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Newswise SciWire - Science News for Journalists
Newswise SciWire
Thursday, December 21, 2017

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Science News

21-Dec-2017


Nanofractionation Platform with Parallel Mass Spectrometry for Identification of Cytochrome CYP1A2 Inhibitors in Metabolic Mixtures

This new (and freely available) original research article presents a fast, robust and accurate methodology for correlating compound identity to CYP1A2 potency of inhibitors in metabolic mixtures. The methodology is centered around an at-line nanofrac...

– SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

Journal of Biomolecular Screening

Embargo expired on 21-Dec-2017 at 09:00 ET


Physicists Negate Century-Old Assumption Regarding Neurons and Brain Activity

Neurons are the basic computational building blocks that compose our brain. According to the neuronal computational scheme used for over a century, each neuron functions as a centralized excitable element. Using new types of experiments on neuronal ...

– Bar-Ilan University

Scientific Reports

Embargo expired on 21-Dec-2017 at 05:00 ET


Study Finds Online Interest in Sex Rises at Christmas, with More Births Nine Months Later

A global-scale analysis of human birth rate cycles co-led by Indiana University reveals that online interest in sex rises at Christmas and certain other holidays, with more babies born nine months later.

– Indiana University

Scientific Reports; National Institutes of Health; Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Embargo expired on 21-Dec-2017 at 05:00 ET


Why the Y? Older Adults Need Support for Healthy Weight Loss in 2018

Researchers at Wake Forest University say adults 60+ whose New Year’s resolution is to lose weight succeed with an inexpensive and accessible solution: classes at community fitness centers such as the YMCA.

– Wake Forest University


Q&A with CFN User Xiaowei Teng

Teng of the University of New Hampshire brings his research to design new types of nanostructured materials for energy conversion and storage applications to Brookhaven Lab’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN).

– Brookhaven National Laboratory

20-Dec-2017


‘Cosmic Lantern’ Could Help Us Further Understand the Fate of the Universe

New research has provided a deeper insight into emission line galaxies, used in several ongoing and upcoming surveys, to help us further understand the composition and fate of the Universe.

– University of Portsmouth

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (published by Oxford University Press)

Embargo expired on 20-Dec-2017 at 20:00 ET


CRISPR Treatment Prevents Hearing Loss in Mice

A single treatment of a genome editing agent partially preserved hearing in mice with genetic deafness. The work could one day help scientists treat certain forms of genetic hearing loss in humans.

– Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Nature, Dec-2017

Embargo expired on 20-Dec-2017 at 13:00 ET


Study Finds New Way to Clean Up Radioactive Sites, Protect Radiotherapy Patients, Astronauts

A new discovery by scientists could aid efforts to clean up radioactive waste sites, and could also help protect military personnel, cancer patients, and astronauts.

– Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU)

(Defense Threat Reduction Agency, grant HDTRA-18774-M)

Embargo expired on 20-Dec-2017 at 14:00 ET


Neutron-Star Merger Creates New Mystery

A new model is required to explain the radiation from the collision of two neutron stars discovered by LIGO

– University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

journal Nature Astronomy

Embargo expired on 20-Dec-2017 at 13:00 ET


Fusion Plasmas, Turning Oxide into Metal, Neutron Star Merger, and More in the DOE Science News Source

Click here to go directly to the DOE Science News Source

– Newswise


See What Lies Beneath

Real-time imaging shows how hydrogen causes oxygen to leave a buried surface, transforming an oxide into a metal.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Nature Communications 8, 307 (2017). [DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00371-4]


No Rest for Weary Canola Plants

Plants don’t sleep like humans do—but just like some people don’t rest well in the heat, some plants don’t either. The canola plant isn’t as productive if the temperature is high at nighttime, and scientists are trying to find out why.

– American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)

ASA, CSSA and SSSA International Annual Meetings


Silky Secrets to Make Bones

Some secrets to repairing our skeletons might be found in the silky webs of spiders, according to recent experiments guided by supercomputers. Scientists involved say their results will help understand the details of osteoregeneration, or how bones r...

– University of California San Diego

Advanced Functional Materials Journal, September 2017


Using the Dark Side of Excitons for Quantum Computing

A dark exciton can store information in its spin state, analogous to how a regular, classical bit stores information in its off or on state, but dark excitons do not emit light, making it hard to determine their spins and use them for quantum informa...

