Laboratory Journal – Business Web for Users in Science and Industry en Inert Nitrogen Forced to React with Itself Direct coupling of two molecules of nitrogen: chemists from Würzburg and Frankfurt have achieved what was thought to be impossible. This new reaction is reported in Science magazine and opens new possibilities for one of the most inert molecules on earth. Thu, 21 Mar 2019 18:18:00 +0000 To Proliferate or not to Proliferate The brains of different mammals vary significantly in size. During human evolution, the size of the brain and the number of neurons therein increased profoundly, especially in a particular region called the neocortex, which is the seat of our higher cognitive abilities. Neurons are generated by neural progenitor cells, and more neural progenitors means more neurons and a bigger brain. Past studies had implicated one specific class of neural progenitors, called basal progenitors, as a key driver of neocortex expansion. Thu, 21 Mar 2019 18:17:00 +0000 Artificial Chemical DNA Switch Helps Understand Epigenetic Mechanisms Researchers from the Czech Academy of Sciences and Charles University constructed an artificial chemical DNA switch and made the first step towards artificial epigenetics - targeted switching on and off of genes. Their paper was recently published in the journal Chemical Science. An epigenetic switch regulates DNA transcription Thu, 21 Mar 2019 14:34:00 +0000 Photocatalytic Water Treatment More than three decades ago, when researchers began exploring photocatalysis as a way to purify water, efforts were buoyed by a wave of optimism within academia. An abundance of research (more than 8,000 research papers since 2000), though, hasn’t yet translated to widespread industry use. To take a closer look at this gap, the Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment Systems center (NEWT) organized a workshop to take a hard look at the technology and assess its real-world value. Wed, 20 Mar 2019 19:32:00 +0000 Protein BRCA1 as a Stress Coach Anyone who has ever studied the molecular basis of breast cancer will probably have heard of the abbreviation BRCA1 – this is a protein that protects the cells of breast tissue against cancer. Surprisingly, this protein can also have an opposite effect: In another type of cancer, neuroblastoma, it helps to keep the tumour stable. This is what research groups from Würzburg, Göttingen and the Netherlands report in Nature. Wed, 20 Mar 2019 19:13:00 +0000 New Technique for In-cell Distance Determination Researchers from the University of Konstanz, Bielefeld University and ETH Zurich demonstrate for the first time that the pulsed EPR technique RIDME (relaxation-induced dipolar modulation enhancement) can be used for in-cell distance determination in biomacromolecules. Tue, 19 Mar 2019 15:48:00 +0000 Scientists Hunt Down the Brain Circuit Responsible for Alcohol Cravings Scientists at Scripps Research have found that they can reverse the desire to drink in alcohol-dependent rats--with the flip of a switch. The researchers were able to use lasers to temporarily inactivate a specific neuronal population, reversing alcohol-seeking behavior and even reducing the physical symptoms of withdrawal. Tue, 19 Mar 2019 13:38:00 +0000 Oscillation in Muscle Tissue Muscle stem cells have to be ready to spring into action at any time: When a muscle becomes injured, for example, during a sports activity, it is their responsibility to develop new muscle cells as quickly as possible. When a muscle grows, because its owner is still growing too or has started to do more sports, the conversion of stem cells is also required. Fri, 15 Mar 2019 18:41:00 +0000 Solar-powered Moisture Harvester Collects and Cleans Water from Air Access to clean water remains one of the biggest challenges facing humankind. A breakthrough by engineers at The University of Texas at Austin may offer a new solution through solar-powered technology that absorbs moisture from the air and returns it as clean, usable water. The breakthrough, described in a recent issue of the journal Advanced Materials, could be used in disaster situations, water crises or poverty-stricken areas and developing countries. Fri, 15 Mar 2019 17:59:00 +0000 Storing Energy with Eggshells Biowaste in the form of chicken egg shells proves to be very effective for energy storage. In the journal Dalton Transactions, of the Royal Society of Chemistry, scientists present the sustainable storage material that could make a low-cost lithium ion capacitor possible. Thu, 14 Mar 2019 17:02:00 +0000 Converting Biomass by Applying Mechanical Force One of the greatest global challenges is the efficient use of renewable sources in order to meet the increasing demand for energy and feedstock chemicals in the future. In this context, biomass is a promising alternative to existing fossil sources such as coal or oil. Cellulose plays a decisive role here because it accounts for the largest fraction of the natural carbon storage. These reservoirs are crucial for the production of both fuels and basic chemicals. In order to utilize its full potential, the chain-like structure of cellulose must be broken up. Thu, 14 Mar 2019 16:45:00 +0000 Defects Help Nanomaterial Soak Up More Pollutant