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Archive for the ‘bioengineering’ category: Page 3

Jul 26, 2020

Microbiology – A Field Ripe for Entrepreneurship

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

Are you fascinated with microbiology? Have you ever thought about how to integrate your passion for research and entrepreneurship? The field of microbiology is expanding and being significantly impacted by advancements in technology. Recently, we interviewed Zack Abbott, Ph.D., who is the co-founder of ZBiotics. Zack explained his journey from studying infectious diseases to starting his own business focused on engineering bacteria for positive results. If you’ve ever wondered how you can be on the cutting edge of life sciences research, while working for yourself, read on about Zack’s experience.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your background before entering the microbiology field?

I did my undergrad at UC Berkeley, where I double-majored in Molecular and Cell Biology and Classical History. I did not leave college thinking I would be a microbiologist. I wasn’t actually sure what I wanted to do, and so I tried out a few different jobs. Eventually, while gaining experience as a research assistant in an HIV lab at UC Davis, I realized that I would be happy with a career in infectious disease.

Jul 26, 2020

Novel Drug Delivery Particles Use Neurotransmitters as a ‘Passport’ Into the Brain

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

Summary: Tufts researchers have developed neurotransmitter-lipid hybrids that help transport therapeutic drugs and gene editing proteins across the blood-brain barrier in mice.

Source: Tufts University

Biomedical engineers at the Tufts University School of Engineering have developed tiny lipid-based nanoparticles that incorporate neurotranmitters to help carry drugs, large molecules, and even gene editing proteins across the blood-brain barrier and into the brain in mice. The innovation, published today in Science Advances, could overcome many of the current limitations encountered in delivering therapeutics into the central nervous system, and opens up the possibility of using a wide range of therapeutics that would otherwise not have access to the brain.

Jul 25, 2020

Sophia Life: Interview with AI Researcher Tina White

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, robotics/AI, surveillance

I am for ethical Ai. What about you?


Sophia interviews Stanford AI Researcher Tina White about how A.I. & Robotics can help stop the spread of Covid19 through contact tracing while preserving users’ privacy.

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Jul 24, 2020

Machine learning reveals recipe for building artificial proteins

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, food, information science, robotics/AI

Proteins are essential to the life of cells, carrying out complex tasks and catalyzing chemical reactions. Scientists and engineers have long sought to harness this power by designing artificial proteins that can perform new tasks, like treat disease, capture carbon, or harvest energy, but many of the processes designed to create such proteins are slow and complex, with a high failure rate.

In a breakthrough that could have implications across the healthcare, agriculture, and energy sectors, a team lead by researchers in the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) at the University of Chicago has developed an -led process that uses big data to design new proteins.

By developing machine-learning models that can review protein information culled from genome databases, the researchers found relatively simple design rules for building . When the team constructed these artificial proteins in the lab, they found that they performed chemistries so well that they rivaled those found in nature.

Jul 21, 2020

New Blood Test Detects 5 Types of Cancer Years Before Standard Diagnosis

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

A blood test has been shown to detect five types of cancer years before the diseases could be spotted using conventional diagnostic methods, according to a study published Tuesday.

Developed by a Sino-US startup, the test found cancers in 91 percent of people who showed no symptoms when the blood sample was collected but were diagnosed one-to-four years later with stomach, esophageal, colon, lung or liver cancer, researchers reported in Nature Communications.

“The immediate focus is to test people at higher risk, based on family history, age or other known risk factors,” said co-author Kun Zhang, head of the bioengineering department at the University of California San Diego and an equity holder in Singlera Genomics, which developed the test.

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Jul 20, 2020

Cellular aging ‘master circuit’ discovered: Extended human lifespan to follow?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, life extension

I hope they get funding.


SAN DIEGO — The average American lives to be around 75 or 80 years old; but if you had an opportunity to slow down the aging process and live an extra couple of decades would you take it? It’s a loaded question, strife with philosophical, religious, and societal considerations. Humans have pondered the possibilities of extended, or even immortal, life for as long as we’ve inhabited this planet. But at the end of the day it’s all just a daydream, right?

Not necessarily, according to new research out of the University of California, San Diego. The study, led by UCSD molecular biologists and bioengineers, produced a groundbreaking discovery regarding the intricacies of cellular aging. In light of their findings, researchers say the notion of “dramatically” extending human life isn’t so farfetched after all.

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Jul 18, 2020

Astronaut Bioengineers Human Cartilage in Space Using Magnetic Fields

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, space

One small step for cells, one giant leap for science.

Jul 17, 2020

Researchers discover 2 paths of aging and new insights on promoting healthspan

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

Aging/longevity link!


Molecular biologists and bioengineers at the University of California San Diego have unraveled key mechanisms behind the mysteries of aging. They isolated two distinct paths that cells travel during aging and engineered a new way to genetically program these processes to extend lifespan.

The research is described July 17 in the journal Science.

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Jul 12, 2020

New CRISPR enzyme mutation proves almost 100 times more precise

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

The CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system is an extremely powerful tool, but there are still a few kinks to iron out. One of the main problems is off-target edits, which can have serious consequences. Now, researchers have found a particular mutation of the CRISPR enzyme that’s almost 100 times more precise than the most commonly used one.

CRISPR gene-editing is based on a bacterial defense system, in which the bugs use a particular enzyme to snip out a section of a pathogen’s DNA and store it for future reference. Next time that pathogen is encountered, the system will recognize it and be better equipped to fight it off.

Scientists managed to co-opt this system as a handy genetic engineering tool. CRISPR-Cas9 uses this mechanism to scour a target’s genome for a specific sequence of DNA – say one that could cause disease – then cut it out, sometimes replacing it with a more beneficial sequence.

Jul 10, 2020

Interbacterial Toxin Leads Scientists to CRISPR-Free Method for Precise Mitochondrial Gene Editing

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

The solution was to split the protein into two harmless halves. Liu’s team, led by graduate student Beverly Mok, used 3D imaging data from the Mougous lab to work out how to divide the protein into two pieces. Each piece did nothing on its own, but when reunited, they reconstituted the protein’s full activity. The team fused each deaminase half to customizable DNA-targeting proteins that did not require guide RNAs. Those proteins bound to specific stretches of DNA, bringing the two halves of the deaminase together. That let the molecule regain its function and work as a precision gene editor—but only once it was correctly positioned.

Liu’s team used the technology to make precise changes to specific mitochondrial genes. Then, Mootha’s lab, which focuses on mitochondrial biology, ran tests to see whether the edits had the intended effect. “You could imagine that if you’re introducing editing machinery into the mitochondria, you might accidentally cause some sort of a catastrophe,” Mootha said. “But it was very clean.” The entire mitochondrion functioned well, except for the one part the scientists intentionally edited, he explained.

This mitochondrial base editor is just the beginning, Mougous suggested. It can change one of the four DNA letters into another. He hopes to find additional deaminases that he and Liu can develop into editors able to make other mitochondrial DNA alterations. Such tools could enable new strategies for treating mitochondrial diseases, as well as help scientists to model diseases and aid in drug testing. “The ability to precisely install or correct pathogenic mutations could accelerate the modeling of diseases caused by mtDNA mutations, facilitate preclinical drug candidate testing, and potentially enable therapeutic approaches that directly correct pathogenic mtDNA mutations,” the authors noted. “Bacterial genomes contain various uncharacterized deaminases, raising the possibility that some may possess unique activities that enable new genome-editing capabilities.”

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