.ROCKVILLE, MD – As concern continues to grow concerning the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, so does the opportunity for misinformation to spread as the public searches for reliable information on infection and means of protection.
Yvonne Chen engineers immune cells to target their most evasive enemy: cancer. New cancer immunotherapies generate immune cells that are effective killers of blood cancers, but they have a hard time with solid tumors.
A new technique can label diverse molecules and amplify the signal to help researchers spot those that are especially rare. Called SABER (signal amplification by exchange reaction), Peng Yin’s lab at Harvard’s Wyss Institute first introduced this method last year and since have found ways to apply it to proteins, DNA and RNA.
Robert Stahelin studies some of the world’s deadliest viruses. Filoviruses, including Ebola virus and Marburg virus, cause viral hemorrhagic fever with high fatality rates. Stahelin, professor at Purdue University, examines how these viruses take advantage of human host cells.
Mosquitoes find us by our odor molecules binding to odor receptors on their antennae, bees are drawn to flowers the same way, whereas ticks detect an approaching host using receptors on their forelegs.
The piece of gold that Richard Taylor was thrilled to track down weighed less than a single bacterium. Taylor, a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute, was working to follow individual nanogold-labeled molecules that move just nanometers, billionths of a meter.
The top contributor to familial Parkinson’s disease is mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2), whose large and difficult structure has finally been solved, paving the way for targeted therapies.
Sleep-deprived fruit flies helped reveal what induces sleep. University of Oxford researchers Anissa Kempf, Gero Miesenböck, and colleagues reveal that fruit fly sleep is driven by oxidative stress, the imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body.
Genes are like instructions, but with options for building more than one thing. Daniel Larson, senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute, studies this gene “splicing” process, which happens in normal cells and goes awry in blood cancers like leukemia.
The Biophysical Society (BPS) is proud to add its name and support to the Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) to measurably advance professional and ethical conduct, climate and culture across their respective fields.
On March 13 the Biophysical Society (BPS) and Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL-11) hosted Dr. Jennifer Doudna for a CRISPR-101 Congressional Briefing. The briefing received interest from more than 60 Congressional offices. The briefing took place from 10:30 to 11:30am in the Rayburn House Office Building’s Gold Room.
Researchers at the University of Illinois College of Medicine find that TRPM8, long ago identified as a cold-temperature sensor, regulates aggressive and hypersexual behavior in response to testosterone
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder study fast-growing python hearts, which could provide insights to aid those with diseased heart growth. Their latest work reveals ways to study python heart cells.
Researchers at Imperial College London created a bioreactor to allow heart tissue to experience mechanical forces in sync with the beats, like it would in the body, to study the mechanics of healthy and diseased hearts.
Researchers at Rockefeller University characterized a molecular spring attached to the membrane of inner ear cells that converts bending forces created by a sound wave to electrical signals that the brain can interpret.
Researchers at the University of Oslo find that when lipids land on a surface they form tiny cell-like containers without external input, and that large organic molecules similar in size to DNA’s building blocks can spontaneously enter these protocells while they grow. Both of these are crucial steps towards forming a functioning cell.
The academic and professional disciplinary societies in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medical fields (STEMM) that are signatories of this letter (Signatory Societies) appreciate the opportunity to comment on the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed Title IX implementing regulations, published on November 29, 2018, 83 FR 61462.
The Biophysical Society (BPS) announced that Jennifer Pesanelli has been selected as the next Executive Officer of the Society. Current Executive Officer Ro Kampman announced her retirement in June. Pesanelli joins BPS from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), where she has held a number of positions over the last 20 years.
Many of the drugs and therapies available today for treating breast cancer target the cancer cells but tend to neglect the surrounding “local environment,” which includes surrounding tissues. But cancer cells and their local environment are connected, so both undergo chemical and physical changes during tumor development. During the 62nd Biophysical Society Meeting, researchers will present work exploring the role physical changes within a cancer cells’ local environment play in the aggressiveness of breast cancer.
Mathias P. Clausen, a Danish researcher, became intrigued by jellyfish when he bit into the marine delicacy and experienced an unexpected crunch; he decided he wanted to “understand the transformation from soft gel to this crunchy thing.” Clausen and other scientists combined their expertise in biophysics and biochemistry to gain a better understanding of how food preparation affects jellyfish from the inside out. They will present their work during the 62nd Biophysical Society, held Feb. 17-21.
