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.
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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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The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is one of the most richly funded markets in the country for biotechnology vendors and lab suppliers, as recent NIH and NSF research funding statistics show. In 2012, the NIH gave the University of Michigan $456.3 million in research funding. The money has been awarded to various departments for research projects including:
Earlier this week, we discussed the commercialization of neural interface chips at the University of Utah. Meanwhile, at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, researchers are innovating in neuroscience on an even smaller scale. A new, slimmer electrode allows for the more precise studying of individual neurons and promises insight on the workings of the mind based on the interactions between neurons and the brain.
Our sense of smell is something we often take for granted. Besides allowing us to take in such wonderful aromas as flowers or fresh-baked cookies, our olfactory receptors help us keep a healthy appetite and tell us when to steer clear of hazards like pollution or spoiled food. Therefore, it’s concerning that olfactory dysfunction affects one in every hundred Americans under the age of 65, and over 50% of the population over 65. Fortunately, researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor have made recent breakthroughs in the restoration of smell to those who have lost it over time or were born without it.
One of the most prestigious scientific awards, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), has been awarded to not one University of Michigan Ann Arbor researcher, but three! This award, started in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, was founded to recognize "the most meritorious scientists and engineers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for assuring America's preeminence in science and engineering and contributing to the awarding agencies' missions," as per a White House press release. These scientists are nominated by eleven different US government departments and agencies including the Departments of Energy and Health and Human Services, as well as the National Science Foundation.