Twinkle Twinkle

Silver nanoparticles with a special coating to enable visualization float in a sample of water like so many stars in the night sky. The safety of these particles in a natural system is being tested in experimental chambers operated in the Duke Forest by the Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT), which recently won a $15 million renewal grant from the National Science Foundation. Slight variations in diameter cause the particles to reflect a hyperspectral light source in different colors.

Night Lights

Assistant professor of biochemistry Michael Boyce and his colleagues have developed a new method for detecting one relatively short-lived but crucial cell signaling event: the attachment of a particular sugar, called GlcNAc, onto proteins inside the cell. Two protein samples are labeled through their GlcNAc sugars with green and red fluorescent dyes, and then separated on a gel.

Crumpled Sheet

Graphene, a sheet of pure carbon that looks something like chicken wire under a microscope, has some great optical, electrical and mechanical properties, making it useful for electronics, energy storage, composite materials and biomedicine. But it's also notorious for crumpling up and sticking to itself like a wet piece of tissue paper, says Xuanhe Zhao, assistant professor in Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering.

Replacement Parts

This image of a woven biomaterial "scaffold" for growing replacement cartilage won first place in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) first-ever "Bio-Art" imaging competition in May, 2012. Professor Farshid Guilak and post-doctoral researcher Frank Moutos of Duke's Orthopaedic Research Laboratory "seed" these scaffolds with living cells that grow to become new tissue while the woven biomaterial slowly dissolves away.


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