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Archive for the ‘nanotechnology’ category

Feb 14, 2017

Nanoparticles Deliver CRISPR/Cas9 Genetic Editor Safely Into Cells

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, nanotechnology

CRISPR/Cas9, a powerful gene editing technique that has already been used in a human, is thought by many as a “cut and paste” for DNA in living organisms. While in a sense that is what happens, delivering the ribonucleoprotein that does the genetic editing and the RNA that hones in on the target, into the cellular nucleus without being damaged is a challenge. That is why the efficiency of successful edits remains very low. Researchers at University of Massachusetts Amherst have now come up with nanoparticles that protect the protein and RNA as they’re brought to their work site.

The nanoparticles are engineered around their cargo and have shown a 90% success rate of getting the cargo into the nucleus, and a 30% editing efficiency, which is “remarkable” according to the researchers. So far the team has tested their technique on cultured cells, but they’re already working on trying the same in laboratory animals. As part of their research, they developed a novel way of tracking the Cas9 protein inside the cells, something that will certainly help other scientists in this area.

“By finely tuning the interactions between engineered Cas9En protein and nanoparticles, we were able to construct these delivery vectors. The vectors carrying the Cas9 protein and sgRNA come into contact with the cell membrane, fuse, and release the Cas9:sgRNA directly into the cell cytoplasm,” in a statement said Vincent Rotello, lead author of the study in ACS Nano. “Cas9 protein also has a nuclear guiding sequence that ushers the complex into the destination nucleus. The key is to tweak the Cas9 protein,” he adds. “We have delivered this Cas9 protein and sgRNA pair into the cell nucleus without getting it trapped on its way. We have watched the delivery process live in real time using sophisticated microscopy.”

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Feb 14, 2017

Turning up the heat for perfect (nano)diamonds

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology, quantum physics

Quantum mechanics, the physics that governs nature at the atomic and subatomic scale, contains a host of new physical phenomena to explore quantum states at the nanoscale. Though tricky, there are ways to exploit these inherently fragile and sensitive systems for quantum sensing. One nascent technology in particular makes use of point defects, or single-atom misplacements, in nanoscale materials, such as diamond nanoparticles, to measure electromagnetic fields, temperature, pressure, frequency and other variables with unprecedented precision and accuracy.

Quantum sensing could revolutionize medical diagnostics, enable new drug development, improve the design of electronic devices and more.

For use in quantum sensing, the bulk nanodiamond crystal surrounding the point defect must be highly perfect. Any deviation from perfection, such as additional missing atoms, strain in the crystalline lattice of the diamond, or the presence of other impurities, will adversely affect the quantum behavior of the material. Highly perfect nanodiamonds are also quite expensive and difficult to make.

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Feb 13, 2017

New drive for nanorobots in biological fluids

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

Nice.


Nanorobots and other mini-vehicles might be able to perform important services in medicine one day – for example, by conducting remotely-controlled operations or transporting pharmaceutical agents to a desired location in the body. However, to date it has been hard to steer such micro- and nanoswimmers accurately through biological fluids such as blood, synovial fluid or the inside of the eyeball.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart are now presenting two new approaches for constructing propulsion systems for tiny floating bodies. In the case of one motor, the propulsion is generated by bubbles which are caused to oscillate by ultrasound (Applied Physics Letters, “Wireless actuation with functional acoustic surfaces”). With the other, a current caused by the product of an enzymatic reaction propels a nanoswimmer (JACS, “Bubble-Free Propulsion of Ultrasmall Tubular Nanojets Biocatalytic Reactions”).

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Feb 13, 2017

Luminescence switchable carbon nanodots follow intracellular trafficking and drug delivery

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, nanotechnology

‘Caged’ non-fluorescent carbon dot enters the cancer cell, loses its caging and lights up. Credit: University of Illinois.

Tiny carbon dots have, for the first time, been applied to intracellular imaging and tracking of drug delivery involving various optical and vibrational spectroscopic-based techniques such as fluorescence, Raman, and hyperspectral imaging. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated, for the first time, that photo luminescent carbon nanoparticles can exhibit reversible switching of their optical properties in cancer cells.

“One of the major advantages of these agents are their strong intrinsic optical sensitivity without the need for any additional dye/fluorophore and with no photo-bleaching issues associated with it,” explained Dipanjan Pan, an assistant professor of bioengineering and the leader of the study. “Using some elegant nanoscale surface chemistry, we created a molecular ‘masking’ pathway to turn off the fluorescence and then selectively remove the mask leading to regaining the brightness.

