Cells, biological circuits, and individual biomolecules organize themselves and interact with the environment. Use of these capabilities in flexible and economically efficient biotechnological production systems is in the focus of the 'Molecular Interaction Engineering' project. It is the objective to develop printed biological circuits and catalysts for biologico-technical hybrid systems.
In her PhD thesis Ruth Sanz-Barrio, an agricultural engineer, has demonstrated, for the first time, the viability of using specific tobacco proteins (known as thioredoxins) as biotechnological tools in plants. Specifically, she has managed to increase the amount of starch produced in the tobacco leaves by 700% and fermentable sugars by 500%.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have succeeded in making flattened, football-shaped artificial particles that impersonate immune cells. These football-shaped particles seem to be better than the typical basketball-shaped particles at teaching immune cells to recognize and destroy cancer cells in mice.
The EU-funded project BIONET ('Network topology complements genome as a source of biological information') is using graph theory to model biological network interactions and develop advanced algorithms to analyse these complex data.
In many studies of stem cell therapy for heart disease, most of the cells wash away in the first hour. Researchers at Emory and Georgia Tech encapsulate mesenchymal stem cells in alginate so that the cells stay alive and in the heart. In rats, the capsules promote healing after a heart attack. Alginate has several biomedical uses already so the path to translation looks good.
New research has led to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that make certain blood-producing cells function normally. The research will help prevent diseases that lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Uzbek microbiologist Dilfuza Egamberdieva hopes to apply her new agricultural technique soon in Uzbekistan to boost the yield of economically important crops such as wheat, cotton, tomato and cucumber.
Biologists of the University of Zurich have developed a method to visualize the activity of genes in single cells. The method is so efficient that, for the first time, a thousand genes can be studied in parallel in ten thousand single human cells.
A group of researchers have found a way to use stem cells as drug delivery vehicles. The researchers inserted modified strands of messenger RNA into connective tissue stem cells - called mesenchymal stem cells - which stimulated the cells to produce adhesive surface proteins and secrete interleukin-10, an anti-inflammatory molecule.
A new tool enables biomechanical studies of individual cells: Red blood cells were laser-propelled over long distances through optofluidic photonic crystal fibers and their deformation due to shear forces monitored.
As they destroy bacteria very efficiently, plasmas constitute an alternative to chemical disinfectants and potentially to antibiotics, as well. How they achieve this effect has been investigated by a team of biologists, plasma physicists and chemists.