Tag: science

Some brilliant female scientists you may not know much (or anything) of.
Aglaonike (2nd century BCE), was an astronomer from Ancient Greece during the fifth century. She is on the list of first astronomers who was a woman. She was notorious for being able to predict the accurate time and locations of lunar eclipses. However, because she was a woman her contributions were not believed to be a scientific ability. 
People often began to believe she was a witch and gave her the name of the witch of Thessaly. Aglaonike has been mentioned in writings of Pluto, Plutarch, and Apollonius of Rhodes. 
Elena Cornaro Piscopia (1646–1684), Italian mathematician was probably the first woman in the world to receive  a Doctor of Philosophy degree; she is definitely the first woman to have been recorded doing so. 
She was a respected and noted philosopher and theologist, although she never received a degree in the latter because the church would not allow it.  
Philippa Fawcett (1868-1948) When she placed first in the Cambridge mathematical tripos in 1890, she forced a reassessment of nineteenth-century belief in the inferiority of the “weaker sex.”
Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (1921–) became the second woman to ever win the Nobel Prize in medicine, 1977. Her achievement was the development of RIA, an application of nuclear physics in clinical medicine that makes it possible for scientists to use radiotropic tracers to measure the concentration of hundreds of pharmacologic and biologic substances in the blood and other fluids of the human body and in animals and plants.

She invented this technique in 1959 to measure the amount of insulin in the blood of adult diabetics.
Some brilliant female scientists you may not know much (or anything) of.
Aglaonike (2nd century BCE), was an astronomer from Ancient Greece during the fifth century. She is on the list of first astronomers who was a woman. She was notorious for being able to predict the accurate time and locations of lunar eclipses. However, because she was a woman her contributions were not believed to be a scientific ability. 
People often began to believe she was a witch and gave her the name of the witch of Thessaly. Aglaonike has been mentioned in writings of Pluto, Plutarch, and Apollonius of Rhodes. 
Elena Cornaro Piscopia (1646–1684), Italian mathematician was probably the first woman in the world to receive  a Doctor of Philosophy degree; she is definitely the first woman to have been recorded doing so. 
She was a respected and noted philosopher and theologist, although she never received a degree in the latter because the church would not allow it.  
Philippa Fawcett (1868-1948) When she placed first in the Cambridge mathematical tripos in 1890, she forced a reassessment of nineteenth-century belief in the inferiority of the “weaker sex.”
Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (1921–) became the second woman to ever win the Nobel Prize in medicine, 1977. Her achievement was the development of RIA, an application of nuclear physics in clinical medicine that makes it possible for scientists to use radiotropic tracers to measure the concentration of hundreds of pharmacologic and biologic substances in the blood and other fluids of the human body and in animals and plants.

She invented this technique in 1959 to measure the amount of insulin in the blood of adult diabetics.
Some brilliant female scientists you may not know much (or anything) of.
Aglaonike (2nd century BCE), was an astronomer from Ancient Greece during the fifth century. She is on the list of first astronomers who was a woman. She was notorious for being able to predict the accurate time and locations of lunar eclipses. However, because she was a woman her contributions were not believed to be a scientific ability. 
People often began to believe she was a witch and gave her the name of the witch of Thessaly. Aglaonike has been mentioned in writings of Pluto, Plutarch, and Apollonius of Rhodes. 
Elena Cornaro Piscopia (1646–1684), Italian mathematician was probably the first woman in the world to receive  a Doctor of Philosophy degree; she is definitely the first woman to have been recorded doing so. 
She was a respected and noted philosopher and theologist, although she never received a degree in the latter because the church would not allow it.  
Philippa Fawcett (1868-1948) When she placed first in the Cambridge mathematical tripos in 1890, she forced a reassessment of nineteenth-century belief in the inferiority of the “weaker sex.”
Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (1921–) became the second woman to ever win the Nobel Prize in medicine, 1977. Her achievement was the development of RIA, an application of nuclear physics in clinical medicine that makes it possible for scientists to use radiotropic tracers to measure the concentration of hundreds of pharmacologic and biologic substances in the blood and other fluids of the human body and in animals and plants.

