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Newswise SciWire
Thursday, November 30, 2017

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Science News


GBSI to Present at ASCB|EMBO 2017 in Philadelphia December 4 and 5

Global Biological Standards Institute (GBSI) will introduce a new cell authentication training modules and videos to be available online for use by students, post-doctoral scholars, research faculty, educators and education administrators. The materi...

– Global Biological Standards Institute (GBSI)


Movies Wield Powerful Influence on Drinking Habits of 10- to 15-Year-Olds

Early adolescence is a high-risk period for alcohol experimentation and initiation. Adolescent drinking is linked to exposure to alcohol use in the media. This study examined the influence that movie portrayals of drinking may have on the onset of dr...

– Research Society on Alcoholism

Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research

Embargo expired on 29-Nov-2017 at 10:00 ET

Scientists Create First Semi-Synthetic Organism that Stores and Retrieves Unnatural Information

This “semi-synthetic” strain of E. coli is the first to both contain unnatural bases in its DNA and use the bases to instruct cells to make a new protein.

– Scripps Research Institute

Nature, Nov. 2017; GM060005; GM118178; NSF/DGE-1346837

Embargo expired on 29-Nov-2017 at 13:00 ET

In Defense of Fruitcake, Weather-Hunger Link, High Protein Soybean, and More in the Food Science News Source

Click here to go to the Food Science News Source

– Newswise

Mass of Warm Rock Rising Beneath New England, Rutgers Study Suggests

Slowly but steadily, an enormous mass of warm rock is rising beneath part of New England, although a major volcanic eruption isn’t likely for millions of years, a Rutgers University-led study suggests. The research is unprecedented in its scope and...

– Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Geology; Rutgers Today

Watching a Quantum Material Lose Its Stripes

In quantum materials, periodic stripe patterns can be formed by electrons coupled with lattice distortions. To capture the extremely fast dynamics of how such atomic-scale stripes melt and form, Berkeley Lab scientists used femtosecond-scale laser pu...

– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Science Advances, Nov. 24, 2017

Theory of the Evolution of Sexes Tested with Algae

The varied sex lives of a type of green algae have enabled a University of Adelaide researcher to test a theory of why there are males and females.

– University of Adelaide

Ecology and Evolution

Getting a Better Handle on Methane Emissions From Livestock

Cattle, swine and poultry contribute a hefty portion to the average American’s diet, but raising all this livestock comes at a cost to the environment: The industry produces a lot of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Just how much gas the animals r...

– American Chemical Society (ACS)

Environmental Science & Technology

To Improve Dipstick Diagnostic and Environmental Tests, Just Add Tape

Simple paper-strip testing has the potential to tell us quickly what’s in water, and other liquid samples from food, the environment and bodies — but current tests don’t handle solid samples well. Now researchers have developed a way to make th...

– American Chemical Society (ACS)

ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

A Transistor of Graphene Nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are...

– Empa Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology

Nature Communications 8, Article number: 633 (2017)

Eruption Clues: UNH Researchers Create Snapshot of Volcano Plumbing

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire are using scientific sleuthing to better understand the journey of magma in Mount Etna, to create a more accurate picture of the volcano’s plumbing system and determine how quickly the magma rises to t...

– University of New Hampshire

Geochemical Perspectives Letters, Sept. 28, 2017

Scaling Deep Learning for Science

Using the Titan supercomputer, a research team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed an evolutionary algorithm capable of generating custom neural networks that match or exceed the performance of handcrafted artificial intelligence systems. ...

– Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Kansas State University Research Creates Way to Protect Pigs From PRRS During Reproduction

The latest work from Raymond "Bob" Rowland, Kansas State University professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, is helping to eradicate the devastating PRRS virus.

– Kansas State University

Nature Scientific Reports, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-13794-2

includes video

Single-Molecule DNA Sequencing Advances Could Enable Faster, More Cost-Effective Genetic Screening

University of Colorado Boulder researchers are developing new techniques for faster, more cost-effective single-molecule DNA sequencing that could have transformative impacts on genetic screening.