– American Institute of Physics (AIP)

APL Photonics


UF Studies Show What Some Bugs Do for Love, Like Sacrificing a Leg

“While interesting by itself, it more importantly shows scientists the tradeoffs that can exist across body parts,” said Christine Miller, a UF/IFAS associate professor of entomology and co-author of both new studies. “It also provides fundamen...

– University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Evolution; Journal of Evolutionary Biology


Panning for Silver in Laundry Wastewater

Silver nanoparticles are being used in clothing for their anti-odor abilities but some of this silver comes off when the clothes are laundered. The wastewater from this process could end up in the environment, possibly harming aquatic life, so resear...

– American Chemical Society (ACS)

ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering


Robotic Device Improves Balance and Gait in Parkinson’s Disease Patients

Sunil Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering and of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine at Columbia Engineering, working with Movement Disorders faculty from the department of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center, find that a si...

– Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

Scientific Reports Dec 19 2017

includes video


When One Reference Genome is Not Enough

A pan-genome is a valuable resource for unlocking natural diversity. Having plant pan-genomes for crops important for fuel and food applications would enable breeders to harness natural diversity to improve traits such as yield, disease resistance, a...

– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Nature Communications


Defending Against Environmental Stressors May Shorten Lifespan

A shorter life may be the price an organism pays for coping with the natural assaults of daily living, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and their colleagues in Japan. The scientists used fruit flies to examine the relatio...

– National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

PNAS; ZIAES080046; R01GM067761


New Simulator Tool Tests Aircraft Explosive Vulnerabilities

Recently, CAVM partnered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center (ATC) to develop a reusable Aircraft Explosive Testing Simulator that facilitates the explosive testing of new generation commercial aircraft. ...

– Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate


Researchers Get First Complete Look at Protein Behind Sense of Touch

The findings point the way to targeting diseases where this protein is mutated.

– Scripps Research Institute

Nature, Dec. 2017; NS083174; DE022358; 1-S10OD021634


Electron Injection Transforms a Thin Film

Simply applying a small voltage dramatically changes the atomic structure, vital to creating materials for advanced computer memory.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Nature 550, 487-491 (2017). [DOI: 10.1038/nature24043]


BBQ Lighter Hovering Above South Pole May Help Pinpoint Mystery Source of Cosmic Energy

Funded by $230,000 from NASA about three years ago, the Hi-Cal balloon with its barbeque-lighter ping have flown three experimental missions in a quest to better grasp Antarctica’s reflectivity to radio frequencies.

– University of Kansas


Solving Galactic Mysteries a Few Minutes at a Time

A project led by an astronomer at The University of Alabama that includes amateur astronomers will use gaps in the schedule of the Hubble Space Telescope to get a better look at oddities found in the sky.

– University of Alabama


Walking the Tightrope Between Risk and Reward in Studying Viruses

A virologist involved in the debate over "gain of function" and dual-use infectious disease research reflects on the issue, in the wake of NIH action.

– Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan


Q&A: Sam Webb Teaches X-Ray Science from a Remote Classroom

When Sam Webb teaches, he shows that science is a part of everyday life. For him, it’s important that students learn science does not need to be intimidating. Webb is a staff scientist at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) at...

– SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory


‘Hot’ Electrons Heat Up Solar Energy Research

Argonne research has shown how hybrid nanomaterials may be used to convert light energy more efficiently for applications in photocatalysis, photovoltaics and ultrafast optics.

– Argonne National Laboratory

Nature Communications, Oct-2017

19-Dec-2017


Dysfunctional Gene May Be Culprit in Some Crohn’s Disease Cases

The scientists hope understanding how immune cells adapt as they enter different tissues will spur the design of better, more specific, medicines.

– Scripps Research Institute

Immunity, Dec. 2017; R21AI119728; 5R01DK099076-07 ; P01DK071176; 422515; 3786; 26971; IBD-0389R

Embargo expired on 19-Dec-2017 at 12:00 ET


Researchers Steer the Flow of Electrical Current with Spinning Light

In new research, scientists at the University of Minnesota used a first-of-its-kind device to demonstrate a way to control the direction of electrical current generated by light, called photocurrent, without deploying an electric voltage.