A cell’s membrane is composed of a bilayer of lipids, and the inside-facing layer is made of different lipids than the outside-facing layer. Because different lipids create membranes with different physical properties, researchers wondered whether different lipid compositions in the bilayer could also lead to different physical properties. They will present their work exploring this “lipid asymmetry” during the 62nd Biophysical Society Meeting, held Feb. 17-21.
Researchers at Stanford University are studying how bacteria living in the gut respond to common changes within their habitat, working with mice. They change the gut environment within the mice, and then measure which bacterial species survive the change and how the gut environment itself has changed. They also study the physiological response of the bacteria -- if they grow faster or slower, or produce different proteins. The work was presented during the Biophysical Society Meeting, held Feb. 17-21.
Bacteria can produce enzymes that make them resistant to antibiotics; one example is the TEM beta-lactamase enzyme, which enables bacteria to develop a resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics, such as penicillin and cephalosporins. Researchers at Stanford University are studying this area -- how an enzyme changes and becomes antibiotic-resistant -- and will present their work during the Biophysical Society’s 62nd Meeting, held Feb. 17-21, 2018.
In an effort to create a power source for future implantable technologies, a team of researchers developed an electric eel-inspired device that produced 110 volts from gels filled with water, called hydrogels. Their results show potential for a soft power source to draw on a biological system’s chemical energy. Anirvan Guha will present the research during the 62nd Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, Feb. 17-21.
Cell division is an intricately choreographed ballet of proteins and molecules that divide the cell. During mitosis, microtubule-organizing centers assemble the spindle fibers that separate the copying chromosomes of DNA. While scientists are familiar with MTOCs’ existence and the role they play in cell division, their actual physical structure remains poorly understood. Researchers are now trying to decipher their molecular architecture, and they will present their work during the 62nd Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, held Feb. 17-21.
Circadian clocks arose as an adaptation to dramatic swings in daylight hours and temperature caused by the Earth’s rotation, but we still don’t fully understand how they work. During the 62nd Biophysical Society Meeting, held Feb. 17-21, Andy LiWang, University of California, Merced, will present his lab’s work studying the circadian clock of blue-green colored cyanobacteria. LiWang’s group discovered that how the proteins move hour by hour is central to cyanobacteria’s circadian clock function.
Phospholipids are water insoluble “building blocks” that define the membrane barrier surrounding cells and provide the structural scaffold and environment where membrane proteins reside. During the 62nd Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, held Feb. 17-21, William Dowhan from the University of Texas-Houston McGovern Medical School will present his group’s work exploring how the membrane protein phospholipid environment determines its structure and function.
Protein systems make up the complex signaling pathways that control whether a cell divides or, in some cases, metastasizes. Ras proteins have long been the focus of cancer research because of their role as “on/off switch” signaling pathways that control cell division and failure to die like healthy cells do. Now, a team of researchers has been able to study precisely how Ras proteins interact with cell membrane surfaces.
A group of researchers from the Czech Republic were intrigued that living organisms emit small amounts of light resulting during oxidative metabolism, when oxygen is used to create energy by breaking down carbohydrates. The researchers began to think about how detecting this light could have potential for biomedical diagnostics. At the Biophysical Society’s meeting, Feb. 11-15, 2017, Michal Cifra will present the group’s work within this realm.
Allura Red, a synthetic food and pharmaceutical color widely used within the U.S., boasts special properties that may make it and other food dyes appropriate as sensors or edible probes to monitor foods and pharmaceuticals. A team of researchers -- from Rutgers University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Massachusetts -- recently made this discovery during an extension of their work identifying and characterizing molecules in foods or food ingredients that might provide signals of food quality, stability or safety.
In an effort to one day eliminate the need for an annual flu shot, a group of researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai are exploring the surface of influenza viruses, which are covered by a protein called “hemagglutinin” (HA). This particular protein is used like a key by viruses to open cells and infect them, making it an ideal target for efforts to help the body's immune system fight off a wide range of influenza strains.