– University of Colorado Boulder

ACS Nano; Journal of the American Chemical Society

includes video

‘Magnetoelectric’ Material Shows Promise as Memory for Electronics

Smartphones and computers wouldn’t be nearly as useful without room for lots of apps, music and videos. Devices tend to store that information in two ways: through electric fields (think of a flash drive) or through magnetic fields (like a computer...

– University of Wisconsin-Madison

Nature Communications, November 2017

Sorry, Grumpy Cat—Study Finds Dogs Are Brainier Than Cats

The first study to actually count the number of cortical neurons in the brains of a number of carnivores, including cats and dogs, has found that dogs possess significantly more neurons than cats.

– Vanderbilt University

Frontiers in Neuroanatomy

includes video

Reaching for Neutron Stars

A cross-disciplinary research team from Washington University in St. Louis discovered both a framework to predict where neutrons will inhabit a nucleus and a way to predict the skin thickness of a nucleus.

– Washington University in St. Louis

Physics Review Letters

Loss of Breeding Grounds Hits a Sad Note for Common Songbird

A Tulane University researcher has found that a decline in the number of wood thrushes is probably due to deforestation in Central America.

– Tulane University

Scientific Reports

How a Biophysical Simulation Method Might Accelerate Drug Target Discovery

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have developed an approach to overcome a major stumbling block in testing new drug targets. The research is reported in a Nov. 24 paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

– American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)

Journal of Biological Chemistry, Nov-2017

“Swiss Army Knife” Nanovaccine Carries Multiple Weapons to Battle Tumors

Researchers at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering have developed a synergistic cancer nanovaccine packing DNA and RNA sequences that modulate the immune response, along with anti-tumor antigens, into one small nanoparticl...

– National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

Nat Comm, Nov-2017

S&T’s Dam Simulation Program Saves Lives and Saves Taxpayers Nearly $50M

Already, 35 states and various federal agencies are using the DSS-WISE™ Lite capability free of charge. The system handled 3,115 dam-break flood simulations for 876 dams.

– Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate

Wearable Computing Ring Allows Users to Write Words and Numbers with Thumb

With the whirl of a thumb, Georgia Tech researchers have created technology that allows people to trace letters and numbers on their fingers and see the figures appear on a nearby computer screen. The system is triggered by a thumb ring outfitted wit...

– Georgia Institute of Technology

includes video

HADES Creates Alternate Reality to Mislead Hackers

Sandia researchers have created alternative realities to mislead cyberintruders and cast doubt upon their disclosures.

– Sandia National Laboratories

Researchers From Music and Engineering Team Up to Turn Big Data Into Sound

A unique collaboration between a music professor and an engineering professor at Virginia Tech will result in the creation of a new platform for data analysis that will make it possible to understand the significance of data by turning it into sound....

– Virginia Tech


Quantum Emitting Answer Might Lie in the Solution

Lead trihalide perovskite nanocrystals are promising candidates as light sources. Coupling quantum emitters with nanophotonic cavities can significantly boost efficiency, but this approach has not been explored with these nanocrystals. Now, researche...

– American Institute of Physics (AIP)

Applied Physics Letters

Embargo expired on 28-Nov-2017 at 11:00 ET

“Holy Grail” for Batteries: Solid-State Magnesium Battery a Big Step Closer

A team of Department of Energy (DOE) scientists at the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) has discovered the fastest magnesium-ion solid-state conductor, a major step towards making solid-state magnesium-ion batteries that are both ener...

– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Chemistry of Materials DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01772-1

Embargo expired on 28-Nov-2017 at 10:05 ET

Advances in MALDI Mass Spectrometry within Drug Discovery

SLAS Discovery marks the 30th anniversary of Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time of Flight (MALDI TOF), the soft ionization technique for analyzing non-volatile biomolecules using mass spectrometry, with a special issue showcasing 10 new...

– SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

SLAS Discovery

Leave a Buffer for Your Bumper: Study Contradicts Practice of Traffic Light Tailgating

Traditional thinking says the closer a car is to a traffic light and the car in front of it, the more likely that car will be to pass through the intersection before the light turns red again. Thanks to new research by Virginia Tech, drivers now have...

