At the recent ARVO meeting, one of the symposia that I live tweeted from was on “Nanotechnology for Drug and Gene Delivery.” During his presentation on “Nanomedicines: From Bench to Bedside” Vladimir Torchilin from Northeastern described how nanotechnology can use methods from other scientific disciplines including layer-by-layer (LbL) polymer chemistry.
Which leads me into an interesting paper that came across my desk from Zhiyong Poon and colleagues at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.
In their paper published online on April 23, 2011 in ACS Nano. they describe how nanoparticles with a pH-sheddable layer can be used to target tumor hypoxia.
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Poon, Z., Chang, D., Zhao, X., & Hammond, P. (2011) Layer-by-Layer Nanoparticles with a pH-Sheddable Layer for Targeting of Tumor Hypoxia . ACS Nano, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/nn200876f
The Third BHD Symposium has been discussed a lot in the blog and it is now only 5 days away! Final preparations are underway for the meeting, which will be held in Maastricht, the Netherlands on 11th and 12th May. … Continue reading →... Read more »
Lee & Hasagawa (2011) use phylogenetic methods to trace the origins of Japonic languages and dialects.... Read more »
Lee S, & Hasegawa T. (2011) Bayesian phylogenetic analysis supports an agricultural origin of Japonic languages. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society. PMID: 21543358
Gray, R., Drummond, A., & Greenhill, S. (2009) Language Phylogenies Reveal Expansion Pulses and Pauses in Pacific Settlement. Science, 323(5913), 479-483. DOI: 10.1126/science.1166858
On The Science Show they recently had a program about how unfamiliar sounds, rhythms and tonalities can drive people crazy. I learnt that neuroscientists have been experimenting with the idea that when confronted with unfamiliar musical patterns the brain releases … Continue reading →... Read more »
Lehrer, Jonah. (2007) Proust was a neuroscientist. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. info:/
When we talk about plant traits here we are usually referring to things like characterization and evaluation descriptors, and how they vary within crops. But there’s an ambitious initiative underway to document “the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical, and phenological characteristics of plants and their organs” — some 1500 of them — across the world’s entire [...]... Read more »
Moles, A., Wallis, I., Foley, W., Warton, D., Stegen, J., Bisigato, A., Cella-Pizarro, L., Clark, C., Cohen, P., Cornwell, W.... (2011) Putting plant resistance traits on the map: a test of the idea that plants are better defended at lower latitudes. New Phytologist. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03732.x
In a recent study the authors compared reflective writing produced either by an electronic (blog) format or a traditional written (essay). Students during their internal medicine clerkship participated in this study. The reflective essay was followed by a faculty moderated small group discussion. In the other condition the students had to post two writings to [...]
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Fischer, M., Haley, H., Saarinen, C., & Chretien, K. (2011) Comparison of blogged and written reflections in two medicine clerkships. Medical Education, 45(2), 166-175. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2010.03814.x
Center of Milky Way. Credit: Stefan Gillessen, Reinhard Genzel, Frank EisenhauerKnowing distance to Sgr A* (Ro) is very important, because it sets the distance scale for every other distance within Milky Way. The total Galaxy's mass, the Sun's orbital velocity, and luminosities of distant stars rely upon the accurate measurement of Ro.A variety of methods have been employed by astronomers to determine Ro. These can be separated into three broad categories: 1. The Shapley method of using “standard candles” measurements of objects thought to be in spherical distribution around the core; 2. Computational methods that combine observations with Galactic models to arrive at a distance; 3. Direct measurements to objects at the Galactic center. I will focus on recent advances in direct measurement techniques.The recent advances in infrared astronomy, such as adaptive optics and imaging spectroscopy, allowed high-resolution imaging of the galactic center with 0.025" angular resolution, which corresponds to a spatial resolution less than 200 AU. With such instrumentation, the orbits of stars in vicinity of Sgr A* can be precisely measured. It is safely to say that Sgr A* provides all of the gravitational