Though the word “photosynthesis” is less than 150 years old, modern society considers the process largely fundamental and simple. The truth is, though researchers make attempts to replicate and optimize photosynthesis, as we’ve seen UIUC researchers do, it is still not fully understood. The puzzles behind the inner workings of photosynthesis have caught the attention of biophysicists at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and have led them to unravel some of the mysteries in order to enhance the effectiveness of artificial photosynthesis methods.
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What does a cell do when it can’t get the food it needs? In the process of autophagy, it takes advantage of the closest food around; namely, itself. Autophagy is known to play a role in many human diseases but the nature of said role is somewhat open to debate. Hoping to shed some light on the matter, bioresearchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor have found a genetic link that allows for regulation of autophagy.
Biotechnology researchers are beginning to unravel the effects of different breeding grounds on cell cultivation. We saw an example of this last year when OSU bioresearchers developed a titanium “shag carpet” which dramatically increased cell proliferation. In a similar vein, researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor have found a particular type of surface that helps stem cells decide what to grow up to be.
Occasionally in the research world, investigation in one particular study can lead to accidental and novel discoveries in another. Such was the case recently as the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where life science researchers working on zebrafish embryos stumbled upon a revelation about colon cancer that also applies to humans.
The method of three-dimensional printing, which conjures up solid objects from 3D computer models, is beginning to make a larger impact on the world of life science technology. Though 3D printing was developed almost thirty years ago, its use in conjunction with biology began fairly recently but is quickly increasing. In fact, bioscientists from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor just used 3D printing to save the life of a baby.
It has long been known that mercury, which in high enough levels is toxic to humans, is found in several kinds of fish. But the reason fish contain mercury in the first place has always eluded us- until now. Life science researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor have found the reasons (indeed, there are multiple) and have concluded that the levels of mercury in fish are actually rising to this day.
Despite its effectiveness and potency, chemotherapy is highly disputed because at its base level, it’s exposing the body to high amounts of radiation. In some cases, the amount of radiation needed to kill a cancerous tumor is more than the human body can take. At the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, researchers are working to change this by making humans more resistant to chemotherapy.
When speaking about cryptography, one likely imagines a military or computerized setting, where a group of people tries fervently to decipher the coded messages of their enemy in order to gain valuable intelligence. But the same thing is happening in labs at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, only with microbiologists cracking the code of cancer cells.
In a potentially dangerous situation, many animals release stress hormones into the body to prepare the animal for raw survival. Sometimes these evoke defense mechanisms and sometimes they assist in fleeing from danger, hence the idea of a “fight or flight” response. Now, research at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor shows that tadpoles instead choose a third option: physical transformation.
The National Eye Institute, an NIH agency dedicated to vision research, recently announced the winners of their Challenge to Identify Audacious Goals in Vision Research and Blindness Rehabilitation, or the Audacious Goals Challenge for short. The competition was open to professionals and members of the public and called upon them to think big and bold about vision research goals for the next decades. The prize money was nominal ($3,000) but included an invitation and travel money to attend and present their ideas at the NEI Audacious Goals Development Meeting in Maryland later this month. The real prize, of course, was the opportunity to help set research and funding goals for the next 10-12 years. Of the 500 or so proposals submitted, 10 visionaries were selected as winners.
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