– University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering

Nature Communications, Dec-2017

Embargo expired on 19-Dec-2017 at 08:00 ET


New Measurements to Guide Radiation Therapy

When ionizing radiation passes through living tissue, it interacts with molecules present in the cells, stripping away electrons and producing charged species known as ions. Ionizing radiation used for cancer treatment includes gamma rays, X-rays and...

– American Institute of Physics (AIP)

The Journal of Chemical Physics

Embargo expired on 19-Dec-2017 at 11:00 ET


Novel Combination Therapy Shown to Be Effective in Ovarian Cancer

Wistar researchers have found that combining PARP inhibitors, recently approved for the treatment of BRCA-mutant ovarian cancer, with another small molecule inhibitor was effective to treat ovarian cancers without BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations.

– Wistar Institute

Cell Reports

Embargo expired on 19-Dec-2017 at 12:00 ET


Pesticides and Poor Nutrition Damage Animal Health

The combined effects of pesticides and a lack of nutrition form a deadly one-two punch for animals, new research shows for the first time. Researchers studied how honey bees fared with exposure to pesticides and limited nutrient sources, scenarios fo...

– University of California San Diego

Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Dec-2017

Embargo expired on 19-Dec-2017 at 19:05 ET


Watching a Particle in a Dangerous Crowd

A new x-ray beam technique tracks atomic-level changes under real-world operating conditions.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Science 356, 739-742 (2017). [DOI: 10.1126/science.aam6168]


Conservation Study Uses Tiny Treadmills to Test Sea Turtle Hatchling Stamina

A newly hatched sea turtle should be able to crawl from its nest to the ocean in a couple of minutes if everything goes as nature planned. Speed is key and their survival depends heavily on their ability to swim. Disoriented hatchlings who eventuall...

– Florida Atlantic University

Journal of Experimental Biology

includes video


Researchers Isolate Biting, Non-Biting Genes in Pitcher Plant Mosquitoes

Understanding that divergence, University of Notre Dame researchers say, is a starting point to determining whether there are non-biting genes in other species that could be manipulated in order to reduce transmission of vector-borne diseases.

– University of Notre Dame

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Secrets of Ancient Egypt May Spark Better Fuel Cells for Tomorrow’s Cars

To make modern-day fuel cells less expensive and more powerful, a team led by John Hopkins chemical engineers has drawn inspiration from the ancient Egyptian tradition of gilding.

– Johns Hopkins University

Nano Letters, May-2017; DMR-1410175


A Functional Genomics Database for Plant Microbiome Studies

In Nature Genetics, a team led by JGI researchers assembled a catalog of bacterial genomes to identify and characterize candidate genes that aid bacteria in adapting to plant environments, specifically genes involved in bacterial root colonization.

– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Nature Genetics


Acoustic Device Makes Piezoelectrics Sing to a Different Tune

In today’s “internet of things,” devices connect primarily over short ranges at high speeds, an environment in which surface acoustic wave devices have shown promise for years. To obtain faster speeds, however, SAW devices need to operate at hi...

– American Institute of Physics (AIP)

Applied Physics Letters


Neutron Star Mergers Create Heavy Elements

Gravitational wave observations combined with optical and gamma-ray data confirm earlier predictions, offer insights into how the galaxy produces lead, mercury, and other elements.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Nature 551, 80-84 (2017). [DOI: 10.1038/nature24453]


New Physics Understanding Provides Attractive Path for Developing Fusion Energy via a Steady-State Tokamak

International collaborators advance physics basis for tokamak plasma confinement at low rotation, potentially benefiting a fusion reactor.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Nuclear Fusion 55, 123025 (2015); Physics of Plasmas 22, 055904 (2015). [DOI: 10.1063/1.4921152]; Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 57, 025020 (2015); Physics of Plasmas 23, 062511 (2016) [DOI: 10.1063/1.4948724]...


Currents Always Find the Fastest Detour

Scientists map electrical currents emanating from the boundary of a tokamak plasma, providing new information for reactor design.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Nuclear Fusion 57, 086035 (2017). [DOI: 10.1088/1741-4326/aa75ea]


Microwaves Can Plug Leaks in Fusion Plasmas

Microwave heating significantly alters Alfven waves, offering insights into the physics of the waves themselves.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Nuclear Fusion 56, 112007 (2016). [DOI: 10.1088/0029-5515/56/11/112007]


Santa’s Workshop Could Be on Snowy Moon

Santa’s winter workshop might be in space, as University of Warwick researchers are exploring whether snowy moons over a billion kilometres away from Earth are potentially habitable. According to Dr David Brown, and colleagues at Warwick’s Centr...