attraction in the nearby region, and the motion stars in close proximity is governed solely by this object. Therefore, direct observation of this motion can provide the mass and distance estimates for Sgr A*.Ghez et al. (1998) using specially processed near-infrared imagery from the 10 m W. M. Keck telescope identified the position of 90 stars in within 6”x6” region near SgrA*. By following the stars over 2 years, they were able to show that those close to SgrA* have radial velocities as high as 1400 +/- 100 km/s. The high orbital velocities and closeness of the orbits to the central mass allowed Ghez estimate it as 2.6 ± 0.2 x10^6 Msun.With the mass of the central object estimated, and several years of baseline position and velocity data in hand, Samir and Gould (1999) proposed a direct geometrical method for determination of R0, based on Kepler laws. The similar method has been used for decades to estimate the masses of, and distances to, visual binaries.Keplerian methodsThe problem with using Keplerian methods is that we do not directly measure the size of the orbits of distant stars. Instead, we measure the proper motions, which is a measurement of angle rather than length. We also need to know the orbital inclinations.Using only the proper motions and orbital periods of the stars near Sgr A*, we could only derive the ratio mass Sgr A*/R0^3.... Read more »
Gillessen, S., Eisenhauer, F., Trippe, S., Alexander, T., Genzel, R., Martins, F., & Ott, T. (2009) MONITORING STELLAR ORBITS AROUND THE MASSIVE BLACK HOLE IN THE GALACTIC CENTER. The Astrophysical Journal, 692(2), 1075-1109. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/692/2/1075
F. Eisenhauer, R. Genzel, T. Alexander, R. Abuter, T. Paumard, T. Ott, A. Gilbert, S. Gillessen, M. Horrobin, S. Trippe.... (2005) SINFONI in the Galactic Center: young stars and IR flares in the central light month. Astrophys.J. 628 (2005) 246-259. arXiv: astro-ph/0502129v1
Discussion of some psychological research into the emotional underpinnings of creationism... Read more »
Tracy, J., Hart, J., & Martens, J. (2011) Death and Science: The Existential Underpinnings of Belief in Intelligent Design and Discomfort with Evolution. PLoS ONE, 6(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017349
A cool inattentional blindness experiment from [...]... Read more »
Kuhn, G., Tatler, B., & Cole, G. (2009) You look where I look! Effect of gaze cues on overt and covert attention in misdirection. Visual Cognition, 17(6), 925-944. DOI: 10.1080/13506280902826775
Hyman, I., Boss, S., Wise, B., McKenzie, K., & Caggiano, J. (2009) Did you see the unicycling clown? Inattentional blindness while walking and talking on a cell phone. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24(5), 597-607. DOI: 10.1002/acp.1638
Guest Post: Introducing Lassa virus, the forgotten Ebola brother.... Read more »
Neural crest cells are transitory, making them difficult to study. Dr. Alexey Terskikh and colleagues show how the SOX2 gene controls their differentiation into neurons.... Read more »
Cimadamore F, Fishwick K, Giusto E, Gnedeva K, Cattarossi G, Miller A, Pluchino S, Brill LM, Bronner-Fraser M, & Terskikh AV. (2011) Human ESC-Derived Neural Crest Model Reveals a Key Role for SOX2 in Sensory Neurogenesis . Cell Stem Cell, 8(5), 538-551. info:/doi:10.1016/j.stem.2011.03.011
Regenerative medicine and stem cell research go hand-in-hand when it comes to dreaming up future strategies for treating disease and injury in humans. Today’s image is from a recent Development paper discussing how damaged heart tissue regenerates in zebrafish, and serves as a great model for devising strategies to help human heart attack patients. When [...]... Read more »
Gonzalez-Rosa, J., Martin, V., Peralta, M., Torres, M., & Mercader, N. (2011) Extensive scar formation and regression during heart regeneration after cryoinjury in zebrafish. Development, 138(9), 1663-1674. DOI: 10.1242/dev.060897
For baboons, running away from home is something a boy is expected to do. Most baboon species rely on young males leaving the social group they’re born into and starting or joining another group to disperse genes and ensure diversity. In one species, though, the hamadryas baboon (Papio hamadryas) of northeast Africa, genetic evidence suggests [...]... Read more »
Pines M, & Swedell L. (2011) Not without a fair fight: failed abductions of females in wild hamadryas baboons. Primates; journal of primatology. PMID: 21359653
by Moselio Schaechter in Small Things Considered
by Merry Youle
