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Apr 7, 2024

De novo design of pH-responsive self-assembling helical protein filaments

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering

Engineering the tunability of protein assembly in response to pH changes within a narrow range is challenging. Here the authors report the de novo computational design of pH-responsive protein filaments that exhibit rapid, precise, tunable and reversible assembly and disassembly triggered by small pH changes.

Apr 7, 2024

Astronomers Confirm a New ‘Trojan’ Asteroid that Shares an Orbit with Mars

Posted by in categories: chemistry, physics, space

Using observations made with the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) a study led from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) has confirmed that the asteroid 2023 FW14, discovered last year, is accompanying the red planet in its journey round the sun, ahead of Mars and in the same orbit.

With this new member, the group of Trojans that accompany Mars has increased in number to 17. But it shows differences in its orbit and chemical composition which may indicate that it is a captured asteroid, of a primitive type. The results are published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

A team from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) has observed and described for the first time the object 2023 FW14, a Trojan asteroid that shares its orbit with Mars. After Jupiter, the red planet has the largest number of known Trojans, totaling 17 with this new identification.

Apr 7, 2024

AI Generates High-Quality Images 30 times faster in a Single Step

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI

In our current age of artificial intelligence, computers can generate their own “art” by way of diffusion models, iteratively adding structure to a noisy initial state until a clear image or video emerges.

Diffusion models have suddenly grabbed a seat at everyone’s table: Enter a few words and experience instantaneous, dopamine-spiking dreamscapes at the intersection of reality and fantasy. Behind the scenes, it involves a complex, time-intensive process requiring numerous iterations for the algorithm to perfect the image.

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) researchers have introduced a new framework that simplifies the multi-step process of traditional diffusion models into a single step, addressing previous limitations. This is done through a type of teacher-student model: teaching a new computer model to mimic the behavior of more complicated, original models that generate images.

Apr 7, 2024

Large Hadron Collider reaches its first stable beams in 2024

Posted by in categories: energy, physics

On Friday 5 April, at 6.25 p.m., the LHC Engineer-in-Charge at the CERN Control Centre (CCC) announced that stable beams were back in the Large Hadron Collider, marking the official start of the 2024 physics data-taking season. The third year of LHC Run 3 promises six months of 13.6 TeV proton collisions at an even higher luminosity than before, meaning more collisions for the experiments to take data from. This will be followed by a period of lead ion collisions in October.

Before the LHC could restart, each accelerator in the CERN complex had to be prepared for another year of physics data taking. Beginning with Linac4, which welcomed its first beam two months ago, each accelerator has gone through a phase of beam commissioning in which it is gradually set up and optimised to be able to control all aspects of the beam, from its energy and intensity to its size and stability. During this phase researchers also test the accelerator’s performance and address any issues before it is used for physics. Following Linac4, which contains the source of protons for the beam, each accelerator was commissioned in turn: the Proton Synchrotron Booster, the Proton Synchrotron, the Super Proton Synchrotron, and finally the LHC from 8 March until 5 April. The whole complex is now ready for data taking.

Back to the CCC. While stable beams are the goal, the CCC engineers must first take several steps to achieve them. First, they must inject the beams into the LHC from the previous accelerators in the chain. Then begins the ramp-up process, which involves increasing the beam energy up to the nominal energy of 6.8 TeV. The next step – shown as “flat top” on LHC Page 1 – is where the energy in the beams is consistent, but they’re not quite ready yet. In order to achieve stable beams, the circulating beams must then be “squeezed” and adjusted using the LHC magnets. This involves making the beams narrower and more centred on their paths, and therefore more likely to produce a high number of collisions in the detectors. Only after the squeezing and adjustment has been completed can stable beams be declared and the experiments around the LHC begin their data taking.

Apr 7, 2024

Universe’s expansion might be slowing, findings indicate

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution

The universe is still expanding at an accelerating rate, but it may have slowed down recently compared with a few billion years ago, early results from the most precise measurement of its evolution yet suggested Thursday.

The preliminary findings are far from confirmed, but if they hold up, it would further deepen the mystery of dark energy — and likely mean there is something important missing in our understanding of the cosmos.

These signals of our universe’s changing speeds were spotted by the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, or DESI, which is perched atop a telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in the U.S. state of Arizona.

Apr 7, 2024

“Iron Man” material made from DNA and glass is 4x stronger than steel

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

Using only DNA and glass, researchers made a material four times stronger and five times lighter than steel. It was inspired by Iron Man.

Apr 7, 2024

Immune Checkpoint Discovery Has Implications for Treating Cancer and Autoimmune Diseases

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Your immune system should ideally recognize and attack infectious invaders and cancerous cells. But the system requires safety mechanisms, or brakes, to keep it from damaging healthy cells. To do this, T cells—the immune system’s most powerful attackers—rely on immune “checkpoints” to turn immune activation down when they receive the right signal. While these interactions have been well studied, a research team supported in part by NIH has made an unexpected discovery into how a key immune checkpoint works, with potentially important implications for therapies designed to boost or dampen immune activity to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases.1

The checkpoint in question is a protein called programmed cell death-1 (PD-1). Here’s how it works: PD-1 is a receptor on the surface of T cells, where it latches onto certain proteins, known as PD-L1 and PD-L2, on the surface of other cells in the body. When this interaction occurs, a signal is sent to the T cells that stops them from attacking these other cells.

Cancer cells often take advantage of this braking system, producing copious amounts of PD-L1 on their surface, allowing them to hide from T cells. An effective class of immunotherapy drugs used to treat many cancers works by blocking the interaction between PD-1 and PD-L1, to effectively release the brakes on the immune system to allow the T cells to unleash an assault on cancer cells. Researchers have also developed potential treatments for autoimmune diseases that take the opposite tact: stimulating PD-1 interaction to keep T cells inactive. These PD-1 “agonists” have shown promise in clinical trials as treatments for certain autoimmune diseases.

Apr 7, 2024

Researchers 3D print new ultra-realistic heart and lung models that can bleed, beat, and breath

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical

Researchers from Nottingham Trent University (NTU) have developed realistic 3D printed heart and lung models that can bleed, beat and breathe like their real counterparts.

Designed for organ transplant training, the lifelike models reportedly reflect the tactile qualities of a human heart and can be produced with various tissue hardness levels. Using the models, medical professionals can plan surgeries and safely research and teach transplant procedures, without the risk of complications.

The project, which was led by research fellow Richard Arm, leveraged 3D scans of both healthy and diseased human hearts to 3D print the models to a high level of accuracy.

Apr 7, 2024

These Electric Cars Offer Plug & Charge In 2024

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

If you want an electric car that begins charging the moment you plug it into a public fast charger, then you want one with Plug & Charge. Here are the EVs with this feature.

Apr 7, 2024

Resting Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability: What’s Optimal, 2,061 Days of Data

Posted by in categories: genetics, life extension

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