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Feb 12, 2017

Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Create a Super-Fast ‘Biological Computer’

Posted by in categories: biological, mathematics, nanotechnology, supercomputing

In Brief:

Researchers found a new “supercomputer” using nanotechnology. These biocomputers can solve mathematical problems faster, and they are more energy efficient.

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Feb 10, 2017

The Kurzweilian Singularity and Evolution of the Technigenome

Posted by in categories: engineering, nanotechnology, quantum physics, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI, security, singularity

Great read and highlights what I have been showing folks around the convergence that is occurring between technology and biology via Quantum. We’re achieving (in the Epoch chart on Singularity Evolution) Epoch 5 via Quantum Bio and our work we’re seeing from DARPA, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and others. Synbio has to mimic the properties we see with Quantum Biology/ Biosystems. And, things like DARPA’s own RadioBio will enable and expose many things on multiple fronts in Biosensors (including security), IoT, healthcare/ medical prevention management and treatments, AI, etc.


Singularity – the state of being singular; Oneness.

The biological system is a natural form of technology. A simple examination of the nanobiology of the macromolecular system of any cell will attest to this – enzymes and structural proteins are veritable nanomachines, linked to the information processing network of DNA and plasma membranes. Far from being a primordial or rudimentary organic technology – we are discovering more and more the level of complexity and paragon technological sophistication of living systems, which as is being discovered, even includes non-trivial quantum mechanical phenomena once thought to only be possible in the highly specialized and controlled environment of the laboratory.

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Feb 9, 2017

Nanorods Emit and Detect Light, Could Lead to Displays That Communicate via Li-Fi

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, nanotechnology

I don’t know how to say this; however, Apple has already shared their own experiment Li-Fi over a year ago; now this from IEEE.


Now an advance by a team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute in South Korea and Dow Chemical may turn the display market on its head by eliminating the need for backlights in LCD devices. They have produced a LED pixel out of nanorods capable of both emitting and detecting light.

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Feb 9, 2017

Fe doped Magnetic Nanodiamonds made

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, particle physics

Nice write up on magnetic Nano diamonds (NDs)


Here we present a simple physical method to prepare magnetic nanodiamonds (NDs) using high dose Fe ion-implantation. The Fe atoms are embedded into NDs through Fe ion-implantation and the crystal structure of NDs are recovered by thermal annealing.

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Feb 8, 2017

Marina Biotech Announces a License Agreement to SMARTICLES

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

A biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative therapeutics for disease intersections of arthritis, hypertension, and cancer, today announced that they have entered into a license agreement regarding the Company’s SMARTICLES platform for the delivery of nanoparticles including small molecules, peptides, proteins and biologics…


Marina Biotech, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative therapeutics for disease intersections of arthritis, hypertension, and cancer, today announced that they have entered into a license agreement regarding the Company’s SMARTICLES platform for the delivery of nanoparticles including small molecules, peptides, proteins and biologics. This represents the first time that the Company’s SMARTICLES technologies have been licensed in connection with nanoparticles delivering small molecules, peptides, proteins and biologics. Under terms of the agreement, Marina could receive up to $90MM in success based milestones. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.

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Feb 8, 2017

Comparative Study of the Collective Dynamics of Proteins and Inorganic Nanoparticles

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, particle physics

Interesting read for those interested in inorganic protein (NP) states from a solid to a liquid as the research proves inorganic NPs are in a ‘glassy’ state while transitioning from a solid to a liquid form.


Molecular dynamics simulations of ubiquitin in water/glycerol solutions are used to test the suggestion by Karplus and coworkers that proteins in their biologically active state should exhibit a dynamics similar to ‘surface-melted’ inorganic nanoparticles (NPs). Motivated by recent studies indicating that surface-melted inorganic NPs are in a ‘glassy’ state that is an intermediate dynamical state between a solid and liquid, we probe the validity and significance of this proposed analogy. In particular, atomistic simulations of ubiquitin in solution based on CHARMM36 force field and pre-melted Ni NPs (Voter-Chen Embedded Atom Method potential) indicate a common dynamic heterogeneity, along with other features of glass-forming (GF) liquids such as collective atomic motion in the form of string –like atomic displacements, potential energy fluctuations and particle displacements with long range correlations (‘colored’ or ‘pink’ noise), and particle displacement events having a power law scaling in magnitude, as found in earthquakes. On the other hand, we find the dynamics of ubiquitin to be even more like a polycrystalline material in which the α-helix and β-sheet regions of the protein are similar to crystal grains so that the string –like collective atomic motion is concentrated in regions between the α-helix and β-sheet domains.

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