She invented this technique in 1959 to measure the amount of insulin in the blood of adult diabetics.
Some brilliant female scientists you may not know much (or anything) of.
Aglaonike (2nd century BCE), was an astronomer from Ancient Greece during the fifth century. She is on the list of first astronomers who was a woman. She was notorious for being able to predict the accurate time and locations of lunar eclipses. However, because she was a woman her contributions were not believed to be a scientific ability. 
People often began to believe she was a witch and gave her the name of the witch of Thessaly. Aglaonike has been mentioned in writings of Pluto, Plutarch, and Apollonius of Rhodes. 
Elena Cornaro Piscopia (1646–1684), Italian mathematician was probably the first woman in the world to receive  a Doctor of Philosophy degree; she is definitely the first woman to have been recorded doing so. 
She was a respected and noted philosopher and theologist, although she never received a degree in the latter because the church would not allow it.  
Philippa Fawcett (1868-1948) When she placed first in the Cambridge mathematical tripos in 1890, she forced a reassessment of nineteenth-century belief in the inferiority of the “weaker sex.”
Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (1921–) became the second woman to ever win the Nobel Prize in medicine, 1977. Her achievement was the development of RIA, an application of nuclear physics in clinical medicine that makes it possible for scientists to use radiotropic tracers to measure the concentration of hundreds of pharmacologic and biologic substances in the blood and other fluids of the human body and in animals and plants.

She invented this technique in 1959 to measure the amount of insulin in the blood of adult diabetics.

Some brilliant female scientists you may not know much (or anything) of.

Aglaonike (2nd century BCE), was an astronomer from Ancient Greece during the fifth century. She is on the list of first astronomers who was a woman. She was notorious for being able to predict the accurate time and locations of lunar eclipses. However, because she was a woman her contributions were not believed to be a scientific ability.

People often began to believe she was a witch and gave her the name of the witch of Thessaly. Aglaonike has been mentioned in writings of Pluto, Plutarch, and Apollonius of Rhodes. 

Elena Cornaro Piscopia (1646–1684), Italian mathematician was probably the first woman in the world to receive  a Doctor of Philosophy degree; she is definitely the first woman to have been recorded doing so.

She was a respected and noted philosopher and theologist, although she never received a degree in the latter because the church would not allow it.  

Philippa Fawcett (1868-1948) When she placed first in the Cambridge mathematical tripos in 1890, she forced a reassessment of nineteenth-century belief in the inferiority of the “weaker sex.”

Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (1921–) became the second woman to ever win the Nobel Prize in medicine, 1977. Her achievement was the development of RIA, an application of nuclear physics in clinical medicine that makes it possible for scientists to use radiotropic tracers to measure the concentration of hundreds of pharmacologic and biologic substances in the blood and other fluids of the human body and in animals and plants.
She invented this technique in 1959 to measure the amount of insulin in the blood of adult diabetics.

(Source: bluedogeyes, via bluedogeyes)

Pyrostremma spinosum (Giant fire salp)
"Pyrosomes, genus Pyrosoma, are free-floating colonial tunicates that live usually in the upper layers of the open ocean in warm seas, although some may be found at greater depths. Pyrosomes are cylindrical- or conical-shaped colonies made up of hundreds to thousands of individuals, known as zooids. Colonies range in size from less than one centimeter to several metres in length.

Each zooid is only a few millimetres in size, but is embedded in a common gelatinous tunic that joins all of the individuals. Each zooid opens both to the inside and outside of the “tube”, drawing in ocean water from the outside to its internal filtering mesh called the branchial basket, extracting the microscopic plant cells on which it feeds, and then expelling the filtered water to the inside of the cylinder of the colony. The colony is bumpy on the outside, each bump representing a single zooid, but nearly smooth, though perforated with holes for each zooid, on the inside.

