Editor’s Selections: Atomic force microscopy, and hijacking dendritic cells

Editor's Selections 3 Comments
By Vincent Racaniello

Vincent RacanielloVincent Racaniello selects several notable posts each week from molecular and cellular biology and virology. He unravels viruses at virology blog.

<img title=”Vincent Racaniello” src=”http://researchblogging.org/news/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/smallvincent.jpg” alt=”Vincent Racaniello” width=”47″ height=”47″ />Vincent Racaniello selects several notable posts each week from molecular and cellular biology and virology. He writes about viruses at <a href=”http://www.virology.ws” target=”_blank”>virology blog</a>.
  • Light microscopes do not provide sufficient resolution to explore the details of cells. In atomic force microscopy a very fine tip (atoms in diameter) attached to a cantilever is used to “feel” the surface of a sample.
  • Pathogenic microbes often produce surface structures that modulate the action of complement. Lyme disease Borrelia strains produce such proteins, but they also get help from a protein found in the saliva of ticks.
  • When HIV-1 encounters a dendritic cell, it is taken up into invaginations of the plasma membrane called exosomes. When the dendritic cell travels to the lymph node, it unwittingly delivers the virus to its preferred target, the T cell.

I’ll be back next Friday with more selections.

Editor’s Selections: Science of Superheroes, The Problem with Mobile Apps, and Imaging the Brain’s Acidity

Editor's Selections 7 Comments
By Sarah Kendrew

Sarah Kendrew Sarah Kendrew selects interesting and notable ResearchBlogging.org posts in the physical sciences, chemistry, engineering, computer science, geosciences and mathematics. She blogs about astronomy at One Small Step.

Here are some great reads from the last week on ResearchBlogging in the physical sciences.

Like the rest of the world’s population, I watched Avengers last week and really enjoyed it. So a study on the science of superheroes obviously caught my eye. A fun read from Cath on Basal Science Clarified.

On O’Really, Duncan Hull raises some very good points about the way mobile apps are needlessly reinventing the wheel.

Neuroskeptic describes some cool new research that allows neuroscientists to visualise acidity changes in the brain using MRI technology.

That’s it for now. I’ll be back next week with more selections!

Editor’s Selections: Reopening Graves and Understanding Attraction

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By Krystal D'Costa

Krystal D'Costa Krystal D’Costa selects notable ResearchBlogging.org posts in the social sciences, covering anthropology, research, and philosophy. She blogs about anthropology, technology, and urban life at Anthropology in Practice. Follow her on Twitter @krystaldcosta.

The selection for this week covers the last two weeks:

  • Contextual clues are important in archaeology. And at Bones Don’t Lie, Katy Meyers highlights how a geoarchaeology approach can reveal how a tomb was treated—whether it was reopened and how many times. With time, this information may be linked to other tomb elements that can possibly shed more light on funerary practices.
  • At EvoAnth, Adam Benton delves into attraction, asking what appeals to us and why. He does a fine job of rounding out the discussion by explaining this study against the backdrop of both evolutionary psychology and human behavioral ecology.

Until next time, folks. I’ll be back next week with more from anthropology, philosophy, and research.

Editor’s Selections: Validity of fMRI results, Dinosaur extinction, and the careers of Physics PhDs

Editor's Selections 3 Comments
By Sarah Kendrew

Sarah Kendrew Sarah Kendrew selects interesting and notable ResearchBlogging.org posts in the physical sciences, chemistry, engineering, computer science, geosciences and mathematics. She blogs about astronomy at One Small Step.

Here are some choice physical sciences picks from the last week on ResearchBlogging!

Neuroskeptic discusses recent research about the rates of false positive detections in functional MRI data. With fMRI a hot topic in subjects from neuroscience to the law these days, it’s an interesting read with good discussion in the comments.

In the geological sciences, GrrlScientist talks about new methods in paleontology for studying the extinction of dinosaurs, with some interesting new outcomes.

A more community-oriented post by Nick Nelson on the Eternal Universe blog looks at a study of career progression of physics PhDs. The numbers are stark, the lessons all the more important.