– Virginia Tech

New Journal of Physics, Volume 19, November 2017

NUS Researchers Achieve Significant Breakthrough in Topological Insulator Based Devices for Modern Spintronic Applications

The current induced magnetisation switching by spin-orbit torque (SOT) is an important ingredient for modern non-volatile magnetic devices such as magnetic random access memories and logic devices that are required for high performance data storage a...

– National University of Singapore

Nature Communications, 8 Nov 2017

ALMA Discovers Infant Stars Surprisingly Near Galaxy’s Supermassive Black Hole

ALMA has revealed the telltale signs of eleven low-mass stars forming perilously close — within three light-years — to the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole.

– National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Astrophysical Journal Letters, Nov-2017

Decoding the Molecular Mechanisms of Ovarian Cancer Progression

Researchers identify several lncRNAs that are linked to the ovarian cancer in a cohort of patients. These lncRNAs were reproducibly altered and are responsible for a shift in cellular function that contributes to the metastatic properties of the canc...

– Thomas Jefferson University

Nature Communications

UF Study: If Termites Eat Bait for One Day, They Die Within 90

Termites that feed on a well-known bait for one day are eventually doomed, which is good news for those who want to protect their property from the destructive pest, a University of Florida entomologist says.

– University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Journal of Economic Entomology

New Computer Model Sheds Light on Biological Events Leading to Sudden Cardiac Death

a powerful new computer model replicates the biological activity within the heart that precedes sudden cardiac death.

– Johns Hopkins University

PLOS Computational Biology, Nov-2017; HL105239

includes video

Researchers Trained Neural Networks to Be Fashion Designers (Sort Of)

Researchers from the University of California San Diego and Adobe Research have demonstrated how artificial intelligence and neural networks could one day create custom apparel designs to help retailers and apparel makers sell clothing to consumers b...

– University of California San Diego


Addition of Tin Boosts Nanoparticle’s Photoluminescence

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory have developed germanium nanoparticles with improved photoluminescence, making them potentially better materials for solar cells and imaging probes. The research team found that by addi...

– Ames Laboratory

Chemistry of Materials

There's a Deeper Fish in the Sea

A new fish species, the deepest in the ocean, was discovered and named by an international team of researchers. The team published a paper describing the Mariana snailfish this week in the journal Zootaxa.

– University of Washington

Zootaxa, Nov-2017

What Can Science Gain From Computers That Learn?

Researchers are grappling with increasingly large quantities of image-based data. Machine learning and deep learning offer researchers new ways to analyze images quickly and more efficiently than ever before. Scientists at multiple national laborato...

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

TRIUMF's (Ultra)Cool Experiment Fires Up

After a 4-year installation period at TRIUMF, the transpacific TUCAN collaboration reported the production of the first ultracold neutrons in Canada on Monday, Nov 13, 2017.


Robotics Lab Gives Students Real-World Industry Experience at Wichita State University

The Robotics and Automation Lab, part of Wichita State's National Institute for Aviation Research, gives students an opportunity to apply their knowledge to real industry problems.

– Wichita State University

High-Performance Computing Cuts Particle Collision Data Prep Time

For the first time, scientists have used high-performance computing (HPC) to reconstruct the data collected by a nuclear physics experiment—an advance that could dramatically reduce the time it takes to make detailed data available for scientific d...

– Brookhaven National Laboratory


A Series of Fortunate Events

Volcanism is sometimes like food poisoning, where the Earth spews forth unstable material. New research from Michigan Technological University, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and ETH Zurich shows that a significant pulse of volatile carbon was relea...

– Michigan Technological University

Nature Geoscience, Nov-2017; National Science Foundation, NSF-0835480

Embargo expired on 27-Nov-2017 at 11:00 ET

Scientists Identify Key Factors That Help Microbes Thrive In Harsh Environments

Three new studies by University of Maryland School of Medicine scientists have identified key factors that help microbes survive in harsh environments.

– University of Maryland Medical Center/School of Medicine

PNAS; International Journal of Astrobiology

Embargo expired on 27-Nov-2017 at 11:30 ET

When Physics Gives Evolution a Leg Up by Breaking One

With no biological program to drive it, nascent multicellular clusters adopt a lifecycle thanks to the physics of their stresses. The accidental reproduction drives them to evolve as multicellular life.