Pyrosomes are planktonic, which means their movements are largely controlled by currents, tides, and waves in the oceans. On a smaller scale, however, each colony can move itself slowly by the process of jet propulsion, created by the coordinated beating of cilia in the branchial baskets of all the zooids, which also create feeding currents.

Pyrosomes are brightly bioluminescent, flashing a pale blue-green light that can be seen for many tens of metres. The name Pyrosoma comes from the Greek (pyro = “fire”, soma = “body”). Pyrosomes are closely related to salps, and are sometimes called “fire salps”. 
Sailors on the ocean are occasionally treated to calm seas containing many pyrosomes, all luminescing on a dark night.” (x)
Pyrostremma spinosum (Giant fire salp)
"Pyrosomes, genus Pyrosoma, are free-floating colonial tunicates that live usually in the upper layers of the open ocean in warm seas, although some may be found at greater depths. Pyrosomes are cylindrical- or conical-shaped colonies made up of hundreds to thousands of individuals, known as zooids. Colonies range in size from less than one centimeter to several metres in length.

Each zooid is only a few millimetres in size, but is embedded in a common gelatinous tunic that joins all of the individuals. Each zooid opens both to the inside and outside of the “tube”, drawing in ocean water from the outside to its internal filtering mesh called the branchial basket, extracting the microscopic plant cells on which it feeds, and then expelling the filtered water to the inside of the cylinder of the colony. The colony is bumpy on the outside, each bump representing a single zooid, but nearly smooth, though perforated with holes for each zooid, on the inside.

Pyrosomes are planktonic, which means their movements are largely controlled by currents, tides, and waves in the oceans. On a smaller scale, however, each colony can move itself slowly by the process of jet propulsion, created by the coordinated beating of cilia in the branchial baskets of all the zooids, which also create feeding currents.

Pyrosomes are brightly bioluminescent, flashing a pale blue-green light that can be seen for many tens of metres. The name Pyrosoma comes from the Greek (pyro = “fire”, soma = “body”). Pyrosomes are closely related to salps, and are sometimes called “fire salps”. 
Sailors on the ocean are occasionally treated to calm seas containing many pyrosomes, all luminescing on a dark night.” (x)
Pyrostremma spinosum (Giant fire salp)
"Pyrosomes, genus Pyrosoma, are free-floating colonial tunicates that live usually in the upper layers of the open ocean in warm seas, although some may be found at greater depths. Pyrosomes are cylindrical- or conical-shaped colonies made up of hundreds to thousands of individuals, known as zooids. Colonies range in size from less than one centimeter to several metres in length.

Each zooid is only a few millimetres in size, but is embedded in a common gelatinous tunic that joins all of the individuals. Each zooid opens both to the inside and outside of the “tube”, drawing in ocean water from the outside to its internal filtering mesh called the branchial basket, extracting the microscopic plant cells on which it feeds, and then expelling the filtered water to the inside of the cylinder of the colony. The colony is bumpy on the outside, each bump representing a single zooid, but nearly smooth, though perforated with holes for each zooid, on the inside.

Pyrosomes are planktonic, which means their movements are largely controlled by currents, tides, and waves in the oceans. On a smaller scale, however, each colony can move itself slowly by the process of jet propulsion, created by the coordinated beating of cilia in the branchial baskets of all the zooids, which also create feeding currents.

Pyrosomes are brightly bioluminescent, flashing a pale blue-green light that can be seen for many tens of metres. The name Pyrosoma comes from the Greek (pyro = “fire”, soma = “body”). Pyrosomes are closely related to salps, and are sometimes called “fire salps”. 
Sailors on the ocean are occasionally treated to calm seas containing many pyrosomes, all luminescing on a dark night.” (x)
Pyrostremma spinosum (Giant fire salp)
"Pyrosomes, genus Pyrosoma, are free-floating colonial tunicates that live usually in the upper layers of the open ocean in warm seas, although some may be found at greater depths. Pyrosomes are cylindrical- or conical-shaped colonies made up of hundreds to thousands of individuals, known as zooids. Colonies range in size from less than one centimeter to several metres in length.

