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May 14, 2021

Researchers use deep learning to ‘denoise’ nanopore data

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

Scientists from the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research at Osaka University have used machine-learning methods to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio in data collected when tiny spheres are passed through microscopic nanopores cut into silicon substrates. This work may lead to much more sensitive data collection when sequencing DNA or detecting small concentrations of pathogens.

Miniaturization has opened the possibility for a wide range of diagnostic tools, such as point-of-care detection of diseases, to be performed quickly and with very small samples. For example, unknown particles can be analyzed by passing them through nanopores and recording tiny changes in the . However, the intensity of these signals can be very low, and is often buried under random noise. New techniques for extracting the useful information are clearly needed.

Now, scientists from Osaka University have used to “denoise” nanopore data. Most machine learning methods need to be trained with many “clean” examples before they can interpret noisy datasets. However, using a technique called Noise2Noise, which was originally developed for enhancing images, the team was able to improve resolution of noisy runs even though no clean data was available. Deep neural networks, which act like layered neurons in the brain, were utilized to reduce the interference in the data.

May 14, 2021

Researchers trace path of light in photosynthesis

Posted by in categories: energy, food

Three billion years ago, light first zipped through chlorophyll within tiny reaction centers, the first step plants and photosynthetic bacteria take to convert light into food.

Heliobacteria, a type of bacteria that uses photosynthesis to generate energy, has reaction centers thought to be similar to those of the common ancestors for all photosynthetic organisms. Now, a University of Michigan team has determined the first steps in converting into energy for this bacterium.

“Our study highlights the different ways in which nature has made use of the basic reaction center architecture that emerged over 3 billion years ago,” said lead author and U-M physicist Jennifer Ogilvie. “We want to ultimately understand how energy moves through the system and ends up creating what we call the ‘charge-separated state.’ This state is the battery that drives the engine of photosynthesis.”

May 14, 2021

Magnetoelectric Chips to Power a New Generation of More Efficient Computing Devices

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, security

Harnessing the Hum of Fluorescent Lights for More Efficient Computing

The property that makes fluorescent lights buzz could power a new generation of more efficient computing devices that store data with magnetic fields, rather than electricity.

A team led by University of Michigan researchers has developed a material that’s at least twice as “magnetostrictive” and far less costly than other materials in its class. In addition to computing, it could also lead to better magnetic sensors for medical and security devices.

Continue reading “Magnetoelectric Chips to Power a New Generation of More Efficient Computing Devices” »

May 14, 2021

Advance may enable 2D transistors for tinier microchip components

Posted by in categories: computing, materials

Moore’s Law, the famous prediction that the number of transistors that can be packed onto a microchip will double every couple of years, has been bumping into basic physical limits. These limits could bring decades of progress to a halt, unless new approaches are found.

One new direction being explored is the use of atomically instead of silicon as the basis for new transistors, but connecting those “2D” materials to other conventional electronic components has proved difficult.

Now researchers at MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, and elsewhere have found a new way of making those , which could help to unleash the potential of 2D materials and further the miniaturization of components—possibly enough to extend Moore’s Law, at least for the near future, the researchers say.

May 14, 2021

To make particles flow more efficiently, put an obstacle in their way

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing

Scientists used to perform experiments by stirring biological and chemical agents into test tubes.

Nowadays, they automate research by using the size of postage stamps. In these tiny devices, millions of microscopic particles are captured in droplets of water, each droplet serving as the “test tube” for a single experiment. The chip funnels these many droplets, one at a time, through a tiny channel where a laser probes each passing droplet to record thousands of experimental results each second.

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May 14, 2021

Tesla prepares to disrupt ethanol producers

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

The program was established in the mid-2000s under the Bush administration, and it was set up to boost the US biofuel industry in order to reduce US dependence on foreign oil. In the process, it created a strange situation where a ton of farmland started being used by ethanol producers who are now heavily subsidized by the program. Since electric vehicles would also help accomplish this goal, it has been proposed that they could be included in the program, and the Biden administration is expected to review the proposal.

