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ALL POSTS BY Andrea Alfano

Heart Patches Made From Tissue-Velcro

Velcro-like layers of tissue could one day be used to patch up damaged heart muscle. Interlocking layers of heart tissue make it possible to create tissue patches that contract in response to electrical stimulation.

August 28, 2015

This Week In Space: Of Black Holes And Butterflies

Stephen Hawking may have solved a long-standing problem in astrophysics with math, but NASA is working on pre-empting problems by crashing expensive pieces of equipment. Plus, fire fountains on the moon and a cosmic butterfly.

Space August 28, 2015

Biohackers Are Having Fun Rewriting Genes With CRISPR

CRISPR is a new tool that is making genetic engineering easier than ever before. Even amateur biologists are taking part in the CRISPR revolution.

August 27, 2015

Science Images Of The Week: Cryogel Cancer Vaccine, Missing Link Lizard, And More

Discoveries abounded this week, with new species of nautilus, lizard and crustacean. Plus, an aerial shot of the Atacama Desert, a cryogel cancer vaccine, and a rare mineral.

Feature August 27, 2015

Microscopic 3D-Printed Fish Steered By Magnets Could Aid Drug Delivery

Fish is not a metaphor here. These microscopic, 3D-printed robots are actually designed to look like fish.

August 27, 2015

Injecting Tumor Cell-Packed Cryogels To Turn The Immune System Against Cancer

Scientists at Harvard University have devised a new approach to creating a cancer vaccine. Their work suggests that packing cancer cells into a spongy material called a cryogel and injecting it into the body could be an effective way to train immune systems to target cancer.

August 26, 2015

A Drug That Millions Take For Diabetes May Fight The Fundamental Causes Of Aging

Metformin, a drug commonly used to treat diabetes, is slated to undergo a clinical trial as a drug that targets fundamental biological processes involved in aging. The study is not aimed at achieving immortality, but it is about aging less like a flower and more like a fine wine.

Feature August 26, 2015

How Big Is The Heart Of A Blue Whale?

Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis big. Blue whales have the biggest hearts in the world, and a scientist at the Royal Ontario Museum is proud to show off the prized specimen in their heart collection.

August 26, 2015

Ants Treat Their Own Fungal Infections With Natural Medicine

An anti-fungal found in nature is typically toxic to ants, but when they become infected with a deadly fungus, the risk is worth taking. Scientists found that infected ants seem to self-medicate by ingesting substances that might harm the invading fungus more than themselves.

August 24, 2015

How Extremely Tiny Diamonds Could Be Used To Deliver Drugs

Diamonds so tiny that you could fit thousands of them in a grain of sand could one day be used to save lives. Scientists are developing ways to use nanodiamonds to improve drug delivery for more personally-tailored treatments.

August 24, 2015

Remote Control Mice Help Scientists Study The Brain

Scientists can control the activity of specific neurons thanks to a relatively new technique called optogenetics. Previously, animals studied by this method had limited mobility due to the need for wires coming out of their skulls, but a new device does away with this issue.

August 24, 2015

This Week In Space: The Origins Of Giant Gas Planets And 12-Mile-High Elevators To Space

This week, a problematic explanation of the origin of gas planets got an update and a plan for a space elevator made a splash in space news. Plus, there were surprises from the moon and a stunning view of an aurora from the International Space Station.

Space August 21, 2015

Science Images Of The Week: Microbial Masterpiece, First Flower Fossil And More

Whether zooming in on a tiny coronavirus or zooming out on coral reefs, science provides dramatic perspectives that bring out beauty in the natural world that we would otherwise miss. This week has proved that the aesthetic appeal of their work isn't lost on the scientists themselves - with another stunning shot of our planet from astronaut Scott Kelly and bacterial art on a Petri dish.

August 20, 2015

Hummingbirds Drink Nectar Through Tiny Tongue Pumps

The ultrathin tongues of hummingbirds suck up nectar using a clever pumping system. In the past, scientists had attributed this ability more to the properties of liquids than to the bird’s behavior.

Animals August 19, 2015

DNA Could Be Used Like Diodes And Transistors In Electronics

Scientists have figured out a way to turn DNA into a molecular switch. This ability may one day make it possible to use DNA in electronic circuits.

August 19, 2015

Scientists Are Growing Human Fetus Brains In Dishes

Brain ‘organoids’ grown from skin cells are allowing scientists to study brains in an entirely new way. The organoids are comparable to a five-week-old fetus’s brain, which is about the size of a pencil eraser and has distinctive neural structures.

August 19, 2015

Combining Tobacco And Marijuana Could Improve Memory Function

Both tobacco use and marijuana use are associated with shrinkage of the hippocampus, a brain region involved in memory. But when you combine the two drugs, memory function was better than that observed in users of marijuana or tobacco alone.

August 19, 2015

All Of These Companies Are Working On A Space Elevator

The Canadian private space company Thoth Technology was recently granted a patent for its space elevator design. It's not the only company with its sights set on a space elevator.

Space August 18, 2015

Dog Fossils Reveal That Climate Change Shaped Canine Change

Scientists studying dogs that lived in North America millions of years ago found that climate change seems to have been a key factor in their evolution. When forests turned into grasslands, dogs that were once ambush predators started chasing down their prey.

Animals August 18, 2015

Podmasters: 5 Great Tech Podcasts You Should Be Listening To Now

Tech podcasts are always informative, but many fall flat by offering commentary without engaging stories. These podcasts tell the stories of tech's ever-growing role in our lives.

Feature August 18, 2015

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