Each zooid is only a few millimetres in size, but is embedded in a common gelatinous tunic that joins all of the individuals. Each zooid opens both to the inside and outside of the “tube”, drawing in ocean water from the outside to its internal filtering mesh called the branchial basket, extracting the microscopic plant cells on which it feeds, and then expelling the filtered water to the inside of the cylinder of the colony. The colony is bumpy on the outside, each bump representing a single zooid, but nearly smooth, though perforated with holes for each zooid, on the inside.

Pyrosomes are planktonic, which means their movements are largely controlled by currents, tides, and waves in the oceans. On a smaller scale, however, each colony can move itself slowly by the process of jet propulsion, created by the coordinated beating of cilia in the branchial baskets of all the zooids, which also create feeding currents.

Pyrosomes are brightly bioluminescent, flashing a pale blue-green light that can be seen for many tens of metres. The name Pyrosoma comes from the Greek (pyro = “fire”, soma = “body”). Pyrosomes are closely related to salps, and are sometimes called “fire salps”. 
Sailors on the ocean are occasionally treated to calm seas containing many pyrosomes, all luminescing on a dark night.” (x)
Pyrostremma spinosum (Giant fire salp)
"Pyrosomes, genus Pyrosoma, are free-floating colonial tunicates that live usually in the upper layers of the open ocean in warm seas, although some may be found at greater depths. Pyrosomes are cylindrical- or conical-shaped colonies made up of hundreds to thousands of individuals, known as zooids. Colonies range in size from less than one centimeter to several metres in length.

Each zooid is only a few millimetres in size, but is embedded in a common gelatinous tunic that joins all of the individuals. Each zooid opens both to the inside and outside of the “tube”, drawing in ocean water from the outside to its internal filtering mesh called the branchial basket, extracting the microscopic plant cells on which it feeds, and then expelling the filtered water to the inside of the cylinder of the colony. The colony is bumpy on the outside, each bump representing a single zooid, but nearly smooth, though perforated with holes for each zooid, on the inside.

Pyrosomes are planktonic, which means their movements are largely controlled by currents, tides, and waves in the oceans. On a smaller scale, however, each colony can move itself slowly by the process of jet propulsion, created by the coordinated beating of cilia in the branchial baskets of all the zooids, which also create feeding currents.

Pyrosomes are brightly bioluminescent, flashing a pale blue-green light that can be seen for many tens of metres. The name Pyrosoma comes from the Greek (pyro = “fire”, soma = “body”). Pyrosomes are closely related to salps, and are sometimes called “fire salps”. 
Sailors on the ocean are occasionally treated to calm seas containing many pyrosomes, all luminescing on a dark night.” (x)

Pyrostremma spinosum (Giant fire salp)

"Pyrosomes, genus Pyrosoma, are free-floating colonial tunicates that live usually in the upper layers of the open ocean in warm seas, although some may be found at greater depths. Pyrosomes are cylindrical- or conical-shaped colonies made up of hundreds to thousands of individuals, known as zooids. Colonies range in size from less than one centimeter to several metres in length.

image

Each zooid is only a few millimetres in size, but is embedded in a common gelatinous tunic that joins all of the individuals. Each zooid opens both to the inside and outside of the “tube”, drawing in ocean water from the outside to its internal filtering mesh called the branchial basket, extracting the microscopic plant cells on which it feeds, and then expelling the filtered water to the inside of the cylinder of the colony. The colony is bumpy on the outside, each bump representing a single zooid, but nearly smooth, though perforated with holes for each zooid, on the inside.

image

Pyrosomes are planktonic, which means their movements are largely controlled by currents, tides, and waves in the oceans. On a smaller scale, however, each colony can move itself slowly by the process of jet propulsion, created by the coordinated beating of cilia in the branchial baskets of all the zooids, which also create feeding currents.

image

Pyrosomes are brightly bioluminescent, flashing a pale blue-green light that can be seen for many tens of metres. The name Pyrosoma comes from the Greek (pyro = “fire”, soma = “body”). Pyrosomes are closely related to salps, and are sometimes called “fire salps”.

