Laboratory Journal – Business Web for Users in Science and Industry en How to Program Materials Can the properties of composite materials be predicted? Empa scientists have mastered this feat and thus can help achieve research objectives faster. This leads, for instance, to better recycling techniques and electrically conductive synthetic materials for the solar industry. Wed, 22 May 2019 08:52:00 +0000 Cups with Attoliter Volume They look like interlocking egg cups, but a hen's egg is 100,000 times as thick as one of the miniature cups: Scientists at the Center for Nanointegration (CENIDE) at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) have made polymers to form themselves into tiny cups on their own. They could, for example, be used to remove oil residues from water. The scientists have published their results in the journal "Angewandte Chemie". Tue, 21 May 2019 05:32:00 +0000 Compositional Design of Multi-component Alloys by High-throughput Screening Recently, multi-component materials have become one of the most promising materials in the engineering and biomedical applications. Compared with traditional alloys, the composition design of multi-component materials is more complicated, and lots of alloys with different compositions need to be prepared and tested. Wed, 15 May 2019 05:30:00 +0000 New Method Enables “Photographing” of Enzymes Scientists at the University of Bonn have developed a method with which an enzyme at work can be “photographed”. Their method makes it possible to better understand the function of important biomolecules. The researchers also hope to gain insights into the causes of certain enzyme disorders. The study will be published in the journal Chemistry - A European Journal and is already available online. Tue, 14 May 2019 08:07:00 +0000 Recording Embryonic Developement The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ layers. Out of these, the different tissues, organs and body parts of the new organism are formed. But what ensures that this process really results in cells with different functions, which, in addition, end up at the right place in the growing organism? Tue, 14 May 2019 06:54:00 +0000 Webinar: Single Cell Injection, Deposition and Aspiration One of the challenges in single cell biology is to address and manipulate single cells locally while being able to monitor their reaction after the manipulation. Mon, 13 May 2019 07:50:00 +0000 Personalized Infection Medicine Taking the Example of Hepatitis E Virus Infection Nowadays, there are plenty of specific, antiretroviral treatment options for the therapy of HIV-infected patients available. They all inhibit propagation of the virus in the patient and reduce viral loads. However, they differ in the way they act on the virus. Some impede the virus from entering the cell, while some prevent it from influencing cellular processes to its advantage. Others interfere with the release of newly produced viral particles from the infected cell. Fri, 10 May 2019 08:59:00 +0000 DNA Nanostructures Designed for Drug Delivery Remain a Technical Challenge Many studies indicating that DNA nanostructures can enter cells more readily than simple DNA strands are flawed, according to researchers at McGill University. In a paper published in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Central Science, the McGill scientists demonstrate that many DNA cage nanostructures aren’t taken up by cells to a significant extent. Fri, 10 May 2019 05:52:00 +0000 Novel Molecular Multi-step Photoswitches Caught in the Act Scientists from the University of Groningen, the University of Amsterdam, the University of Twente (all in the Netherlands) and the European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy in Italy, have been able to follow the entire sequence of structural transformations in a new class of molecular switc Thu, 09 May 2019 11:23:00 +0000 Artificial Intelligence for the Development of a Robotics Ecosystem for Design and Manufacturing More and more powerful sensors and actuators are turning the vision of highly mobile, intelligent and autonomous systems into a reality. As a result, the complexity of robot systems is steadily rising, thus developers are facing ever greater challenges to cope with this complexity. Acoordingly, the development costs are increasing, making the design of customized robots for specific applications especially difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises. Wed, 08 May 2019 11:44:00 +0000 New Approach for Solving Protein Structures from Tiny Crystals Using x-rays to reveal the atomic-scale 3-D structures of proteins has led to countless advances in understanding how these molecules work in bacteria, viruses, plants, and humans-and has guided the development of precision drugs to combat diseases such as cancer and AIDS. But many proteins can't be grown into crystals large enough for their atomic arrangements to be deciphered. To tackle this challenge, scientists at the U.S. Mon, 06 May 2019 11:43:00 +0000 A Question of Time A team led by the Freiburg biologists Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schamel and Prof. Dr. Wilfried Weber conducted an experiment in which they controlled the duration of the interaction of a specific protein with T cells, a type of white blood cells, thereby showing how the immune system differentiates between self and non-self molecules. Mon, 06 May 2019 08:17:00 +0000 Pluripotency or Differentiation Induced pluripotent stem cells can turn into any type of cell in the body or remain in their original form. In the current edition of Molecular Cell, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum München describe how cells "decide" which of these two directions to take. During their research, they identified a protein and a ribonucleic acid (RNA) that play a highly significant role in this process. Thu, 02 May 2019 15:10:00 +0000 Specialized Plant Cells Regain Stem-cell Features to