– Georgia Institute of Technology

Nature Physics; National Science Foundation ; Packard Foundation Fellowship; NASA Exobiology program

Embargo expired on 27-Nov-2017 at 11:00 ET

includes video

Decline in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Key to Ancient Climate Transition

A decline in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels led to a fundamental shift in the behaviour of the Earth’s climate system around one million years ago, according to new research led by the University of Southampton.

– University of Southampton

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1702143114

Embargo expired on 27-Nov-2017 at 15:00 ET

Price Changes for Seven Foods Could Save Thousands of Lives Per Year, Study Says

Changing the prices of seven foods, including fruits, vegetables and sugar-sweetened beverages, could reduce annual deaths from stroke, diabetes and cardiovascular disease by 3-9 percent and address disparities in the United States.

– Tufts University

BMC Medicine

Johns Hopkins Biologist Leads Team That Unlocks Mystery of Protein Function

A research team has cracked part of the mystery on intrinsically disordered proteins. a distinct type discovered fewer than 30 years ago. The finding could eventually lead to treatments for diseases that range from cancer to neurological disorders....

– Johns Hopkins University

ELife, Oct-2017; MCB1330211); GM063747; GM008403

New Pathways, Better Biofuels

New research from an engineer at Washington University in St. Louis stitches together the best bits of several different bacteria--including a virulent pathogen--to synthesize a new biofuel product.

– Washington University in St. Louis

Biotechnology for Biofuels

UF Web Tool Helps South Carolina, Florida Strawberry Growers

The tool, known as the Strawberry Advisory System (StAS) uses data such as temperature and leaf wetness to tell growers when to spray fungicide to thwart botrytis and anthracnose fruit rots.

– University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Plant Disease

Amputees Can Learn to Control a Robotic Arm with Their Minds

A new study by neuroscientists at the University of Chicago shows how amputees can learn to control a robotic arm through electrodes implanted in the brain.

– University of Chicago Medical Center

Nature Communications, Nov-2017

'Mind’s Eye Blink' Proves ‘Paying Attention’ Is Not Just a Figure of Speech

Vanderbilt psychologists have discovered that when you shift your attention from one place to another, your brain 'blinks'—experiences momentary gaps in perception.

– Vanderbilt University

Cerebral Cortex (Nov-2017)

New Discovery: Common Jellyfish Is Actually Two Species

University of Delaware professor and alum discover sea nettle jellyfish found in Rehoboth and Chesapeake Bay is actually two species.

– University of Delaware

Peer J.

Autism and the Smell of Fear

The Weizmann Institute's Prof. Noam Sobel has found that persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and neurotypical persons reacted differently to the "smell of fear" and "calm sweat" - in fact, they reacted in opposite ways.

– Weizmann Institute of Science

Nature Neuroscience, Nov-2017

Sharks Evolved Aircraft-Like Attributes to Suit Habitats

Researchers report that shark species have evolved diverse physical attributes to help them thrive in different ocean ecosystems.

– Saint Louis University Medical Center

Proceedings of the Royal Society

Less Life: Limited Phosphorus Recycling Suppressed Early Earth’s Biosphere

The amount of biomass – life – in Earth's ancient oceans may have been limited due to low recycling of the key nutrient phosphorus, according to new research by the University of Washington and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

– University of Washington

New Study Finds Mycobacteria Can Sense Presence of Proteins That Cause Disease

The study from the University of Notre Dame and Michigan State University could help researchers identify how to tone down the ability of mycobacteria to cause disease and help them in treating infection.

– University of Notre Dame

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Faster Salmonella Test Boosts Food Safety for Humans and Animals

A new test allows accurate, rapid testing for Salmonella, a bacteria that is one of the leading causes of food-borne illness across all regions of the world.

– Cornell University

Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation

SLAC-led Study Shows Potential for Efficiently Controlling 2-D Materials With Light

In experiments with the lab’s ultrafast ‘electron camera,’ laser light hitting a material is almost completely converted into nuclear vibrations, which are key to switching a material’s properties on and off for future electronics and other a...

– SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Nature Communications, 23 November 2017 (10.1038/s41467-017-01822-2)

Novice Pilots Improve Visual Responses to Emergency Simulation by Watching Experts’ Eye Movements

Novice military pilots can improve their visual responses to a simulated emergency procedure by observing the eye movements of expert pilots, according to new research from SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

– SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Neuroscience 2017

Playing the Climate Change Game

A university community plays a world climate change negotiations role-playing game.

– Michigan Technological University

NUS Researchers Develop World’s First Alcoholic Beverage Made From Tofu Whey

A research team from the National University of Singapore has successfully turned tofu whey, a liquid that is generated from the production of tofu and is often discarded, into a tasty alcoholic beverage.

– National University of Singapore

includes video

World’s Smallest Fidget Spinner Showcases Access to Serious Science Facility

One drop of liquid, a cutting-edge laser 3D-printer and a few hours are all it takes to make a fidget spinner smaller than the width of a human hair. The tiny whirligig was created by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Center for Nanoph...

– Oak Ridge National Laboratory

includes video

SciWire Announcements

DHS Announces FY18 Small Business Innovation Research Topics

DHS announced the topics for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) 18.1 Pre-Solicitation.

– Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate

Greg Clark Announces £80 Million Funding for Coventry, Warwickshire and University of Warwick Partnership to Create New National Battery Facility

A partnership between WMG, at the University of Warwick, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and Coventry City Council has been awarded £80 million to establish a new National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility (NBMDF). ...

– University of Warwick

Embargo expired on 29-Nov-2017 at 09:30 ET

AAAS Announces 2017 Fellows

A recognized global leader in chromatographic bioprocessing, Steven Cramer, the William Weightman Walker Professor of Polymer Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of S...

– Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Three Elected Foreign Members of Chinese Academy of Sciences

In a rare honor for an American university, three Northwestern University scientists — Sir Fraser Stoddart, Chad Mirkin and Yonggang Huang — have been elected foreign members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The three were selected for their s...

– Northwestern University

Tufts University Engineer Wins Air Force Grant for Ultra-High-Resolution Bio-Imaging

Xiaocheng Jiang, assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering at Tufts University, has been awarded an early-career award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) for his work developing graphene-based m...

– Tufts University

DHS S&T Announces Licensing of Infrastructure Security Technology from Transition to Practice Program

DHS S&T today announced the commercialization of another Transition to Practice (TTP) program technology—the sixth marketplace transition in the last six months.

– Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate

Qi-Qun Tang Joins Journal of Biological Chemistry

Qi-Qun Tang, a professor of in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Fudan University School of Basic Medical Sciences in Shanghai, China, has joined the Journal of Biological Chemistry as an associate editor.

– American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)

ESF Professor Receives National Forestry Award

Dr. Ralph D. Nyland was the recipient of the 2017 Barrington Moore Memorial Award from the Society of American Foresters (SAF).

– SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Shantenu Jha Named Chair of Brookhaven Lab's Center for Data-Driven Discovery

Jha—a computational scientist who holds a joint appointment as an associate professor at Rutgers University—will lead a center that provides the focal point for data science research and development.

– Brookhaven National Laboratory

Cornell Research Helping Hemlocks Survive in New York State

Efforts to battle an invasive forest pest just got a boost from a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation grant that enables Cornell Botanic Gardens to continue – and expand – its work to conserve hemlock trees

– Cornell University

Largest Conference of Cell Biologists From Across the Globe to Gather in Philadelphia December 2-6

The largest gathering of cell scientists will convene at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St., from Dec 2 to Dec 6. The 2017 ASCB| EMBO Meeting, hosted by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), together with the European Molecular...

– American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)

New Director Named at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Dr. Terry Wallace has been appointed Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and President of Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS).

– Los Alamos National Laboratory

SciWire Higher Education Events

First-of-Its-Kind Mummy Study Reveals Clues to Girl’s Story

Who is she, this little mummy girl? Northwestern University scientists and students are working to unravel some of her mysteries, including how her body was prepared 1,900 years ago in Egypt, what items she may have been buried with, the quality of h...

– Northwestern University





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