibiotics within a few hours, an advance that could slow the appearance of drug resistance and allow doctors to more rapidly identify the appropriate treatment for patients with life threatening bacterial infections.

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What is Tissue Engineering?

The latest video in NIBIB's 60 Seconds of Science video series explains what tissue engineering is and how it works.

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Microbes Take Their Vitamins – for the Good of Science

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Scientists have made a “vitamin mimic” – a molecule that looks and acts just like a natural vitamin to bacteria – that offers a new window into the inner workings of living microbes.

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GenomeSpace “Recipes” Help Biologists Interpret Genomic Data

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and collaborators developed GenomeSpace, a cloud-based, biologist-friendly platform that connects more than 20 bioinformatics software packages and resources for genomic data analysis. The team is now developing and crowdsourcing “recipes” — step-by-step workflows — to better enable non-programming researchers to interpret their genomic data. The work is described in a paper published January 18, 2016 in Nature Methods.

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Elisa Konofagou’s New DARPA Grant Advances Work in Focused Ultrasound

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Columbia Engineering Professor Elisa Konofagou won a $3.33 million DARPA grant to develop a new way to use focused ultrasound for stimulation of peripheral nerves that will ultimately be able to control organ function. The grant is part of DARPA’s new Electrical Prescriptions program aimed at developing novel technologies to improve physical and mental health using targeted stimulation of the peripheral nervous system to exploit the body’s natural ability to quickly and effectively heal itself.

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BESC Study Seeks Nature’s Best Biocatalysts for Biofuel Production

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Researchers are looking beyond the usual suspects in the search for microbes that can efficiently break down inedible plant matter for conversion to biofuels. A new comparative study from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory-based center finds the natural abilities of unconventional bacteria could help boost the efficiency of cellulosic biofuel production.

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Robotic Glove Invented by NUS Researchers Helps Patients Restore Hand Movements

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A research team from the National University of Singapore has developed a new lightweight and smart rehabilitation device called EsoGlove to help patients who have lost their hand functions due to injuries or nerve-related conditions to restore their hand movements.

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Mines Researchers Develop Injectable Microwheels to Deliver Fast, Effective Treatment for Blood Clots

Research conducted by members of the Colorado School of Mines Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering demonstrates microscale biomedical devices shaped like wheels can be injected into the body and effectively “roll” to treat areas in need – such as arterial blockages.

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Dogfighting Bees Perform Aerial Combat Right at Researcher’s Front Door

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Simple consumer-grade equipment was used to study the combat flight behaviors of carpenter bees right at the researcher’s home.

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Federal Funding for Biomedical Research Rises $2 Billion

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) visited Northwestern University's Chicago campus on Jan. 4 to announce the $32.08 billion in federal funding for the National Institutes of Health in fiscal year 2016 -- a 6.64 percent year-over-year increase.

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Single Molecule Detection of Contaminants, Explosives or Diseases Now Possible

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A technique to combine the ultrasensitivity of surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) with a slippery surface invented by Penn State researchers will make it feasible to detect single molecules of a number of chemical and biological species from gaseous, liquid or solid samples.

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The Leonard C. Goodman Institute for Investigative Reporting Is Now Accepting Submissions

The deadline for this round of proposals is January 15, 2016. Candidates will be notified of decisions by the end of February 2016. The Institute pays a competitive rate--and covers expenses--for investigative reporting that advances social and economic justice. All stories are published in In These Times magazine and on InTheseTimes.com.

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New Patent on Synthetic Molecules Brings Researchers Closer to Therapeutic Approach for Gum Disease

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University of Louisville researchers recently received a patent on a synthetic biochemical compound and its variants, moving science closer to a treatment for gum disease.