Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

February 27, 2009
Milestone achieved toward production of malaria treatment using synthetic biology and fermentation
Amyris Biotechnologies has published an article in PLoS ONE which reveals the achievement of a significant milestone toward the production of amorphadiene, a precursor of the antimalarial agent artemisinin.

Artificial disc replacement as good or better than spinal fusion surgery
Spine surgeons at the Washington University School of Medicine and other US centers are reporting that artificial disc replacement works as well and often better than spinal fusion surgery.

A lifetime of paying it forward
William Shapiro, M.D., and Joan Rankin Shapiro, Ph.D., have collaborated for 20 years to help build a world-renowned brain tumor research center at Barrow Neurological Institute at St.

UC San Diego Dean of International Relations joins Obama administration
Peter Cowhey, Dean of the UC San Diego School of International Relations and Pacific Studies has been named to a senior position in Obama Administration Office of Special Trade Representative.

Latest issue of Science: Nanosonar uses electrons to measure under the surface
Just as sonar sends out sound waves to explore the hidden depths of the ocean, electrons can be used by scanning tunneling microscopes to investigate the well-hidden properties of the atomic lattice of metals.

Cutting-edge amfAR grants fight HIV/AIDS in the lab and on the phone
From text messaging in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to evolutionary biology in Austin, Texas, a new round of amfAR research awards will support a wide range of innovative efforts to advance HIV prevention, treatment and cure.

Understanding natural crop defenses
Ever since insects developed a taste for vegetation, plants have faced the same dilemma: use limited resources to out-compete their neighbors for light to grow, or, invest directly in defense against hungry insects.

Building strong bones: Running may provide more benefits than resistance training, MU study finds
Resistance training often is recommended to increase and prevent loss of bone mineral density, although previous studies that examined the effects of resistance training in men produced varied results.

Dana-Farber oncologists present at ASCO GU -- predict prostate cancer survival using Source MDx test
Oncologists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute today presented data at ASCO GU showing that a simple blood-based test, developed by Source MDx, was 96 percent accurate in predicting low risk CRPC patients and 93 percent accurate in predicting high risk CRPC patients in a 22-month study.

UT Southwestern teaching hospital halves its rate of premature births, researchers find
UT Southwestern Medical Center's primary adult teaching hospital has cut its rate of preterm births by more than half in the past 15 years, even as national rates are rising, researchers have found.

MIT uses nano-origami to build tiny electronic devices
MIT researchers are developing the basic principles of nano-origami, a new technique that allows engineers to fold nanoscale materials into simple 3-D structures.

Self-digestion as a means of survival
In times of starvation, cells tighten their belts: they start to digest their own proteins and cellular organs.

Study to evaluate success of parental involvement in early childhood education
New classrooms will open this fall in the Houston area with an added element: the parents will be students as well.

Frog's immune system is key in fight against killer virus
Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London, have discovered how changes to a frog's immune system may be the key to beating a viral infection which is devastating frog populations across the UK.

Video game Everquest 2 provides new way to study human behavior, says U of Minnesota researcher
A research study by a University of Minnesota computer scientist and colleagues from across the country shows that online, interactive gaming communities are now so massive that they mirror traditional communities.

Many faces of diabetes in American youth: The SEARCH for diabetes in youth study
New findings from the nation's largest study of diabetes in youth paint an alarming picture of disease on the rise among every racial and ethnic group studied.

Scientists unlock the secrets of C. difficile's protective shell
The detailed structure of a protective

Queen's receives $9.1 million to establish National Center of Excellence in green chemistry
PARTEQ Innovations, the technology commercialization office of Queen's University, has been awarded $9.1 million from the federal government towards the establishment of a National Center of Excellence for the development and commercialization of green chemistry technologies.

How yeast is helping us to understand Parkinson's Disease
Teams of scientists from Australia and the United States have used yeast and mammalian cells to discover a connection between genetic and environmental causes of Parkinson's disease.

Novel pandemic flu vaccine effective against H5N1 in mice
Virus-like particles offer a chicken egg-free method of producing influenza vaccines.

Genome sequencing of fungus with biotechnological applications
Researchers Antonio G. Pisabarro (professor of microbiology) as well as José Luis Lavín and José Antonio Oguiza, from the Genetic and Microbiology Group at the Public University of Navarre, have taken part in the international project for the sequencing of the genome of the Postia placenta fungus.

