Archive for the ‘biological’ category

Sep 23, 2022

Engineering living ‘scaffolds’ for building materials

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, nanotechnology

When the inside of a mollusk shell shimmers in sunlight, the iridescence isn’t produced by colored pigments but by tiny physical structures self-assembled from living cells and inorganic components. Now, a team of researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has developed a platform to mimic this self-assembly ability by engineering living cells to act as a starting point for building composite materials.

Engineered living (ELMs) use living as “materials scaffolds” and are a new class of material that might open the door to self-healing materials and other advanced applications in bioelectronics, biosensing, and smart materials. Such materials could mimic emergent properties found in nature—where a complex system has properties that the individual components do not have—such as iridescence or strength.

Borrowing from this complexity seen in nature, the Berkeley Lab researchers engineered a bacterium that can attach a wide range of nanomaterials to its cell surface. They can also precisely control the makeup and how densely packed the components are, creating a stable hybrid living material. The study describing their work was recently published in ACS Synthetic Biology.

Sep 23, 2022

Lab grows macroscale, modular materials from bacteria

Posted by in categories: biological, health, robotics/AI

Engineered living materials promise to aid efforts in human health, energy and environmental remediation. Now they can be built big and customized with less effort.

Bioscientists at Rice University have introduced centimeter-scale, slime-like colonies of engineered that self-assemble from the bottom up. They can be programmed to soak up contaminants from the environment or to catalyze biological reactions, among many possible applications.

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Sep 22, 2022

Ray Kurzweil: The Future of Intelligence — Nobel Week Dialogue 2015

Posted by in categories: biological, policy, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI

In this talk, Kurzweil explores the history and trajectory of advances in computing and Information Technology to project how he believes Artificial Intelligence (AI) may enhance our natural biological intelligence in the future.

Kurzweil spoke at the Nobel Week Dialogue on December 9, 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Sep 22, 2022

A Solid Observation of Strong Kerr Nonlinearity

Posted by in categories: biological, particle physics, quantum physics

Researchers have demonstrated that a solid can exhibit an enhanced nonlinear optical phenomenon usually seen only in cold atomic gases.

Among the benefits brought about by the invention of the laser in the 1960s is the ability to generate light at an intensity great enough to produce nonlinear optical effects. Such nonlinear effects have entered daily use in applications that include infrared-to-visible-light wavelength conversion (in a green laser pointer, for example) and two-photon excitation (in fluorescence microscopes for observing biological living tissue). Now Corentin Morin of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and colleagues address a third-order nonlinear process called the Kerr effect, which manifests as a change in a material’s refractive index when it is illuminated with light of different intensities [1]. The researchers demonstrate a giant Kerr nonlinearity in a solid, a state of matter that has, until now, exhibited only a weak Kerr effect. The result implies the possibility of scalable nonlinear quantum optics without the need of cold atoms in high vacuum.

The key to the discovery by Morin and colleagues is a quasiparticle called a Rydberg exciton, the understanding of which rests on two concepts. The first concept is the Rydberg series, which is the discrete energy-level structure available to an atom’s outermost electron, and which is indexed by the principal quantum number n. A high-lying Rydberg state has a large n and exhibits properties such as a large electron orbital radius, a long lifetime, and a large dipole moment, all of which are missing in the ground state. The second concept is a hydrogen-atom-like quasiparticle called an exciton—a negatively charged electron, photoexcited across a semiconductor’s band gap, Coulomb-bound to a positively charged hole left in the valence band.

Sep 21, 2022

Five ways deep learning has transformed image analysis

Posted by in categories: biological, robotics/AI

From connectomics to behavioural biology, artificial intelligence is making it faster and easier to extract information from images.

Sep 14, 2022

Losing to China in AI, Emerging Tech Will Cost U.S. Trillions, Threaten Security, Says Panel

Posted by in categories: biological, economics, government, military, robotics/AI, surveillance


A grim future awaits the United States if it loses the competition with China on developing key technologies like artificial intelligence in the near future, the authors of a special government-backed study told reporters on Monday.

If China wins the technological competition, it can use its advancements in artificial intelligence and biological technology to enhance its own country’s economy, military and society to the determent of others, said Bob Work, former deputy defense secretary and co-chair of the Special Competitive Studies Project, which examined international artificial intelligence and technological competition. Work is the chair of the U.S. Naval Institute Board of Directors.