Sailors on the ocean are occasionally treated to calm seas containing many pyrosomes, all luminescing on a dark night.” (x)

This is the most detailed map yet of our place in the universe
"In a fascinating new study for Nature, a team of scientists mapped thousands of galaxies in our immediate vicinity, and discovered that the Milky Way is part of a jaw-droppingly massive “supercluster” of galaxies that they named Laniakea.
This structure is much, much, much bigger than astronomers had previously realized. Laniakea contains more than 100,000 galaxies, stretches 500 million light years across, and looks something like this (the Milky Way is just a speck located on one of its fringes on the right):
It’s hard to wrap one’s head around how enormous this is. Each of those points of light is an individual galaxy. Each galaxy contains millions, billlions, or even trillions of stars. Oh, and this all is just our little local corner of an even broader universe. There are many other galaxy superclusters out there.
So how did the researchers figure out this structure existed — and how did they distinguish it from other superclusters?
…”
Keep reading at Vox
This is the most detailed map yet of our place in the universe
"In a fascinating new study for Nature, a team of scientists mapped thousands of galaxies in our immediate vicinity, and discovered that the Milky Way is part of a jaw-droppingly massive “supercluster” of galaxies that they named Laniakea.
This structure is much, much, much bigger than astronomers had previously realized. Laniakea contains more than 100,000 galaxies, stretches 500 million light years across, and looks something like this (the Milky Way is just a speck located on one of its fringes on the right):
It’s hard to wrap one’s head around how enormous this is. Each of those points of light is an individual galaxy. Each galaxy contains millions, billlions, or even trillions of stars. Oh, and this all is just our little local corner of an even broader universe. There are many other galaxy superclusters out there.
So how did the researchers figure out this structure existed — and how did they distinguish it from other superclusters?
…”
Keep reading at Vox
This is the most detailed map yet of our place in the universe
"In a fascinating new study for Nature, a team of scientists mapped thousands of galaxies in our immediate vicinity, and discovered that the Milky Way is part of a jaw-droppingly massive “supercluster” of galaxies that they named Laniakea.
This structure is much, much, much bigger than astronomers had previously realized. Laniakea contains more than 100,000 galaxies, stretches 500 million light years across, and looks something like this (the Milky Way is just a speck located on one of its fringes on the right):
It’s hard to wrap one’s head around how enormous this is. Each of those points of light is an individual galaxy. Each galaxy contains millions, billlions, or even trillions of stars. Oh, and this all is just our little local corner of an even broader universe. There are many other galaxy superclusters out there.
So how did the researchers figure out this structure existed — and how did they distinguish it from other superclusters?
…”
Keep reading at Vox

This is the most detailed map yet of our place in the universe

"In a fascinating new study for Nature, a team of scientists mapped thousands of galaxies in our immediate vicinity, and discovered that the Milky Way is part of a jaw-droppingly massive “supercluster” of galaxies that they named Laniakea.

This structure is much, much, much bigger than astronomers had previously realized. Laniakea contains more than 100,000 galaxies, stretches 500 million light years across, and looks something like this (the Milky Way is just a speck located on one of its fringes on the right):

It’s hard to wrap one’s head around how enormous this is. Each of those points of light is an individual galaxy. Each galaxy contains millions, billlions, or even trillions of stars. Oh, and this all is just our little local corner of an even broader universe. There are many other galaxy superclusters out there.

So how did the researchers figure out this structure existed — and how did they distinguish it from other superclusters?