Currently, the predominant theory behind Alzheimer’s disease is the “amyloid hypothesis,” which states that abnormally increased levels of amyloid beta (Aβ) peptides outside of brain cells produce a variety of low molecular weight Aβ aggregates that are toxic to the nervous system. These Aβ aggregates interact directly with target cells and lead to cell death. During the Biophysical Society’s meeting, being held Feb. 11-15, 2017, Antonio De Maio will present his work hunting for the specific mechanisms behind Aβ-induced toxicity to cells, or cytoxicity.
The 2016 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was awarded the for discoveries of mechanisms of autophagy, a cellular process much like recycling, where new cellular components are generated from old and damaged ones. Though a relatively simple process conceptually, autophagy plays an important role in many physiological processes and genes essential to the process could be a key component for treating diseases. Now, researchers have reported the first bacterial creation and functional analysis of a protein essential to initiate autophagy: a human homologous gene of Beclin-1. The researchers will present their findings during the Biophysical Society meeting, Feb. 11-15, 2017.
Climate change will bring worsening droughts that threaten crops. One potential way to protect crops is by spraying them with a compound that induces the plants to become more drought resistant. Now, by identifying the key molecular mechanism that enables a plant to minimize water loss, researchers may be one step closer to that goal.
Calcium in the mitochondria -- the energy factory of cells -- may be one of the keys to understanding and treating Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Researchers at Temple University have now identified how an imbalance of calcium ions in the mitochondria may contribute to cell death and, specifically, neurodegeneration in brain cells during Alzheimer's and dementia. The findings could eventually point to new therapies for preventing or delaying these diseases. The team will present its work during the 61st Meeting of the Biophysical Society.
Life can thrive in some of the most extreme environments on the planet. Microbes flourish inside hot geothermal vents, beneath the frigid ice covering Antarctica and under immense pressures at the bottom of the ocean. For these organisms to survive and function, so must the enzymes that enable them to live and grow. Now, researchers from Georgetown University have homed in on what allows particular enzymes to function under extreme pressures. The team will present its work during the Biophysical Society meeting held Feb. 11-15, 2017.
Nicotine -- the primary compound found within tobacco smoke -- is known to change the grouping of some subtypes of nicotine receptors, but the mechanisms for nicotine addiction remain unclear. This inspired a group of University of Kentucky researchers to explore the role nicotine plays in the assembly of nicotine receptors within the brain. During the Biophysical Society meeting, Feb. 11-15, 2017, Faruk Moonschi will present the group’s work, which centers on a fluorescence-based “single molecule” technique they developed.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a largely silent epidemic that affects roughly two million people each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the scale at which blast TBI (bTBI) injuries -- in the spotlight as the signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- occur and manifest is unknown. Recent studies within this realm suggest that rapid cavitation bubble collapse may be a potential mechanism for studying bTBI, and during the Biophysical Society’s meeting, Feb. 11-15, 2017, Jonathan Estrada will present his work exploring the mechanics of cavitation-induced injury -- with a goal of better understanding bTBIs.
Scientists at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome are studying graphene oxide in the hopes of one day creating bacteria-killing catheters and medical devices. Coating surgical tools with this carbon-based compound could kill bacteria, reducing the need for antibiotics, decreasing the rates of post-operative infections and speeding recovery times.
Researchers at Ohio State University have pinpointed a human gene product that helps regulate wound healing and may control scarring in people recovering from severe injuries and damage to certain internal organs. The protein, MG53, travels throughout the bloodstream and helps the body fix injuries to the skin, heart, and other organs without causing scars. It's a discovery that could help heal open wounds, decrease recovery time after surgery and reduce the spread of infections.
Researchers have recently developed a new way to controllably manipulate materials, in this case biomolecules that are too small to see with the naked eye. By stretching molecules like DNA and proteins, scientists can find out important information about the structure, chemical bonding and mechanical properties of the individual molecules that make up our bodies. This understanding could shed light on diseases like cancer and ALS. The new technique is called acoustic force spectroscopy (AFS).
A tiny protein known as an “amyloid beta” acts like Jekyll and Hyde in mysterious ways within the human body. Outsized human suffering is linked to this otherwise tiny, innocuous-looking molecule, as it is suspected to be a key player in the neurodegenerative mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid beta molecules appear to become toxic within our bodies when they make contact with each other and form small bundles. Oddly, they may become less toxic again as the bundles grow larger in size and form ordered fibrillary plaque deposits. This begs the question: What’s different about these bundles than the single protein molecule and the fibrils?