The electrical conductivity of a sheet of graphene under a magnetic field is depicted by the colors in these two images. As the magnetic field increases from the bottom to the top of the image, the conductivity decreases (brighter colors). Superconductivity should only exist at low magnetic fields, as seen in the left panel.
Less than three months after devastating floods washed over parts of South Carolina, Duke’s ResearchMobile trundled down to Columbia, one of the hardest-hit areas, and set up shop in the parking lot of a shuttered Piggly Wiggly. Eight Duke students and two faculty spent part of their winter break to sit down with locals in a cubicle in the upfitted RV and say, “Tell us about what happened and how it affected you.”
Treatments for devastating diseases like cancer and HIV sometimes begin with a single cell. These gold spirals, each thinner than a human hair, are part of a cell-sorting microchip developed by Benjamin Yellen’s team at the Pratt School of Engineering. When an electric field is applied, each spiral acts as a miniature antenna, producing electric forces that exert precise control on biological cells.
Collaborative Innovation at the Intersection of Data and Health
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Scientists can now watch how hundreds of individual cells work together to maintain and regenerate skin tissue, thanks to a genetically engineered line of technicolor zebrafish.
Every cell on the surface of the fish, from the center of the eye to the tip of each scale, is genetically programmed to glow with a slightly different hue. But these zebrafish weren’t bred to brighten up an aquarium; the colors effectively stamp each cell with a permanent barcode, letting scientists track its movements in a live animal for days or even weeks at a time.
Tiny spirals of DNA can encode more than just the color of your eyes or the shape of your nose. Using self-assembling DNA wires, Duke engineer Chris Dwyer is building optical computing chips so compact that you could cram 5,000 movies on a single CD-sized disc. The chromophores (red dots) absorb light and transform it into packets of energy called excitons. Then these excitons leap from chromophore to chromophore in a specific pattern.
This 3D scan of the fossilized hand of Australopithecus sediba, a human ancestor whose two-million-year-old remains were discovered in a South African cave, is one of nearly 9,000 fossil scans available for download at MorphoSource.org. Visitors to the site can zoom in or out and rotate the fossil scans, download them and even make their own physical copies to hold in their hands using 3-D printing.
Rising seas threaten coastal marshes worldwide, like this marsh just outside Venice, Italy pictured in a satellite image. But a new study by Marco Marani of the Nicholas School finds marshes are more resilient than previously believed. Elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 boost plant biomass production, allowing marshes to trap more sediment and generate more organic soil.
When identical twins take different paths in life, researchers take notice. And when foresighted and tenacious researchers have collected data on those twins, tracking measurements from birth through adolescence, the dataset serves as a treasure trove for geneticists and social scientists.
From the beginning, graduate students of the Triangle Universities Nuclear Lab have been a resourceful lot. TUNL students have a tradition of developing new measurement techniques, designing and building equipment , and troubleshooting problems under research conditions. They’ve needed to hone their data analysis skills to find the important signals in a large background of data. After four or five years of this, graduates are prepared to work not only in universities, but in a wide variety of sectors, including government, government labs, industry, and medicine.