The road signs that direct traffic on the highways - collectively known as the cytoskeleton - are a mystery, and now the subject of research for Lee Ligon, associate professor of biology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
For the first time, scientists have transplanted neural cells derived from a monkey's skin into its brain and watched the cells develop into several types of mature brain cells, according to the authors of a new study in Cell Reports. After six months, the cells looked entirely normal, and were only detectable because they initially were tagged with a fluorescent protein.
The researchers will be able to work closely together on projects in the field of regenerative medicine, an area with a promising future. The aim is to use the strategy of marine animals to develop novel bio-inspired bone replacement materials and medications to ameliorate osteoporosis.
An unprecedented collaboration among academia, industry, government and civil society has resulted in the launch of a professional-grade collection of public domain DNA parts that greatly increases the reliability and precision by which biology can be engineered.
Predictability is often used synonymously with "boring", as in that story or that outcome was soooo predictable. For practioners of synthetic biology seeking to engineer valuable new microbes, however, predictability is the brass ring that must be captured. Researchers with the multi-institutional partnership known as BIOFAB have become the first to grab at least a portion of this ring by unveiling a package of public domain DNA sequences and statistical models that greatly increase the reliability and precision by which biological systems can be engineered.
AMSilk, a spin-off of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), has produced the world's first artificial silk fiber that is entirely made of recombinant spider silk proteins. The fiber's tensile strength is comparable to that of natural spider silk, which led to the name Biosteel.
Fungi, with the exception of shitake and certain other mushrooms, tend to be something we associate with moldy bread or dank-smelling mildew. But they really deserve more respect. Fungi have fantastic capabilities and can be grown, under certain circumstances, in almost any shape and be totally biodegradable. And, if this weren't enough, they might have the potential to replace plastics one day. The secret is in the mycelia.
The grant will fund a collaborative project that will seek to use synthetic biology - the design and construction of biological devices and systems - to more effectively create proteins, such as those used in drug manufacture.
Protein activity is strictly regulated. Incorrect or poor protein regulation can lead to uncontrolled growth and thus cancer or chronic inflammation. Researchers have identified enzymes that can regulate the activity of medically important proteins. Their discovery enables these proteins to be manipulated very selectively, opening up new treatment methods for inflammations and cancer.
What can green algae do for science if they weren't, well, green? That's the question biologists at UC San Diego sought to answer when they engineered a green alga used commonly in laboratories, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, into a rainbow of different colors by producing six different colored fluorescent proteins in the algae cells.