Given the streamlined genomes and the frugal nature of the Bacteria and Archaea, one might expect their proteins to be short and to the point. However, a survey of the 580 prokaryotic sequenced genomes available in 2008 found many genes apparently encoding large proteins. Specifically, 0.2% of the ORFs (3732 genes) were longer than 5 kb. Of those, 80 were truly giants—more than 20 kb! These mammoths were found scattered about in 47 taxa in 8 different phyla. The longest two, both from the green sulfur bacterium Chlorobium chlorochromatii CaD3, encode proteins containing 36,806 and 20,647 amino acids, respectively.... Read more »
Just how bad is pollution? A little head scratching could yield an answer. Ad hoc and non-systematic collection of air and water samples provide some useful information and underpin a wide range of environmental pollution studies. However, scientists have been scratching their heads for years hoping to come up with a better way of monitoring [...]Just how bad is pollution? is a post from: Sciencebase Science Blog
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Zaichick, S., & Zaichick, V. (2011) The scalp hair as a monitor for trace elements in biomonitoring of atmospheric pollution. International Journal of Environment and Health, 5(1/2), 106. DOI: 10.1504/IJENVH.2011.039860
by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator
There is a pattern in medical malpractice litigation: people want to trust their doctors. This pattern is something observed in our own experience, in human psychology, and in attitudes toward malpractice trials. Plaintiffs only win when jurors are able to overcome that trust. The best thing that doctor-defendants have in their corner is jurors' strong pull toward trusting the doctor. Job number one in a medical malpractice defense is to avoid any behavior that could lead fact-finders to abandon that trust.
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Vidmar N. (2009) Juries and medical malpractice claims: empirical facts versus myths. Clinical orthopaedics and related research, 467(2), 367-75. PMID: 19002541
A new paper has just been published on the mechanisms associated with BRAF resistance by Corcoran et al., (2011). One of the things I liked about this paper, other than it’s clarity and simplicity, is that you can find it … Continue reading →
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Corcoran RB, Settleman J, & Engelman JA. (2011) Potential Therapeutic Strategies to Overcome Acquired Resistance to BRAF or MEK Inhibitors in BRAF Mutant Cancers. Oncotarget. PMID: 21505228
As the world keeps moving forward, our energy requirements are constantly increasing. Our cities and towns are consuming terawatt after terawatt, and as new technology comes online and old technology improves, the rate of consumption only grows. Surely, an incredibly advanced alien civilization that had a fairly sophisticated infrastructure for the last few million years [...]... Read more »
In January 2011, Junchang Lü, David Unwin, Charles Deeming and colleagues published their Science paper on the amazing discovery of an egg-adult association in the Jurassic pterosaur Darwinopterus (Lü et al. 2011) [the specimen is shown here: image courtesy of Junchang Lü, Institute of Geology, Beijing, used with permission]. Darwinopterus is the incredible 'transitional pterosaur', first unveiled to the world in October 2009 and rapidly becoming one of the most important pterosaurs of all in terms of what we're learning from it.
As I discussed in a Tet Zoo article published in February, Lü et al.'s egg-adult discovery not only adds another confirmed pterosaur egg to the rather paltry global record, it also provides new data on pterosaur sexual dimorphism and, by inference, behaviour and biology. However, that wasn't the whole story, and here I complete what I started a few months ago. Why the delay? All will be explained below... Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Lü J, Unwin DM, Deeming DC, Jin X, Liu Y, & Ji Q. (2011) An egg-adult association, gender, and reproduction in pterosaurs. Science (New York, N.Y.), 331(6015), 321-4. PMID: 21252343
There is an unusual, and mostly forgotten monument in a shaded area at the edge of the Boston Public Garden in downtown Boston. It was completed in 1868, and, like many other monuments built during the 19th century, it features classical statuary, granite columns, and biblical inscriptions. But unlike any other monument in the world, it memorializes a drug. The inscription on the front face of the monument reads: “To commemorate that the inhaling of ether causes insensibility to pain. First proved to the world at the Mass. General Hospital in Boston, October A.D. MDCCCXLV”... Read more »
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