…”

Keep reading at Vox

Computer’s Heat Sink Used To Slash Cost Of PCR 
"While people sit at their computers and watch movies or browse the Internet for cat videos, the processor chips in their machines generate heat. Now researchers have harnessed that heat to run the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) inside a computer. The method allowed them to detect miniscule amounts of DNA from a pathogenic parasite, and could lead to low-cost diagnostic tests in developing countries (Anal. Chem. 2014, DOI: 10.1021/ac5022419).
 Researchers in H. Tom Soh’s lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara, developed software to cycle the temperature of a desktop computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to drive PCR’s three distinct steps. The team used the CPU as part of a test for the often difficult-to-diagnose Chagas disease, which is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi.
 To test for the parasite’s DNA, the team adds an infected blood sample to a capillary tube preloaded with the PCR reagents and a fluorescent dye that complexes with DNA. The researchers also add dimethyl sulfoxide to the reagents to lower DNA’s melting temperature: To denature the DNA for PCR without this solvent, temperatures would need to reach 95 °C, which is too hot for a computer. They then place the tube in the fins of the CPU’s heat sink and run their temperature cycling program. The process amplifies the T. cruzi DNA, which is labeled by the fluorescent dye. The researchers use a cell phone app to quantify the amount of DNA based on the intensity of the glow of the tubes. Using this method, they could detect as little as 0.1 femtogram/L of T. cruzi DNA, which is well below the threshold that leads to Chagas disease.
 In addition to the computer and cell phone, the equipment and reagent costs for this new method are $41.50, far less than standard PCR equipment that costs about $19,000. The team hopes their low-cost method will allow diseases such as Chagas to be better monitored and treated in the field.”
(via Chemical & Engineering News)
Computer’s Heat Sink Used To Slash Cost Of PCR 
"While people sit at their computers and watch movies or browse the Internet for cat videos, the processor chips in their machines generate heat. Now researchers have harnessed that heat to run the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) inside a computer. The method allowed them to detect miniscule amounts of DNA from a pathogenic parasite, and could lead to low-cost diagnostic tests in developing countries (Anal. Chem. 2014, DOI: 10.1021/ac5022419).
 Researchers in H. Tom Soh’s lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara, developed software to cycle the temperature of a desktop computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to drive PCR’s three distinct steps. The team used the CPU as part of a test for the often difficult-to-diagnose Chagas disease, which is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi.
 To test for the parasite’s DNA, the team adds an infected blood sample to a capillary tube preloaded with the PCR reagents and a fluorescent dye that complexes with DNA. The researchers also add dimethyl sulfoxide to the reagents to lower DNA’s melting temperature: To denature the DNA for PCR without this solvent, temperatures would need to reach 95 °C, which is too hot for a computer. They then place the tube in the fins of the CPU’s heat sink and run their temperature cycling program. The process amplifies the T. cruzi DNA, which is labeled by the fluorescent dye. The researchers use a cell phone app to quantify the amount of DNA based on the intensity of the glow of the tubes. Using this method, they could detect as little as 0.1 femtogram/L of T. cruzi DNA, which is well below the threshold that leads to Chagas disease.
 In addition to the computer and cell phone, the equipment and reagent costs for this new method are $41.50, far less than standard PCR equipment that costs about $19,000. The team hopes their low-cost method will allow diseases such as Chagas to be better monitored and treated in the field.”
(via Chemical & Engineering News)
Computer’s Heat Sink Used To Slash Cost Of PCR 
"While people sit at their computers and watch movies or browse the Internet for cat videos, the processor chips in their machines generate heat. Now researchers have harnessed that heat to run the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) inside a computer. The method allowed them to detect miniscule amounts of DNA from a pathogenic parasite, and could lead to low-cost diagnostic tests in developing countries (Anal. Chem. 2014, DOI: 10.1021/ac5022419).
 Researchers in H. Tom Soh’s lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara, developed software to cycle the temperature of a desktop computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to drive PCR’s three distinct steps. The team used the CPU as part of a test for the often difficult-to-diagnose Chagas disease, which is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi.
 To test for the parasite’s DNA, the team adds an infected blood sample to a capillary tube preloaded with the PCR reagents and a fluorescent dye that complexes with DNA. The researchers also add dimethyl sulfoxide to the reagents to lower DNA’s melting temperature: To denature the DNA for PCR without this solvent, temperatures would need to reach 95 °C, which is too hot for a computer. They then place the tube in the fins of the CPU’s heat sink and run their temperature cycling program. The process amplifies the T. cruzi DNA, which is labeled by the fluorescent dye. The researchers use a cell phone app to quantify the amount of DNA based on the intensity of the glow of the tubes. Using this method, they could detect as little as 0.1 femtogram/L of T. cruzi DNA, which is well below the threshold that leads to Chagas disease.
 In addition to the computer and cell phone, the equipment and reagent costs for this new method are $41.50, far less than standard PCR equipment that costs about $19,000. The team hopes their low-cost method will allow diseases such as Chagas to be better monitored and treated in the field.”
(via Chemical & Engineering News)
Computer’s Heat Sink Used To Slash Cost Of PCR 
"While people sit at their computers and watch movies or browse the Internet for cat videos, the processor chips in their machines generate heat. Now researchers have harnessed that heat to run the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) inside a computer. The method allowed them to detect miniscule amounts of DNA from a pathogenic parasite, and could lead to low-cost diagnostic tests in developing countries (Anal. Chem. 2014, DOI: 10.1021/ac5022419).
 Researchers in H. Tom Soh’s lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara, developed software to cycle the temperature of a desktop computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to drive PCR’s three distinct steps. The team used the CPU as part of a test for the often difficult-to-diagnose Chagas disease, which is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi.
 To test for the parasite’s DNA, the team adds an infected blood sample to a capillary tube preloaded with the PCR reagents and a fluorescent dye that complexes with DNA. The researchers also add dimethyl sulfoxide to the reagents to lower DNA’s melting temperature: To denature the DNA for PCR without this solvent, temperatures would need to reach 95 °C, which is too hot for a computer. They then place the tube in the fins of the CPU’s heat sink and run their temperature cycling program. The process amplifies the T. cruzi DNA, which is labeled by the fluorescent dye. The researchers use a cell phone app to quantify the amount of DNA based on the intensity of the glow of the tubes. Using this method, they could detect as little as 0.1 femtogram/L of T. cruzi DNA, which is well below the threshold that leads to Chagas disease.
 In addition to the computer and cell phone, the equipment and reagent costs for this new method are $41.50, far less than standard PCR equipment that costs about $19,000. The team hopes their low-cost method will allow diseases such as Chagas to be better monitored and treated in the field.”
(via Chemical & Engineering News)

