A team of biochemists at UCLA have created a novel system of converting glucose into highly useful chemical compounds, such as those needed to create biofuels and pharmaceuticals. Previous research endeavors relied on using cells to convert sugar into desired compounds. This has been difficult to achieve because cells would rather use sugar for their own natural uses, such as building proteins and cell walls. The UCLA biochemists have recently developed a way to achieve the conversion of glucose into desired compounds- without using cells.Read More
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Green chemistry refers to a number of processes and practices that minimize the toxic or hazardous effects of chemicals in the environment, the lab, or the manufacturing plant. One way to go green is to cut down on the use of dangerous solvents in reactive processes, thereby reducing waste and improving lab safety. Though sometimes a less toxic catalyst or reagent can be employed from the outset, reused, or made inert eventually, another way to get a chemical reaction is to apply physical force instead. Called mechanochemistry, it involves the application of mechanical engineering to chemistry. Instead of adding a solvent, agitation is used to achieve chemical synthesis.
Tags: Ohio, Midwest, green chemistry, NSF, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, chemistry research, catalysts, OH, BioResearch Product Faire Event, UC, green chemistry shows, lab research, green chem, 2013, 2014, UCinci
Duke University research scientist Robert Lefkowitz, 69, says he was fast asleep when the Nobel committee called to tell him he had won the prestigious prize, but he said he didn’t hear the phone ring because he was wearing ear plugs. His wife picked up the phone.
One of the things they got was some very thoughtfully designed labs. Though flexibility of design is important to assure future utility, research team leaders gave significant input into the design of their specific labs to make sure those labs were ideal for the type of research that would be carried out within their walls. Project architect Tim Williams, of Zimmer Gunsul Frasca, said in an interview:
“Scientists spend a lot of time in the lab. The UW faculty wanted to look at how we could make that a nicer place to be."
Here are some of the ways they made a nicer science lab building:
- 5-story, 90,300sf structure
- Each of the four above-ground floors is divided into a laboratory half and an office half
- The basement is a 28,000sf low-vibration lab space
- Houses more than 15 faculty, 3 research centers and 4 major instrumentation centers
- Aluminum-plate shielding on the building guards against electromagnetic waves
- Natural ventilation in office spaces provided by windows that open
- Optimized ventilation in the lab spaces, replacing air 6 times per hour rather than 10
- Innovative commons spaces
- Green roof gardens
UW officials are proud of the new building, not just because it is state-of-the-art, but also because it's "state-of-the-science." Molecular engineering is a relatively new field, and the UW Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute (MOLES, the building's primary occupant) sees its mission as exploring a new kind of engineering for the 21st Century: rather than build bridges over rivers (still a noble feat), the new molecular engineer may be building proteins that travel to specific parts of the body. He or she may follow the latest developments in chemistry, biology, physics, nanotechnology and predictive modeling; and his or her research projects will often be interdisciplinary, with colleagues from diverse fields and perhaps different institutions.
Furthermore, if life scientists often pursue basic research to understand the building blocks of life, and engineers build things and occupy themselves with practical mechanics and physical principles, the fusion of the two should have tremendous translational potential. Such is the goal of MOLES and their new collaborative workspace. Per their website:
Research at the Institute for Molecular Engineering & Sciences will be evolvable and dynamic, focusing initially on the themes of CleanTech and BioTech.
Some of the faculty scientists who will be doing research in the new MOLES facility include:
- Patrick Stayton, a professor of bioengineering
- Suzie Pun, a bioengineering associate professor
- David Baker, a biochemistry professor
- Daniel Gamelin, a chemistry professor
- Hugh Hillhouse, a chemical engineering professor
- Christine Luscombe, an associate professor of materials science and engineering
(Dr. David Baker seems to come up in our blog series with regularity. For former blogs citing his work, read the following:)
Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. will hold 3 professional tradeshow events focusing on Washington state's bioscience technology and the research partnerships between scientists and the science equipment industry next month on these dates:
- 10/23/2012 -- Washington State University BioResearch Product Faire event, Pullman
- 10/24/2012 -- Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center BRPF event, Seattle
- 10/25/2012 -- University of Washington Front Line event, Seattle
For information on exhibiting at the University of Washington show in particular, and receiving a university research funding report, click here:
Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. is a full service event marketing and planning company producing on-campus, life science research tradeshows nationwide for the past 20 years. We plan and promote each event to bring the best products and services to the best research campuses across the country.
Tags: Energy, New research facilities, construction, University of Washington, new construction, Bioscience research, Northwest, Seattle, Biochemistry, 2012, Engineering, chemistry research, Molecular Engineering, CEEM, UW, Front Line event, WSU
Chemical and biomolecular engineering researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have recently achieved something truly impressive: they've managed to dramatically improve the process of methane catalysis, by a factor of 30, and using lower temperatures. What this could mean in terms of environmental protection and energy generation is nothing less than game-changing. Natural gas production is at an all-time high in the U.S. and will replace much of our dependence on oil and coal if we can burn it efficiently and without methane pollution. Methane is also a by-product of industries such as waste management, animal farming, and oil extraction (the iconic flame at the top of an oil well is methane being released from underground), where its containment is an ongoing challenge.
The word antibacterial is popping up on more and more household items as merchandisers find that consumers generally believe that chemicals designed to kill bacteria are a useful additive to a product and boost its appeal. Very often the chemical that's added is one called triclosan, and according to recently published research by a team of University of California Davis biomedical scientists, the common polychloro phenoxy phenol causes muscle impairment in animal and lab tissue models. Specifically, it limits the ability of the muscle to expand and contract. A beating heart is one example.
Tags: California, CA, animal science, cell biology, University of California Davis, Sacramento Campus, cardiovascular research, 2012, chemical research, chemistry research, Davis, BioResearch Product Faire Event, UCD
It's getting to the point where there's less and less relevant distinction to be made between life science and physical science research. It was clearer when one lab had petri dishes and the other had circuitboards, but what happens when you have both? That's the case in the Harvard University labs of chemist Charles Lieber and his medical school colleague Daniel Kohane, where the bio research team has successfully created living tissue embedded with tiny nanowires capable of running an electrical current so subtle that it does not harm the tissue cells. These 3D bioelectronic structures could potentially both relay complex information about what's going on inside the tissue and receive signals from an outside source such as instructions for repairs. Several news outlets are calling it cyborg tissue and envision its future use in implants, prosthetics, or even some kind of therapeutic microbot. More immediately it will most likely be used for drug testing in labs, as a precursor to animal or human trials.
Tags: MIT, Harvard Medical School, cell biology, Massachusetts, Harvard, biorobotics, Northeast, Boston, Biochemistry, bioprinting, 2012, Cell Research, chemistry research, BioResearch Product Faire Event, MA