That’s it for the week. I’ll be back next Monday with more selections.

Editor’s Selections: Properties of eyeliner, Rituals, Tales told by pottery, and Roman diets

Editor's Selections 7 Comments
By Krystal D'Costa

Krystal D'Costa Krystal D’Costa selects notable ResearchBlogging.org posts in the social sciences, covering anthropology, research, and philosophy. She blogs about anthropology, technology, and urban life at Anthropology in Practice. Follow her on Twitter @krystaldcosta.

The selection for this week covers the last two weeks:

  • We might not give much thought to eyeliner today, dismissing it as a beauty product that highlights and enhances the eye, but the ancient Egyptians had a different purpose for lining their eyes: preventing eye infections. At Body Horrors, Rebecca Kreston has the scoop on the antibacterial properties of kohl.
  • Rituals permeate our daily lives. Why do certain rituals persist over others? Eric Horow reports on a recent study at Peer Reviewed by My Neurons investigating how we evaluate the effectiveness of rituals.
  • Researchers are tracing ancestral links between the Philippines and the Marianas through pottery. A study discussed at Imprints of Philippine Science traces the connections revealed by pottery shards.
  • Want to eat like a Roman? At Powered by Osteons, Kristina Killgrove prepares a meal based on skeletal isotope information highlighting the wealth of data that can be drawn from different sources.

Until next time, folks. I’ll be back next week with more from anthropology, philosophy, and research.

Editor’s Selections: Prions, more than brain rot, neuraminidase inhibitors, and cholera

Editor's Selections 2 Comments
By Vincent Racaniello

Vincent RacanielloVincent Racaniello selects several notable posts each week from molecular and cellular biology and virology. He unravels viruses at virology blog.

<img title=”Vincent Racaniello” src=”http://researchblogging.org/news/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/smallvincent.jpg” alt=”Vincent Racaniello” width=”47″ height=”47″ />Vincent Racaniello selects several notable posts each week from molecular and cellular biology and virology. He writes about viruses at <a href=”http://www.virology.ws” target=”_blank”>virology blog</a>.
  • In mammals, prions can be bad news: they can morph into infectious pathogens that cause neurologic disease. In other organisms, they are important for gene regulation, particularly for responding to environmental changes.
  • Neuraminidase inhibitors such as Tamiflu will likely be important for defense against avian influenza viruses should they ever establish in humans. Resistance emerges, but usually comes with a fitness cost.
  • The disease cholera is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, which colonizes the intestine and causes massive and potentially lethal diarrhea. In water the bacterium exists as biofilms that colonize plankton, particularly copepods, from which they obtain chitin.

I’ll be back next Friday with more selections.

Editor’s Selections: Robotic Telesurgery in Space, A Cosmic Ray Mystery, and Explosions in the Dark

Editor's Selections 3 Comments
By Sarah Kendrew

Sarah Kendrew Sarah Kendrew selects interesting and notable ResearchBlogging.org posts in the physical sciences, chemistry, engineering, computer science, geosciences and mathematics. She blogs about astronomy at One Small Step.

Here are some highlights from the last week’s postings in the physical sciences and engineering on ResearchBlogging!

Need your appendix removed on a long space journey to a distant exoplanet? With robotic telesurgery, now for the first time demonstrated in zero gravity, this is no longer a problem. Jason Carr describes this exciting advance on Wired Cosmos.

On Miss Atomic Bomb, Kelly discusses the significance of the newly published results from the fascinating ice-bound Antarctic IceCube experiment. It seems like high energy cosmic rays will remain a mystery for some time yet.

What caused supernova SN 2009z? This great post on Supernova Condensate describes this intriguing stellar explosion, which took place in a galaxy where such events are entirely unexpected.

I hope you all have a great week, and I’ll be back next Monday with more picks.

Editor’s Selections: Gut bacteria and diabetes, tracking the plague with bioluminescence, and benign Baylisascariasis

Editor's Selections 7 Comments
By Vincent Racaniello

Vincent RacanielloVincent Racaniello selects several notable posts each week from molecular and cellular biology and virology. He unravels viruses at virology blog.