Heal Wounds If plants are injured, cells adjacent to the wound fill the gaps with their daughter cells. However, which cells divide to do the healing and how they manage to produce cells that match the cell type of the missing tissue has been unclear. Scientists from the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have now shown that to correctly replace dead cells, neighbors to the inside of the wound re-activate their stem cell programs. Thu, 02 May 2019 14:31:00 +0000 Susceptibility to Disease Develops during Childhood Traumatized children and children who develop multiple allergies tend to suffer in adulthood from chronic inflammatory diseases and psychiatric disorders. Researchers at the Universities of Zurich and Lausanne have demonstrated this in a study in which they identified five classes of early immune-system programming. Mon, 29 Apr 2019 12:49:00 +0000 Flexible Circuits for 3D Printing A research cooperation between the University of Hamburg and DESY has developed a process suitable for 3D printing that can be used to produce transparent and mechanically flexible electronic circuits. The electronics consists of a mesh of silver nanowires that can be printed in suspension and embedded in various flexible and transparent plastics (polymers). Fri, 26 Apr 2019 12:43:00 +0000 Chemists Invent New Lewis Acidity Test Using Fluorescence York University chemists have invented a new fluorescence-based method for accurately determining the strength of a range of Lewis acids, which could one day be used to help purify pharmaceutical drugs, improve industrial processes and explore next-generation technologies, according to a new chemistry study. Fri, 26 Apr 2019 07:38:00 +0000 Creating Artificial Mother-of-pearl Using Bacteria The strongest synthetic materials are often those that intentionally mimic nature. One natural substance scientists have looked to in creating synthetic materials is nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl. An exceptionally tough, stiff material produced by some mollusks and serving as their inner shell layer, it also comprises the outer layer of pearls, giving them their lustrous shine. But while nacre’s unique properties make it an ideal inspiration in the creation of synthetic materials, most methods used to produce artificial nacre are complex and energy intensive. Wed, 24 Apr 2019 10:00:00 +0000 Blocking Endocytosis in Plants Plant cells absorb many important substances through a process called endocytosis. In plants, endocytosis is essential for nutrient uptake, passing on cellular signals and plant-microbe interactions. However, the vital nature of endocytosis makes it challenging to study using methods from classical genetics. Small molecules targeting this process are a good alternative for such studies but in plants, they are lacking. Wed, 24 Apr 2019 08:44:00 +0000 Heterogeneous Catalyst Goes Enzymatic What if there were no tunnels in the Swiss Alps? Anyone trying to travel through them would have to go up and down hills and zigzag around the ranges. A lot more energy and time is saved to pass through a tunnel than to climb a mountain. This is similar to how catalysts work: they speed up the chemical reactions by lowering the energy required to reach the desired physical state. In industrial manufacturing processes, heterogeneous catalysis, which typically involves the use of solid catalysts placed in a liquid or gas reaction mixture, finds many potential applications. Tue, 23 Apr 2019 06:59:00 +0000 Ajoene: An Antibiotic Stable Component Found in Garlic An efficient, robust and reliable method of making ajoene has been developed using easily available starting materials. The remarkable antibacterial properties of this compound have shown great promise and it is hoped that this breakthrough will accelerate efforts to produce ajoene in larger volumes and to better test its effectiveness as a therapeutic drug. Thu, 18 Apr 2019 11:43:00 +0000 Bacterial Therapy in a Dish Engineering bacteria to intelligently sense and respond to disease states, from infections to cancer, has become a promising focus of synthetic biology. Rapid advances in genetic engineering tools have enabled researchers to "program" cells to perform various sophisticated tasks. For example, a network of genes can be wired together to form a genetic circuit in which cells can be engineered to sense the environment and modulate their behavior or produce molecules in response. Thu, 18 Apr 2019 07:20:00 +0000 Printing Nanoparticle Shapes for Medical Applications Personal drug delivery or nano-robotic systems could be a key concept for future medical applications. In this context, scientists around David Ng (Department of Prof. Tanja Weil) of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have recently developed a technology to customize the shapes of polymers and polymeric nanoparticles using DNA. Wed, 17 Apr 2019 07:42:00 +0000 Smart Antioxidant-containing Polymer Responds to Body Chemistry, Environment Oxidants found within living organisms are byproducts of metabolism and are essential to wound-healing and immunity. However, when their concentrations become too high, inflammation and tissue damage can occur. University of Illinois engineers have developed and tested a new drug-delivery system that senses high oxidant levels and responds by administering just the right amount of antioxidant to restore this delicate balance. Wed, 17 Apr 2019 03:37:00 +0000 At the Limits of Detectability While spectroscopic measurements are normally averaged over myriad molecules, a new method developed by researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) provides precise information about the interaction of individual molecules with their environment (PNAS, "Single-molecule excitation–emission spectroscopy"). This will accelerate the identification of efficient molecules for future photovoltaic technologies, for example. Tue, 16 Apr 2019 18:05:00 +0000