MIT: Using touch to help deaf people
Lip reading is a critical means of communication for many deaf people, but it has a drawback: Certain consonants (for example, p) can be nearly impossible to distinguish by sight alone.

Plastic and reconstructive surgery ... in brief
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery ... in Brief is distributed monthly and designed to keep you updated on the most current scientific news from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Bolivia: Colonialism understood as a sickness
When Evo Morales, Bolivia's first president of Indian origin, was appointed in 2006 he initiated a

Researchers identify potential therapeutic target in osteosarcoma
A receptor known to be active in bone metastases, but previously unexplored in primary bone tumors, is a potential therapeutic target in osteosarcoma, investigators from the University of Texas M.

Purdue study projects weakened monsoon season in South Asia
The South Asian summer monsoon -- critical to agriculture in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan -- could be weakened and delayed due to rising temperatures in the future, according to a recent climate modeling study.

Mayo studies squeaky hips, joint problems of superobese, shoulder relief for young and arthritic
Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeons will contribute more than 100 presentations on their latest findings for improving orthopedic clinical care and scientific research at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in Las Vegas, Feb.

HIV adapts to 'escape' immune response
The future of AIDS vaccine exploration has many obstacles before it, including a deeper understanding of host-virus interaction and the immune system.

Scientists to study interactions among Earth's environment, society and the economy
Humans have contributed to widespread changes in the environment, according to scientists.

Health campaigns that promote exercise may cause people to eat more
New research from the University of Illinois suggests that weight-loss campaigns that promote exercise may actually cause people to eat more.

Crafty Australian crayfish cheat
Australian and British scientists have found how puny crayfish cheat.

'Stay Dry' tested to help men with incontinence problems from prostate cancer treatments
Improving the lives of men with incontinence after prostate surgery is the goal of a new

Innovation task force calls on Senate and President Obama to approve House-passed FY09 omnibus bill
The Task Force on the Future of American Innovation, representing America's business, academic and scientific communities, commends the House leadership, particularly Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Appropriations Chairman David Obey, for including crucial scientific investments in the FY09 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

Policy experts urge scrutiny of senior tax breaks
The latest installment of Public Policy & Aging Report examines the wide-ranging tax provisions that affect older taxpayers.

Intelligent use of the Earth's heat
Geothermal energy is increasingly contributing to the power supply world wide.

What is good science?
Scientific knowledge is important in today's knowledge society. Research is the guarantor of the quality of knowledge, though it is often not clear how scientific research guarantees the reliability of knowledge.

UIC receives $3 million to study prostate cancer risk factors
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Institute for Health Research and Policy have been awarded a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the link between body fat and prostate cancer progression.

NYU Langone Medical Center study shows that cochlear implant surgery is safe for the elderly
Contrary to conventional medical wisdom, a new study by NYU Langone Medical Center researchers shows that healthy elderly patients with severe to profound hearing loss can undergo a surgical procedure to receive cochlear implants with minimal risk.

Newly discovered gene plays vital role in cancer
Gene p53 protects against cancer and is usually described as the most important gene in cancer research.

OSA, IEEE Photonics Society, IEEE ComSoc partner on optical networking journal
The Optical Society, IEEE Photonics Society (formerly IEEE LEOS) and IEEE Communications Society today announced they are partnering to combine two existing publications into one, called the Journal of Optical Communications and Networking.

Why didn't Darwin discover Mendel's laws?
Mendel solved the logic of inheritance in his monastery garden with no more technology than Darwin had in his garden at Down House.

Understanding Earth's biological systems
As a result of global climate change, Earth and its systems are undergoing rapid alterations.

Putting an end to nuclear test explosions
Nuclear tests have caused public concern ever since the first test was conducted more than six decades ago.

Study suggests surface water contaminated with salmonella more common than thought
A new University of Georgia study suggests that health agencies investigating Salmonella illnesses should consider untreated surface water as a possible source of contamination.

Researchers piggyback to safer reprogrammed stem cells
Exciting recent developments in stem cell research have revealed how specialized cells, such as skin cells, can be reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) that can form all the body's tissues. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to