Technology

Developing Brain

A section of embryonic mouse brain has been stained to show different subtypes of developing neurons. Red marks neurons born early in development and yellow are more recent; cell nuclei are blue.  A team led by Debra Silver in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology has found that mice having only one good copy of the gene Rbm8a have fewer neural progenitor cells and thus fewer neurons and are born with smaller brains, demonstrating that Rbmb8a is crucial to healthy brain development.

 

 

 

Jamming Cancer

The combination of an old malaria drug, chloroquine, and an experimental drug, D4476, has been found to interrupt the normal functions of cancer cells, stained blue. David Virshup and Jit Kong Cheong, from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore, wanted to interfere with the cancer cell's known reliance on autophagy, a form of self-destruction. The cells ended up with their surfaces clogged with digestive vacuoles (red), that effectively prevent them from obtaining nutrition.

Nano Mosh Pit

A biomaterials lab led by Gabriel Lopez has devised a way to grow uniformly sized particles of silicon gel  that can be sorted by soundwaves.  In a liquid chamber with a standing acoustic wave, most particles will gather at the nodes where the wave is standing still. But the new particles are actually attracted to the antinodes where the highest point of the wave is constantly shifting up and down.

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