– University of Warwick


Sandia Computer Modeling Aids Solder Reliability in Nuclear Weapons

Solder isn’t the first thing that comes to mind as essential to a nuclear weapon. But since weapons contain hundreds of thousands of solder joints, each potentially a point of failure, Sandia National Laboratories has developed and refined computer...

– Sandia National Laboratories


Driving V2G Technology Forward

The University of Delaware and Nuvve Corporation will partner on developing technology that drives vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology forward and breaks new ground in producing clean energy and efficient, responsible transportation systems.

– University of Delaware


Improving Soil Health with Cover Crops

Data on soils, crop and livestock performance and environmental parameters, such as greenhouse gas emissions, will help convince producers to try cover crops in their rotation plans.

– South Dakota State University


Proton-Proton Fusion: Powering the Sun

Large-scale simulations of quarks promise precise view of reactions of astrophysical importance.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Physical Review Letters 119, 062002 (2017). [DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.062002]; Physical Review Letters 115, 132001 (2015). [DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.132001]


Reindeer’s Gift Saves Brother From Life-Threatening Illness

In Shortsville, New York, about 30 miles east of Rochester, reindeer brothers Moose and Little Buddy call a little farm home. Their owner, Mike Schaertl, was looking forward to Little Buddy’s first holiday season, but last month the 5-month-old rei...

– Cornell University

18-Dec-2017


Alien Object ‘Oumuama Was a Natural Body Visiting From Another Solar System – Queen’s University Scientists

Scientists at Queen’s University Belfast have led worldwide investigations into a mysterious object that passed close to Earth after arriving from deep interstellar space.

– Queen's University Belfast

Nature Astronomy

Embargo expired on 18-Dec-2017 at 11:00 ET

includes video


Oldest Fossils Ever Found Show Life on Earth Began Before 3.5 Billion Years Ago

Researchers at UCLA and the University of Wisconsin–Madison have confirmed that microscopic fossils discovered in a nearly 3.5 billion-year-old piece of rock in Western Australia are the oldest fossils ever found and indeed the earliest direct evid...

– University of Wisconsin-Madison

PNAS Dec. 18, 2017

Embargo expired on 18-Dec-2017 at 15:00 ET


We Overstate Our Negative Feelings in Surveys, New Research Shows

We tend to overstate our negative feelings and symptoms in surveys, shows a new study by a team of psychology researchers. This bias wears off over time, but the results point to the possibility that measurements of health and well-being, which are v...

– New York University

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Embargo expired on 18-Dec-2017 at 15:00 ET


Gut Reaction: Repeated Food Poisoning Triggers Chronic Disease

Small bacterial infections that may go unnoticed and which the body easily clears without treatment, such as occurs during mild food poisoning, nevertheless can start a chain of events that leads to chronic inflammation and potentially life-threateni...

– Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Embargo expired on 18-Dec-2017 at 10:00 ET


Putting Molten History on the Map

Focused x-ray beam revealed structural changes from laser heating, pinning down elusive melting point.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Nature Communications 8, 14562 (2017). [DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14562]


Ringing Atomic Bell Probes Electrons

Measured strong coupling of vibrations and electrons could lead to controlled magnetism and electronic properties.

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

Science 357, 71 (2017). [DOI: 10.1126/science.aak9946]


The Shrinking Moose of Isle Royale

Climate change and predator-prey dynamics with wolves make for smaller moose. Ecologists compared skull measurements spanning four decades gathered at Isle Royale National Park and found a 16 percent decrease in moose skull size.

– Michigan Technological University

Global Change Biology, Dec-2017; National Park Service; USDA McIntyre-Stennis Grant


Zero Gravity Plant Growth Experiments Delivered to Space Station

The latest resupply mission to the International Space Station delivered hundreds of seeds to the spacefaring research lab Sunday, Dec. 17, to test how plants grow in the stressful environment of zero gravity. This is the fourth plants-in-space exper...