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Sep 13, 2022

Brain folding

Posted by in categories: biological, evolution, genetics, habitats, neuroscience

The neocortex is the part of the brain that enables us to speak, dream, or think. The underlying mechanism that led to the expansion of this brain region during evolution, however, is not yet understood. A research team headed by Wieland Huttner, director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, now reports an important finding that paves the way for further research on brain evolution: The researchers analyzed the gyrencephaly index, indicating the degree of cortical folding, of 100 mammalian brains and identified a threshold value that separates mammalian species into two distinct groups: Those above the threshold have highly folded brains, whereas those below it have only slightly folded or unfolded brains. The research team also found that differences in cortical folding did not evolve linearly across species.

The Dresden researchers examined brain sections from more than 100 different with regard to the gyrencephaly index, which indicates the degree of folding of the neocortex. The data indicate that a highly folded neocortex is ancestral – the first mammals that appeared more than 200 million years ago had folded brains. Like brain size, the folding of the brain, too, has increased and decreased along the various mammalian lineages. Life-history traits seem to influence this: For instance, mammals with slightly folded or unfolded brains live in rather small social groups in narrow habitats, whereas those with highly folded brains form rather large social groups spreading across wide habitats.

A threshold value of the folding index at 1.5 separates mammalian species into two distinct groups: Dolphins and foxes, for example, are above this threshold value – their brains are highly folded and consist of several billion neurons. This is so because basal progenitors capable of symmetric proliferative divisions are present in the neurogenic program of these animals. In contrast, basal progenitors in mice and manatees lack this proliferative capacity and thus produce less neurons and less folded or unfolded brains.

Sep 13, 2022

‘Chatty’ cells help build the brain

Posted by in categories: biological, neuroscience

The cerebral cortex, which controls higher processes such as perception, thought and cognition, is the most complex structure in the mammalian central nervous system. Although much is known about the intricate structure of this brain region, the processes governing its formation remain uncertain. Research led by Carina Hanashima from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology has now uncovered how feedback between cells, as well as molecular factors, helps shape cortical development during mouse embryogenesis.

The cortex is made up of layers of interconnecting cells that are produced in a particular order from . The relatively cell-sparse outer layer is formed first, then the dense deep layer, and finally the tightly packed upper layer. Hanashima and her colleagues were interested to discover exactly how the various layers form, so they created a mouse model that enabled them to control the expression of a particular protein, Foxg1, known to be involved in .

The Foxg1 gene, if switched on toward the end of embryogenesis after the outer layer of neurons has formed, triggers the production of deep-layer neurons, followed by upper-layer neurons (Fig. 1). The researchers found that it does this by repressing the activity of another gene, called Tbr1, in the outer-layer neurons.

Sep 12, 2022

Probing Molecular Magnetism Interferometrically

Posted by in categories: biological, particle physics

A matter-wave interferometer can probe the magnetism of a broad range of species, from single atoms to very large, weakly magnetic molecules.

This year marks the centenary of the ground-breaking experiment of Otto Stern and Walther Gerlach that demonstrated the quantization of the spin angular momentum of an atom [1]. The evidence came from the observation that a beam of silver atoms, upon traversing a spatially varying magnetic field, split into two beams. The spatial splitting of the spin-up and spin-down atoms corresponded to an atomic magnetic moment of 1 Bohr magneton—the magnetic moment of a single spinning electron. The deflection of particle beams in a spatially varying magnetic field remains the basis of techniques for characterizing the magnetic properties of isolated atoms and molecules. Such techniques, however, aren’t sufficiently sensitive to study very large, weakly magnetic molecules, including many biological molecules.

Sep 12, 2022

Alcoholic Fermentation

Posted by in category: biological

Alcohol Fermentation or ethanol fermentation is a biological method wherein the sugar gets transformed into carbon dioxide and alcohol.

This Video Explains Alcoholic Fermentation.
Ethanol fermentation, also called alcoholic fermentation, is a biological process which converts sugars such as glucose into cellular energy under anaerobic conditions and producing ethanol and carbon dioxide as by-products.
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