<img title=”Vincent Racaniello” src=”http://researchblogging.org/news/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/smallvincent.jpg” alt=”Vincent Racaniello” width=”47″ height=”47″ />Vincent Racaniello selects several notable posts each week from molecular and cellular biology and virology. He writes about viruses at <a href=”http://www.virology.ws” target=”_blank”>virology blog</a>.
  • Mice lacking the gene encoding the innate immune sensor TLR2 exhibit insulin-resistance. The cause is an altered gut microbiome, which allows LPS to enter the blood and trigger inflammation.
  • Yersinia pestis was made luminescent by insertion of lux gene and used to track the spread of infection in mice. The approach provides a continuous picture of how infection moves from injection site to target organs.
  • A case of Baylisascariasis in a 73-year-old woman challenges the idea that this infection only targets infants and toddlers. It also emphasizes the importance of autopsies in understanding disease.

I’ll be back next Friday with more selections.

Editor’s Selections: Tool use, Parasitic siblings, Facial expressions, Settlers, and Gaslighting

Editor's Selections 6 Comments
By Krystal D'Costa

Krystal D'Costa Krystal D’Costa selects notable ResearchBlogging.org posts in the social sciences, covering anthropology, research, and philosophy. She blogs about anthropology, technology, and urban life at Anthropology in Practice. Follow her on Twitter @krystaldcosta.

An eclectic collection this week, but all well worth the read:

  • At EvoAnth, Adam Benton wonders whether human ancestors may have mastered tool use earlier than we think. He shares research (containing admittedly scant evidence) that includes a nice discussion of the challenges of this data.
  • Sarah Jane Alger of The Scorpion and the Frog delivers a hair raising tale about obligate brood parasites— insidious offspring that are actually transplants who usurp resources to boost their survival. She asks why these invaders are sometimes murderous and sometimes not, and investigates whether their survival strategy is actually adaptive.
  • The Neuroskeptic maintains that there is a degree of universality to some facial expressions despite the assertions otherwise of a recent paper. The skeptic dissects the study’s results to demonstrate that recognition of “basic” emotions (e.g., happy, sad) is relatively consistent.
  • How much has your hometown changed since you first moved there? At Per Square Mile, Tim DeChant discusses the “last settler syndrome,” explaining how this might color the way we see and remember the spaces around us.
  • Have you been subject to gaslighting? Juliana Breines explains this subtle method of manipulation at Psych Your Mind which may leave you wondering why you believe the things you do.

Until next time, folks. I’ll be back next week with more from anthropology, philosophy, and research.

Editor’s Selections: microDNAs, dead bees and sloppy science, and wiley phage trumps host toxin

Editor's Selections 4 Comments
By Vincent Racaniello

Vincent RacanielloVincent Racaniello selects several notable posts each week from molecular and cellular biology and virology. He unravels viruses at virology blog.

<img title=”Vincent Racaniello” src=”http://researchblogging.org/news/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/smallvincent.jpg” alt=”Vincent Racaniello” width=”47″ height=”47″ />Vincent Racaniello selects several notable posts each week from molecular and cellular biology and virology. He writes about viruses at <a href=”http://www.virology.ws” target=”_blank”>virology blog</a>.
  • A new type of DNA has been discovered in mammalian cells: microDNA. They are extrachromosomal circular DNA molecules, 200-400bp long, derived from non-repetitive genomic sequence. They could lead to large amounts of genetic variation between somatic cells.
  • A flurry of recent scientific papers, and a blizzard of news hype, has led many to conclude that the mystery of colony collapse disorder (CCD), which causes beehives to die suddenly, has been solved. The hypothesis that low amounts of the insecticide imidacloprid are contributing to CCD is plausible, but remains untested.
  • Prokaryotic toxin-antitoxin systems, found on many plasmids and chromosomes, depend on the differential stability of two gene products. The bacteriophage T4 circumvents these systems by producing a gene product that can substitute for the antitoxin.

I’ll be back next Friday with more selections.

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