Category Archives: cellular biology

DARPA to Offer $30 Million to Jump-Start Cellular Factories

From Science:

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Defense Department’s high-risk granting body, is about to jump into synthetic biology in a big way. One of the latest research buzzwords, synthetic biology means different things to many. But for a new DARPA program, it represents modifying the metabolic and genetic machinery of cells to produce useful products. “We want to create a new manufacturing capability for the United States,” says DARPA Program Manager Alicia Jackson. Approved barely a month ago, the $30 million Living Foundries program should be sending out a request for proposals in the next few weeks and making awards several months from now.

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Filed under biotechnology, cellular biology, molecular biology

Scientists turn human skin cells directly into neurons, skipping iPS stage

From Stanford School of Medicine:

Human skin cells can be converted directly into functional neurons in a period of four to five weeks with the addition of just four proteins, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The finding is significant because it bypasses the need to first create induced pluripotent stem cells, and may make it much easier to generate patient- or disease-specific neurons for study in a laboratory dish.

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Filed under biotechnology, cellular biology, genes, medical technology

Scientists create stable, self-renewing neural stem cells

From PhysOrg.com:

In a paper published in the April 25 early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco and colleagues report a game-changing advance in stem cell science: the creation of long-term, self-renewing, primitive neural precursor cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) that can be directed to become many types of neuron without increased risk of tumor formation.

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Researchers make the leap to whole-cell simulations

From PhysOrg.com:

Researchers have built a computer model of the crowded interior of a bacterial cell that – in a test of its response to sugar in its environment – accurately simulates the behavior of living cells.

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Filed under biological modeling, cellular biology, physical modelling

New microscope produces dazzling 3-D movies of live cells

From PhysOrg.com:

A new microscope invented by scientists at Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus will let researchers use an exquisitely thin sheet of light — similar to that used in supermarket bar-code scanners — to peer inside single living cells, revealing the three-dimensional shapes of cellular landmarks in unprecedented detail. The microscopy technique images at high speed, so researchers can create dazzling movies that make biological processes, such as cell division, come alive.

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Filed under biotechnology, cellular biology, microscopy