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Melissa Mahoney: Making Materials to Treat Brain Damage PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 December 2009 15:39
Nerve cell transplants offer tremendous promise for patients who are suffering the effects of stroke, or from Parkinsons disease or other neurodegenerative illnesses.
J. Joseph Kim: Fight to Diseases Learning from Virus PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 December 2009 12:05


Viruses learned how to better infect people over millions of years of evolution; chemical engineer and MBA J. Joseph Kim is using their knowledge to fight other diseases.
Michael Raab:Making Fuel Ethanol More Cheaply PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 November 2009 10:15
Ethanol offers a renewable supply of auto fuel, and it can also reduce pollution. But in the United States, fuel ethanol is made almost exclusively from corn kernels, and it provides little more energy than raising, harvesting, and processing the corn consumes.
Paul Hergenrother: Discovering Drugs that Defy Convention PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 09:32

Paul Hergenrother is a chemist at UIUC who takes on huge, unsolved medical problems: antibiotic resistance, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease. His small-molecule compounds bind tightly to unconventional disease-related targets, deactivating them. For example, Hergenrother found compounds that eliminate plasmids, the DNA rings that deadly bacteria use to spread antibiotic resistance.

Theodore Betley: Re-creating Photosynthesis PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 16 October 2009 08:20

Every day, plants, algae, and bacteria generate more energy than all the world's power plants, using sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen and then storing the energy in sugar molecules. Artificial photosynthes­is--the process of using solar power to split water through the creation of chemical bonds, as plants do--holds promise as a clean, cheap source of hydrogen to power fuel cells. But to make the process practical, researchers must find catalysts to decrease the amount of energy needed.

José Gómez-Márquez: Practical Medical Devices for Use in Poor Countries PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 25 September 2009 09:22

José Gómez-Márquez's lab at MIT seems to be part toy store, part machine shop, and part medical cente­r. Plastic toys are scattered across the bench tops, along with a disassembled drugstore pregnancy test, all manner of syringes, and a slew of fake body parts. Coffee filters have been transformed into paper-based diagnostics; a dime-store helicopter provides the design for a new asthma inhaler; even a toilet plunger has been put to use, rigged with tubes and glue to form a makeshift centrifuge.

C. Shad Thaxton:Nanoparticles Could Treat Cardiovascular Disease by Mimicking “good cholesterol” PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 10:56
To combat cardiovascular disease, Shad Thaxton, an assistant professor of urology from Northwestern University, designed a nanoparticle that may be able to carry cholesterol right out of the body.

Several drugs treat cardiovascular disease by lowering levels of the lipoprotein complex LDL, commonly called "bad cholesterol" because it deposits the cholesterol in blood-vessel walls. But no existing therapies can directly increase HDL, or "good cholesterol," which carries the sticky molecule through the bloodstream and to the liver for excretion.

Michelle Khine: Idears of Easy Production Method for High-tech Diagnostic Chips from a Children’s Toy PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 August 2009 19:54
In 2006, Michelle Khine arrived at the University of California's brand-new Merced campus eager to establish her first lab. She was experimenting with tiny liquid-filled channels in hopes of devising chip-based diagnostic tests, a discipline called microfluidics. The trouble was, the specialized equipment that she previously used to make microfluidic chips cost more than $100,000--money that wasn't immediately available.
Hossam Haick:Sniffing out Cancer PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 August 2009 17:20

Hossam Haick, a senior lecturer in chemical engineering, has created an electronic "nose" that can diagnose cancer in just two or three minutes by analyzing a patient's breath.

Rachel Segalman:Cheap Electricity from Heat PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 July 2009 15:19

Most of the energy in fuels is wasted as heat. But much of that heat could be converted to electricity by "thermoelectric" materials--if they were cheaper and more efficient. Now Rachel Segalman, an assistant professor of chemical engineering, has discovered that cheap organic molecules can be used to generate electricity from heat. So far, the voltage produced is small, but Segalman and colleagues are modifying the molecules and inventing new devices to harness them. Such devices could harvest heat in, say, computers, to extend laptop battery life.

Xudong Wang: Powering the Nanoworld PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 December 2009 15:28

 When Xudong Wang finished his PhD in materials science at Georgia Tech at the end of 2005, he knew he had a good thing going. He opted to stay put in the lab of Zhong Lin Wang (no relation), sure that he and his lab mates were close to creating a new ­nanotech-based generator--an invention they felt could change the future of nanotechnology.

Vijay Pande:Calculate Tiny Portions of a Folding Sequence of Protein in Computer PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 December 2009 12:01
If scientists understood how the body’s proteins folded, they could better battle diseases like Alzheimer’s. But analyzing a protein’s trillions of possible folding steps is daunting, even for a supercomputer.
Alice Ting: Lighting Cellular Movies PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 November 2009 10:10
Alice Ting's movies won't fill any theaters, but they are breaking ground in using what's called "fluorescence imaging" to reveal the minute inner workings of cells in unprecedented cinematic detail.
Hang Lu: Designing Microfluidic Chips to Study Cells PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 09:23
Hang Lu has a flair for adapting to new environments. At 16, she moved from China to Colorado, where she excelled academically. As a postdoc, she applied her expertise in building bioMEMs -- tiny devices that manipulate cells and microorganisms -- to devising innovative experiments in neurobiology.
Erez Lieberman-Aiden:Quantitative Tools Offer New Insights into Evolution PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 16 October 2009 08:14

When Erez Lieberman-Aiden started his PhD in applied math in 2003, evolutionary theory couldn't handle the complex shapes of real-world populations. So he helped it adapt by combining it with specialized mathematical tools. His advances at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology have allowed evolutionary biologists to include more variables in their models.

Ellis Meng:Micropumps Deliver Drugs that Prevent Blindness PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 25 September 2009 09:16

Treating many of the diseases that cause blindness involves frequent, painful injections directly into the eyes, putting patients at risk for infection, cataracts, and torn retinas. Ellis Meng, an assistant professor of biomedical and electrical engineering, has built an implantable pump to deliver medications more safely.
Andrew Lynn:Repairing Joints by Stimulating Regrowth in Bone and Cartilage PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 10:51
Andrew Lynn wants to phase out metal joint replacements by coaxing the human body to rebuild damaged bone and cartilage. Lynn, CEO and cofounder of Ortho­mimetics, in Cambridge, England, developed a biodegradable scaffold that a surgeon can implant into any joint weakened by injury or age.
Ronggui Yang:Efficient Electricity from Waste Heat PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 11 August 2009 17:25

Thermoelectric materials, which generate electricity from heat otherwise lost through vehicle exhaust pipes, industrial equipment, and computer chips, could do a lot to help conserve energy and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. So far, however, they have been too inefficient and expensive to be widely used. Some newer thermo­electric materials might more effectively convert waste heat into useful electricity, but they require expensive and impractical layer-by-layer assembly.

Ali Khademhosseini: Creating Living Tissues and Organs in the Lab PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 28 July 2009 15:26

The ability to create living tissues and organs in the lab holds great promise for transplant medicine. But the traditional approach to tissue engineering--seeding the outside of a biodegradable scaffold with cells, without regard to their organization--hasn't gotten cells to behave the way they would in the body.

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