Computer’s Heat Sink Used To Slash Cost Of PCR 

"While people sit at their computers and watch movies or browse the Internet for cat videos, the processor chips in their machines generate heat. Now researchers have harnessed that heat to run the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) inside a computer. The method allowed them to detect miniscule amounts of DNA from a pathogenic parasite, and could lead to low-cost diagnostic tests in developing countries (Anal. Chem. 2014, DOI: 10.1021/ac5022419).


Researchers in H. Tom Soh’s lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara, developed software to cycle the temperature of a desktop computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to drive PCR’s three distinct steps. The team used the CPU as part of a test for the often difficult-to-diagnose Chagas disease, which is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi.


To test for the parasite’s DNA, the team adds an infected blood sample to a capillary tube preloaded with the PCR reagents and a fluorescent dye that complexes with DNA. The researchers also add dimethyl sulfoxide to the reagents to lower DNA’s melting temperature: To denature the DNA for PCR without this solvent, temperatures would need to reach 95 °C, which is too hot for a computer. They then place the tube in the fins of the CPU’s heat sink and run their temperature cycling program. The process amplifies the T. cruzi DNA, which is labeled by the fluorescent dye. The researchers use a cell phone app to quantify the amount of DNA based on the intensity of the glow of the tubes.
Using this method, they could detect as little as 0.1 femtogram/L of T. cruzi DNA, which is well below the threshold that leads to Chagas disease.


In addition to the computer and cell phone, the equipment and reagent costs for this new method are $41.50, far less than standard PCR equipment that costs about $19,000. The team hopes their low-cost method will allow diseases such as Chagas to be better monitored and treated in the field.”

