Researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Oxford have pioneered a new technique to see exactly how our body's "natural killer" white blood cells actually do their dirty work. It's the first time we've ever been able to see how this element of the body's natural defenses actually works.
Scientists at Glasgow University are on a mission to create a form of life from inorganic molecules. The team, led by Professor Lee Cronin, has demonstrated a way of creating an inorganic cell, in which internal membranes control the movement of energy and materials, just as in a living cell. These cells can also store electricity and could be used in medicine and chemistry as sensors or to contain chemical reactions.
Next time you take your temperature, maybe think twice about its accuracy. Despite what the mercury says, not all of your cells are really at 98.6 degrees, scientists reported in a new study. Using nanoscale thermometers, researchers have shown for the first time that living cells can exist at different temperatures. Busy sections are warmer, and less-active ones are cooler.
A new broad-spectrum treatment for viruses could be as effective as antibiotics fighting bacteria, MIT researchers report. The method uses cells’ own defense systems to induce invaded cells to commit suicide, preventing the spread of the virus. In lab tests, the new drug completely cured mice that had been infected with influenza.
By Caitlin Kearney
Posted 06.17.2011 at 11:08 am 6 Comments
Biologists have studied cell division for decades, yet the mechanics of how cells physically separate from one another have remained largely a mystery. To better understand the mechanism, molecular cell biologist Daniel Gerlich of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, along with colleagues from Switzerland and Germany, scanned dividing cells at various angles with electron beams.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital built a living laser partly to study interactions between electronic and biological systems, and partly out of sheer curiosity. The world’s first biological laser, made from a single living cell, could lead to better microscope imaging inside the body and even targeted light therapies, researchers say.
Algae live inside the cells of salamanders, in the most intimate symbiotic relationship ever seen involving a vertebrate species. The algae live in developing salamander embyros and might help them grow, researchers say.
The spotted salamander lays its eggs in ponds, where a species of green algae called Oophila amblystomatis, an “egg-loving” unicellular alga, infiltrates the egg capsules.
Anyone who has ever donated blood has learned his or her blood type, such as AB, O negative, etc., which will be matched to a recipient with the same blood type. If blood types do not match, a recipient’s immune system could reject the transfusion, a potentially fatal proposition. But a new method masks the type of donated red blood cells, possibly eliminating the need to test types and making it easier to give and receive blood.
Any immunology textbook will tell you that once a virus enters a cell, the only way to knock that virus out is to kill the entire cell. But a new study from the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge has shown a way to kill a virus from within the cell, leaving the virus defeated and the cell victorious and intact.
Taking cues from slime molds, ants, and living biological cells, a team of University of Pittsburgh researchers has designed a system of artificial cells that can communicate with one another and cooperate to carry out tasks. The computer models they've devised could lead to artificial cellular systems that perform highly specialized jobs at the microscopic level.
Watching grass grow is way more interesting than you think. In an effort to understand cellular development in plants, a team of French scientists made a surprisingly exciting video animation of grass growing at the cellular scale.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a crucial diagnostic tool and an all-around cool technology that creates three-dimensional views of living tissues without being invasive or harming living tissues. But MRI is also limited; while telescopes see further and further into the cosmos and microscopes see smaller and smaller bodies, MRI can only go so small. But now, by blending atomic force microscopy with MRI's 3-D capabilities, MIT researchers are making a 3-D microscope 100 times more powerful than hospital MRI machines.
When it comes to your living cells size does indeed matter, and a team of MIT and Harvard scientists has figured out how to measure them with unprecedented accuracy. Using a sensor that is sensitive enough to weigh a single cell, the team managed to record the rate at which cells accrue mass over time, data that could help them establish the mechanisms by which single cells grow and how those processes fail when cells turn cancerous.
A new nanoprobe can slip stealthily into a cell and give researchers an opening to monitor the cell's insides for up to a week. That could make the tiny inorganic device the first to implant within a cell without damaging it.
Scientists have already created mini-cyborgs out of living cells and semiconductor materials, but now biological cells can also contain tiny silicon chips. Those silicon chips could become future intracellular sensors that monitor microscopic activities, deliver drugs to target cells or even repair cell structures, according to Nanowerk.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.