Nanoparticle-based delivery platform for CRISPR-Cas9 (gene-editing technology)

A February 18, 2018 King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST; Saudi Arabia) news release (also on EurekAlert but published on Feb. 20, 2018) describes a new technology for delivering CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-Cas9 into cells, A new delivery system for introducing gene-editing technology into cells could help safely and efficiently correct disease-causing mutations in patients. The system, developed by KAUST scientists, is the first to use sponge-like ensembles of metal…

Continue reading


Café Scientifique Vancouver (Canada) talk on May 29th, 2018: Insects in the City: Shrinking Beetles and Disappearing Bees. How Bugs Help Us Learn About the Ecological Effects of Urbanization and Climate Change

I received this Café Scientifique April 30, 2018 notice (received via email), Our next café will happen on TUESDAY, MAY 29TH at 7:30PM in the back room at YAGGER'S DOWNTOWN (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be DR. MICHELLE TSENG, Assistant Professor in the Zoology department at UBC. Her topic will be: INSECTS IN THE CITY: SHRINKING BEETLES AND DISAPPEARING BEES. HOW BUGS HELP US LEARN ABOUT THE ECOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF URBANIZATION…

Continue reading


Cellulose aerogels for new wood-based composites

‘Frozen smoke’ or ‘solid smoke’ as it’s sometimes described, aerogel fascinates scientists.The latest on cellulose aerogels derived from wood is the focus for a February 14, 2018 Nanowerk Sportlight article by Michael Berger (Note: Links have been removed), Aerogels, sometimes called frozen smoke, are nanoscale foams: solid materials whose sponge-like structure is riddled by pores as small as nanometers across. They can be made from different materials, for instance silicon. Aerogels are among the lightest…

Continue reading


Eye implants inspired by glasswing butterflies

Glasswinged butterfly. Greta oto. Credit: David Tiller/CC BY-SA 3.0 My jaw dropped on seeing this image and I still have trouble believing it’s real. (You can find more image of glasswinged butterflies here in an Cot. 25, 2014 posting on thearkinspace. com and there’s a video further down in the post.) As for the research, an April 30, 2018 news item on phys.org announces work that could improve eye implants, Inspired by tiny nanostructures on…

Continue reading


Getting chipped

A January 23, 2018 article by John Converse Townsend for Fast Company highlights the author’s experience of ‘getting chipped’ in Wisconsin (US), I have an RFID, or radio frequency ID, microchip implanted in my hand. Now with a wave, I can unlock doors, fire off texts, login to my computer, and even make credit card payments. There are others like me: The majority of employees at the Wisconsin tech company Three Square Market (or 32M)…

Continue reading


Hedy Lamarr documentary

It was the tech community which brought Hedy Lamarr’s scientific and technical accomplishments to light in the 1990s. The movie actress was better known for other aspects of her work and life. She was the first actress to portray an orgasm on screen, the movie was Ecstasy (in English), the year was 1933; and, Hedy Lamarr was 18 years-old. Shortly after the film was released, Lamarr, of Jewish descent, married Friedrich Mandl, a wealthy Austrian…

Continue reading


CRISPR-Cas12a as a new diagnostic tool

Similar to Cas9, Cas12a is has an added feature as noted in this February 15, 2018 news item on ScienceDaily, Utilizing an unsuspected activity of the CRISPR-Cas12a protein, researchers created a simple diagnostic system called DETECTR to analyze cells, blood, saliva, urine and stool to detect genetic mutations, cancer and antibiotic resistance and also diagnose bacterial and viral infections. The scientists discovered that when Cas12a binds its double-stranded DNA target, it indiscriminately chews up all…

Continue reading


May 16, 2018: UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) First International Day of Light

Courtesy: UNESCO From a May 11, 2018 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) press release (received via email), UNESCO will welcome leading scientists on 16 May 2018 for the 1st edition of the International Day of Light (02:30-08:00 pm) to celebrate the role light plays in our daily lives. Researchers and intellectuals will examine how light-based technologies can contribute to meet pressing challenges in diverse areas, such as medicine, education, agriculture and energy.…

Continue reading


“Living” bandages made from biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

A February 16, 2018 news item on Nanowerk announces research from a Russian team about their work on “living” bandages, In regenerative medicine, and particularly in burn therapy, the effective regeneration of damaged skin tissue and the prevention of scarring are usually the main goals. Scars form when skin is badly damaged, whether through a cut, burn, or a skin problem such as acne or fungal infection. Scar tissue mainly consists of irreversible collagen and…

Continue reading


Tractor beams for artificial cells

This particular piece has videos of cells moving around. I won’t be including all of them but they are weirdly fascinating. First, a May 14, 2018 news item on Nanowerk announces the latest in tractor beam news from the Imperial College London (ICL; UK), Researchers have used lasers to connect, arrange and merge artificial cells, paving the way for networks of artificial cells that act like tissues. The team say that by altering artificial cell…

Continue reading