Archive for the ‘biological’ category

Aug 23, 2023

An Incredible New Crystal Can Transform Light Into Mechanical Work

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, engineering

Almost all forms of modern consumer technology are powered by electrochemical energy, otherwise known as batteries. Lithium-ion batteries, for example, transform chemical reactions into direct current energy while also producing a few side effects (mainly heat). But what if there was another way to power gadgets—say, lasers?

That’s the idea behind new research from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and CU-Boulder. In a new study published this month in the journal Nature Materials, the team—led by chemical and electrical engineering professor Ryan Hayward—explored ways to leverage tiny crystals and directly transform light into mechanical work. At scale, such a breakthrough could remove the need for bulky batteries and all of the thermal management that comes with it.

Aug 23, 2023

Facing Our Transhuman Future

Posted by in categories: biological, evolution, singularity, transhumanism

Does our increasing dependency on technology diminish our human potential? In this episode, visionary scientist Gregg Braden discusses the current transhuman movement – the merging of technology and human biology, often referred to as the singularity. He describes three levels of tech integration where the final level replaces our natural biology. In a time of rapid evolution, reflection and discernment are key. Braden highlights what we can do to release the conditioning of a technology-dependent society and how to follow the natural rhythms within ourselves.

Aug 22, 2023

AI Can Now Design Proteins That Behave Like Biological ‘Transistors’

Posted by in categories: biological, information science, robotics/AI

Enter AI. Multiple deep learning methods can already accurately predict protein structures— a breakthrough half a century in the making. Subsequent studies using increasingly powerful algorithms have hallucinated protein structures untethered by the forces of evolution.

Yet these AI-generated structures have a downfall: although highly intricate, most are completely static—essentially, a sort of digital protein sculpture frozen in time.

A new study in Science this month broke the mold by adding flexibility to designer proteins. The new structures aren’t contortionists without limits. However, the designer proteins can stabilize into two different forms—think a hinge in either an open or closed configuration—depending on an external biological “lock.” Each state is analogous to a computer’s “0” or “1,” which subsequently controls the cell’s output.

Aug 22, 2023

Research team developing a nano-sized force sensor and improving high-precision microscopy technology

Posted by in categories: biological, nanotechnology

In many cases, cells are very active in their movement and serve as power generators. The ability of cells to produce physical forces is one of the basic functions of the body. When running, for example, the forces generated in the cells cause the muscles to contract and the breath to work. It has been possible to measure even the forces experienced by individual proteins by force sensors developed in the past, but previously intracellular forces and mechanical strains could not have been measured.

Together with the scientists from The Ohio State University OSU, cell biology researchers at Tampere University have developed a force sensor that can be attached to the side of a mechanically responding protein, allowing it to sense forces and strain on the protein within the cell.

The development of the micro-sized sensor began on a conference travel in December 2019.

Aug 22, 2023

Klotho levels and telomere length may be associated through a coordinated downregulation of longevity factors

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension, neuroscience

A new research paper was published by Aging (listed by MEDLINE/PubMed as “Aging (Albany NY)” and “Aging-US” by Web of Science) in Volume 15, Issue 15, entitled, “Associations between klotho and telomere biology in high stress caregivers.”

Aging biomarkers may be related to each other through direct co-regulation and/or through being regulated by common processes associated with chronological aging or stress. Klotho is an aging regulator that acts as a circulating hormone with critical involvement in regulating insulin signaling, phosphate homeostasis, oxidative stress, and age-related inflammatory functioning.

In this new study, researchers Ryan L. Brown, Elissa E. Epel, Jue Lin, Dena B. Dubal, and Aric A. Prather from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco, and the Department of Neurology and Weill Institute of Neurosciences, University of California, San Francisco discuss the association between klotho levels and telomere length of specific sorted immune cells among a healthy sample of mothers caregiving for a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or a child without ASD — covarying age and body mass index — in order to understand if high stress associated with caregiving for a child with an ASD may be involved in any association between these aging biomarkers.

Aug 20, 2023

Bringing ultrafast physics to structural biology reveals the dance of molecular ‘coherence’ in unprecedented clarity

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, mapping, physics

How molecules change when they react to stimuli such as light is fundamental in biology, for example during photosynthesis. Scientists have been working to unravel the workings of these changes in several fields, and by combining two of these, researchers have paved the way for a new era in understanding the reactions of protein molecules fundamental for life.

The large international research team, led by Professor Jasper van Thor from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial, report their results in the journal Nature Chemistry.

Crystallography is a powerful technique in for taking ‘snapshots’ of how molecules are arranged. Over several large-scale experiments and years of theory work, the team behind the new study integrated this with another technique that maps vibrations in the electronic and nuclear configuration of molecules, called spectroscopy.

Aug 19, 2023

Researchers from MIT and Harvard have Produced a Hypothesis that may Explain How a Transformer Could be Built Using Biological Elements in the Brain

Posted by in categories: biological, robotics/AI

Artificial neural networks, prevalent models in machine learning capable of being trained for various tasks, derive their name from their structural resemblance to the information-processing methods…

Aug 17, 2023

Mathematics Has a Biological Origin, Study Reveals

Posted by in categories: biological, mathematics

Everyone knows that arithmetic is true: 2 + 2 = 4.

But surprisingly, we don’t know why it’s true.

By stepping outside the box of our usual way of thinking about numbers, my colleagues and I have recently shown that arithmetic has biological roots and is a natural consequence of how perception of the world around us is organised.

Aug 17, 2023

Can Cells Think? The Magic of Developmental Biology

Posted by in categories: biological, cosmology, evolution, neuroscience

The John Templeton Foundation recently invited biologist Michael Levin to speak to a small group about the presence of agency and cognition in the most fundamental forms of life, even at the levels of cells and tissues. In the recorded video, Dr. Levin, who directs a developmental biology lab at Tufts University, discusses with Philip Ball, a science writer and author of the newly published Book of Minds: How to Understand Ourselves and Other Beings.

Founded in 1987, the John Templeton Foundation supports research and dialogue on the deepest and most perplexing questions facing humankind. The Foundation funds work on subjects ranging from black holes and evolution to creativity, forgiveness, and free will. It also encourages civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, theologians, and the public at large.

Continue reading “Can Cells Think? The Magic of Developmental Biology” »

Aug 17, 2023

A frightening virus is killing a massive number of wild birds

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, genetics

Remember when eggs were so high? A vaccine for birds, now that can make money. 🤔

In the past two years, a viral disease has swept across much of the planet — not Covid but a type of avian flu. It’s devastated the poultry industry in the US, Europe, and elsewhere, sickening millions of farmed birds, which either die from infection or are killed by farmers seeking to stem the spread.

The ongoing outbreak of avian flu has killed hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of wild birds, including endangered species like the California condor. It’s one of the worst wildlife disease outbreaks in history. Having now spread across five continents and hundreds of wildlife species, scientists call the current outbreak a panzootic, meaning a pandemic among animals.

Continue reading “A frightening virus is killing a massive number of wild birds” »

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