– University of Wisconsin-Madison


Star Mergers: A New Test of Gravity, Dark Energy Theories

Observations and measurements of a neutron star merger have largely ruled out some theories relating to gravity and dark energy, and challenged a large class of cosmological theories.

– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Physical Review Letters, Dec. 18, 2017

includes video


Making Larvae Count

The larvae of the fish that live in coral reefs look alike, making it difficult for marine biologists to study reef populations. Now, Weizmann's Prof. Rotem Sorek found a way to “barcode” 80% of fish species known to visit the reefs in a Red Sea ...

– Weizmann Institute of Science

Nature Ecology & Evolution, Dec-2017


Designer Nanoparticles Destroy a Broad Array of Viruses

An international group of researchers have designed new anti-viral nanoparticles that bind to a range of viruses, including herpes simplex virus, human papillomavirus, respiratory syncytial virus and Dengue and Lentiviruses. Unlike other broad-spectr...

– University of Illinois at Chicago

Nature Materials


Flower or Flesh? Genetics Explain Mosquito Preference

Researchers have found genetic explanations for why most mosquitoes in one species favor nectar over blood. This work could one day lead to strategies to prevent mosquito-borne illness.

– Ohio State University

PNAS


Molecular Signature of “Trailblazer” Neural Crest Cells Gives Insight Into Development and Cancer

In a study published online in the journal eLife, the researchers identified a molecular signature of approximately 1300 genes differentially expressed in an aggressive subset of migrating neural crest cells termed as “trailblazers” in a vertebra...

– Stowers Institute for Medical Research

eLife


Johns Hopkins Scientists Probe Mystery of Spider Web-Spinning

Scientists videotape spiders spinning webs in hopes of unlocking secrets of behavior: how is it shaped by genetics, how is it a response to surroundings?

– Johns Hopkins University

includes video


DHS S&T Pilot Project Helps Secure First Responder Apps From Cyberattacks

A pilot project by DHS S&T resulted in the successful remediation of potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities in mobile applications (apps) used by the nation’s public-safety professionals, supporting the creation of an on-going mobile app-testing p...

– Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate


Major Technology Developments Boost LCLS X-Ray Laser’s Discovery Power

Accelerator experts at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory are developing ways to make the most powerful X-ray laser better than ever. They have created the world’s shortest X-ray pulses for capturing the motions of el...

– SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory


Novel Discovery by Singapore Research Team Could Improve Diagnosis and Early Screening of Kidney Stone Disease

An interdisciplinary research team led by the National University of Singapore (NUS) has recently discovered a unique panel of urine biomarkers that could accurately diagnose nephrolithiasis, also commonly known as kidney stone.

– National University of Singapore

SciWire Announcements


Dr. D. Scott Merrell Awarded 2017 Rare Disease Research Grant

The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has announced its 2017 Rare Disease Research Grant recipients and Dr. D. Scott Merrell, professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, is among...

– Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU)


Innovative Digital Approach to Engineering Class Wins Professors National Award

It’s hard to say which sounded sweeter to Professor Paul Nissenson, the cacophony of his students’ voices as they worked together solving engineering problems or the audience’s applause when he and six other Cal Poly Pomona faculty members rece...

– California State Polytechnic University Pomona


The Hearst Foundations Award $50K in Support to APS Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship Program

The American Physiological Society (APS) is honored to announce a new $50,000 grant from The Hearst Foundations in support of the APS undergraduate summer research fellowships (UGSRF) program that will be used to fund immersive laboratory research ex...

– American Physiological Society (APS)


Society for Risk Analysis Announces 2017 Winners for Best Journal Papers, Research Posters and Image of Risk

The Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) is pleased to announce the winners for best paper in Risk Analysis: An International Journal, best posters for 2017 and the inaugural Images of Risk Competition.

– Society for Risk Analysis (SRA)


Scientists Seek Diagnostic Tool for Harmful Algal Blooms

With a three-year $681,343 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a team of Ohio State scientists plans to develop a widely applicable system for assessing watershed health and determining when a crisis is looming.

– Ohio State University


Developing Next-Generation Sensing Technologies

Recently, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced $20 million in funding for 15 projects that will develop a new class of sensor systems to enable significant energy savings via reduced demand for heating and cooling in reside...

– Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

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