in Less Time Cleaning pollutants from water with a defective filter sounds like a non-starter, but a recent study by chemical engineers at Rice University found that the right-sized defects helped a molecular sieve soak up more perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in less time. Wed, 13 Mar 2019 16:49:00 +0000 Lab Grown ‘Brains’ Successfully Model Disease Scientists were able to model a developmental disorder called neuronal heterotopia which can lead to intellectual disability and epilepsy. They used a model of brain development called brain organoids where human cells organize themselves in the petri dish into brain-like structures. Brain organoids enabled the researchers to accurately recapitulate the disease in the lab. They discovered that the cells derived from individuals affected by the disease, had a different morphology and navigation system. The downsides of animal brain models Tue, 12 Mar 2019 14:43:00 +0000 Polluted Air Shortens the Lifespan of Europeans by about Two Years Air pollution is clearly underestimated as a health hazard, notwithstanding the heated discussion about diesel cars, nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter. Tue, 12 Mar 2019 14:34:00 +0000 Pittcon 2019 – New Products from Analytik Jena Prioritize Customer Focus At this year’s Pittcon in Philadelphia, USA, Analytik Jena is emphasizing its customer focus. Mon, 11 Mar 2019 19:11:00 +0000 Driving Water Down Nanohighways Removing water vapor from air and other gas mixtures, which is crucial for many industrial processes and air conditioning, could become cheaper and more effective through polymer membrane technology now developed at KAUST. Mon, 11 Mar 2019 14:07:00 +0000 Binding with Consequences A research team led by Prof. Dr. Winfried Römer and Dr. Wed, 06 Mar 2019 18:28:00 +0000 A New Way to Map Cell Regulatory Networks A new mathematical method developed by researchers at Cincinnati Children's and New York University may soon make it much easier to conduct more of the complex data analysis needed to drive advances in the exploding field of personalized medicine. Tue, 05 Mar 2019 19:02:00 +0000 Turning Algae into Fuel Biofuel experts have long sought a more economically viable way to turn algae into biocrude oil to power vehicles, ships and even jets. University of Utah researchers believe they have found an answer. They have developed an unusually rapid method to deliver cost-effective algal biocrude in large quantities using a specially-designed jet mixer. Tue, 05 Mar 2019 14:00:00 +0000 Live Webinar: Characterising and Monitoring Materials Developed for Use in Extreme Environments In heavily regulated industries, such as automotive and aerospace, there is a continuous requirement to limit environmental impact, reduce costs and increase safety. As a result these industries drive the ongoing development and corresponding testing of new materials to meet these challenging requirements. This encompasses developing new materials which are both lightweight (optimising fuel economy) and with increased strength for improved safety often operating in extreme environments such as aircraft turbines. Tue, 05 Mar 2019 09:57:00 +0000 Mass Spectrometry Tracks Tiny Amounts of Sulfur in Antarctic Ice Cores An instrument for analyzing isotopes that is sensitive enough to detect trace amounts of sulfates in Antarctic ice cores has been developed by RIKEN researchers. Its sensitivity allows it to monitor environmental changes with a resolution of 1 year. Tue, 05 Mar 2019 07:10:00 +0000 Light Pulses Provide a New Route to Enhance Superconductivity Materials known as Mott insulators are odd things. Under normal electron band theory they ought to conduct electricity, but they do not, due to interactions among their electrons. But now, scientists from the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research have shown that pulses of light could be used to turn these materials beyond simple conductors to superconductors--materials that conduct electricity without energy loss. Mon, 04 Mar 2019 14:51:00 +0000 New Chemical Probes Advance Search for New Antibiotics Indiana University researchers are advancing knowledge about how bacteria build their cell walls that could contribute to the search for new antibacterial drugs. They have created a new tool to observe living cells in real time under a microscope. Current state of antibiotics-developement Mon, 04 Mar 2019 14:48:00 +0000 Open-source Software Tracks Neural Activity in Real Time Tracking the firings of individual neurons is like trying to discern who is saying what in a football stadium full of screaming fans. Until recently, neuroscientists have had to tediously track each neuron by hand. Thu, 28 Feb 2019 16:50:00 +0000 New Microfluidics Device Can Detect Cancer Cells in Blood Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Queensland University of Technology of Australia, have developed a device that can isolate individual cancer cells from patient blood samples. The microfluidic device works by separating the various cell types found in blood by their size. The device may one day enable rapid, cheap liquid biopsies to help detect cancer and develop targeted treatment plans. Thu, 28 Feb 2019 16:37:00 +0000