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Radhika Gupta verified badge
Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
July 8, 2018 · 298 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Researchers have built a solar cell using bacteria that convert light to energy

Researchers have found a cheap, sustainable way to build a solar cell using bacteria that convert light to energy. Their cell generated a current stronger than any previously recorded from such a device, and worked as efficiently in dim light as in bright light. This innovation could be a step toward wider adoption of solar power in places like British Columbia and parts of northern Europe where overcast skies are common.

Reference: Small

 

Scientists designed smart bandages that can monitor and improve healing

A team of engineers has developed a prototype bandage designed to actively monitor the condition of chronic wounds and deliver appropriate drug treatments to improve the chances of healing. While the lab-tested bandages remain to be assessed in a clinical context, the research is aimed at transforming bandaging from a traditionally passive treatment into a more active paradigm to address a persistent and difficult medical challenge.

Reference: Small

Researchers uncover how breast cancer growth is enhanced by a protein outside cells

The hormone estrogen plays a key role in the development of healthy cells and, in many cases, cancerous cells. Estrogen attaches to cellular estrogen receptors, which promote cell growth and survival. But too much estrogen receptor activity can cause cells to proliferate rapidly, leading to tumor growth. About 75% of breast cancers are considered estrogen receptor positive because estrogen causes those cancers to propagate, Sampayo notes.

Reference: The Journal of Cell Biology

Scientists developed an AI network using DNA that can read ‘molecular handwriting’

Researchers at Caltech have developed an artificial neural network made out of DNA that can solve a classic machine learning problem: correctly identifying handwritten numbers. The work is a significant step in demonstrating the capacity to program artificial intelligence into synthetic biomolecular circuits.

Reference: Nature

A new technique developed for precisely targeting molecules within cells

Researcher J. Julius Zhu, PhD, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and his colleagues have developed a way to manipulate molecules from compartment to compartment within individual cells. Amazingly, the same molecules do different things depending on their location, the researchers determined. By manipulating the molecules, scientists can determine exactly which locations to target, while avoiding locations that would cause harmful side effects.

Reference: Neuron

Using CRISPR, researchers turned skin cells into pluripotent stem cells

Up till now, reprogramming has only been possible by introducing the critical genes for the conversion, called Yamanaka factors, artificially into skin cells where they are not normally active at all.

Reference: Nature Communications

Using Machine-learning researchers automate molecule design to speed up drug development

Designing new molecules for pharmaceuticals is primarily a manual, time-consuming process that’s prone to error. But researchers have now taken a step toward fully automating the design process, which could drastically speed things up — and produce better results.

Research: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Researchers map DNA damage that links to the onset of skin cancer

Researchers established that DNA binding by a specific set of transcription factors, called ETS, is inherently mutagenic in UV-exposed cells. With new genome mapping technology, these findings provide a crucial understanding of mutations that result at ETS binding sites located in specific genes that are known to be drivers in the onset of melanoma in humans.

Reference: Nature Communications

Scientists identify body’s microreactors for innate immunity

A DNA-sensing enzyme forms droplets that act as tiny bioreactors creating molecules to stimulate innate immunity — the body’s first response to infection, researchers report.

Reference: Science

Researchers have demonstrated the first single-photon transistor

Transistors are tiny switches that form the bedrock of modern computing; billions of them route electrical signals around inside a smartphone, for instance.

Reference: Science

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