(via Chemical & Engineering News)

Neuroscientists reverse memories’ emotional associations
"A new study from MIT neuroscientists reveals the brain circuit that controls how memories become linked with positive or negative emotions. Furthermore, the researchers found that they could reverse the emotional association of specific memories by manipulating brain cells with optogenetics — a technique that uses light to control neuron activity.
The findings, described in the Aug. 27 issue of Nature, demonstrated that a neuronal circuit connecting the hippocampus and the amygdala plays a critical role in associating emotion with memory. This circuit could offer a target for new drugs to help treat conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, the researchers say.
“In the future, one may be able to develop methods that help people to remember positive memories more strongly than negative ones,” says Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience, director of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and senior author of the paper. 
The paper’s lead authors are Roger Redondo, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoc at MIT, and Joshua Kim, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Biology…”
Keep reading at MIT News

Neuroscientists reverse memories’ emotional associations

"A new study from MIT neuroscientists reveals the brain circuit that controls how memories become linked with positive or negative emotions. Furthermore, the researchers found that they could reverse the emotional association of specific memories by manipulating brain cells with optogenetics — a technique that uses light to control neuron activity.

The findings, described in the Aug. 27 issue of Nature, demonstrated that a neuronal circuit connecting the hippocampus and the amygdala plays a critical role in associating emotion with memory. This circuit could offer a target for new drugs to help treat conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, the researchers say.

“In the future, one may be able to develop methods that help people to remember positive memories more strongly than negative ones,” says Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience, director of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and senior author of the paper. 

The paper’s lead authors are Roger Redondo, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoc at MIT, and Joshua Kim, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Biology…”

Keep reading at MIT News

Why People Were Terrified of Nighttime Air Until the 1900s 
"When civilization progressed and we settled into homes, that fear stuck with us. And then it gave rise to one of the stranger and more little-known theories of Western society: Night air is poisonous.
…
The myth is a component of miasma theory, which held that “bad air” emanating from decaying organic matter caused disease (an idea later replaced by germ theory). This was particularly bad around swamps, of course, and seemed to worsen at night. Said Catharine Beecher, the great American educator: “Thus it appears, that the atmosphere of the day is much more healthful than that of the night, especially out of doors.”

The idea of bad night air had come over with the first Americans. Baldwin notes a conversation between none other than John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, who while traveling in 1776 were forced one night to share a room in a crowded inn. “The Window was open, and I, who was an invalid and afraid of the Air in the night (blowing upon me), shut it close,” Adams wrote in his autobiography. But old Ben Franklin demurred, demanding that he reopen the window, lie down, and listen to why he was being a jackass. So Adams endured the lecture until he fell asleep.
Adams was a highly educated man who would later become president, who nevertheless believed that when the sun went down air suddenly turned into poison. This was not, therefore, simply superstition. Indeed, over the next century and a half, even doctors and other educated folk propagated the myth.…”
Keep reading at WIRED

Why People Were Terrified of Nighttime Air Until the 1900s 

"When civilization progressed and we settled into homes, that fear stuck with us. And then it gave rise to one of the stranger and more little-known theories of Western society: Night air is poisonous.

The myth is a component of miasma theory, which held that “bad air” emanating from decaying organic matter caused disease (an idea later replaced by germ theory). This was particularly bad around swamps, of course, and seemed to worsen at night. Said Catharine Beecher, the great American educator: “Thus it appears, that the atmosphere of the day is much more healthful than that of the night, especially out of doors.”

image

The idea of bad night air had come over with the first Americans. Baldwin notes a conversation between none other than John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, who while traveling in 1776 were forced one night to share a room in a crowded inn. “The Window was open, and I, who was an invalid and afraid of the Air in the night (blowing upon me), shut it close,” Adams wrote in his autobiography. But old Ben Franklin demurred, demanding that he reopen the window, lie down, and listen to why he was being a jackass. So Adams endured the lecture until he fell asleep.

Adams was a highly educated man who would later become president, who nevertheless believed that when the sun went down air suddenly turned into poison. This was not, therefore, simply superstition. Indeed, over the next century and a half, even doctors and other educated folk propagated the myth.…”

Keep reading at WIRED