Tesla has reportedly applied to enter the profitable renewable fuel credit market that is currently dominated by ethanol producers as it is expected to be opened to electric vehicles.

There are currently at least eight companies who applied with the Environmental Protection Agency to be included in the multi-billion dollar US renewable credit market, but the agency did not release their names.

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May 14, 2021

Harvard researchers develop long-lasting solid-state battery

Posted by in categories: chemistry, materials

To combat this, Li and his team at Harvard have designed their solid-state battery with a multilayer approach that stacks its materials of varying stabilities between the anode and cathode. Much like a sandwich. This multi-material battery sandwich helps alleviate the penetration of lithium dendrites by controlling and containing them rather than preventing them altogether.

As you can see from the image above, the Harvard team has simplified its battery design to a form that’s more our speed. In this case, a BLT sandwich. The top slice of bread represents the lithium-metal anode, followed by lettuce appropriately representing a coating of graphite. The two layers of tomatoes represent the first electrolyte, protecting the delicious middle layer of bacon as the second electrolyte. Everything sits upon the bottom slice of bread, or the cathode. Is anyone else suddenly hungry for batteries?

In this design, dendrites are able to grow through the graphite (lettuce) and first electrolyte (tomato) but are halted when they reach the second electrolyte (bacon), thus preventing the dendrites from shorting the entire battery. This multilayer approach provokes chemistry that makes the second electrolyte too tight for the dendrites to penetrate. Furthermore, the Harvard researchers say this same chemistry can backfill the holes made by dendrites, essentially making the solid-state battery self-healing. Is there anything better than a sandwich that can regenerate itself? Honestly.

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May 14, 2021

Episode 50 — Bioengineering Our Human Species To Reach The Stars

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, genetics, space

Great new episode with renowned geneticist Christopher Mason who talks about his book on how we will need to bioengineer our own species in order to expand beyond our solar system.

Geneticist Christopher Mason chats about his new book, “The Next 500 Years: Engineering Life to Reach New Worlds” from MIT Press. We discuss both the nuts and bolts and the philosophy driving our expansion offworld. Mason’s goal is to preserve our species by expanding to an Earth 2.0 in order to avoid our star’s own Red Giant endgame.

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May 14, 2021

BPS Publications

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

While the mitochondrion has long fascinated biologists and the sheer diversity of druggable targets has made it attractive for potential drug development, there has been little success translatable to the clinic. Given the diversity of inborn errors of metabolism and mitochondrial diseases, mitochondrially mediated oxidative stress (myopathies, reperfusion injury, Parkinson’s disease, ageing) and the consequences of disturbed energetics (circulatory shock, diabetes, cancer), the potential for meaningful gain with novel drugs targeting mitochondrial mechanisms is huge both in terms of patient quality of life and health care costs. In this themed issue of the British Journal of Pharmacology, we highlight the key directions of the contemporary advances in the field of mitochondrial biology, emerging drug targets and new molecules which are close to clinical application. Authors’ contributions are diverse both in terms of species and organs in which the mitochondrially related studies are performed, and from the perspectives of mechanisms under study. Defined roles of mitochondria in disease are updated and previously unknown contributions to disease are described in terms of the interface between basic science and pathological relevance.

May 14, 2021

Dr. Jonna Mazet, DVM, MPVM, PhD — One Health — Can We Immunize The World Against Future Pandemics?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, education, government, health, policy

Can We Immunize The World Against Future Pandemics? Dr Jonna Mazet, DVM, MPVM, PhD, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine — Global Virome Project.

Dr. Jonna Mazet, DVM, MPVM, PhD, is a Professor of Epidemiology and Disease Ecology at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Founding Executive Director of the UC Davis One Health Institute, and Vice Provost For Grand Challenges At UC Davis.

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