Archive for the ‘bioengineering’ category: Page 172

Oct 20, 2016

How on Earth will we colonize Mars? Use Synthetic Biology!

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, information science, space

Mars colonization — getting there is only a small part of the equation. The bigger problem is how to survive. Synthetic biology may be able to help.

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Oct 17, 2016

Engineers reveal fabrication process for revolutionary transparent graphene neural sensors

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

A blue light shines through a transparent, implantable medical sensor onto a brain. The invention may help neural researchers better view brain activity. (credit: Justin Williams research group)

In an open-access paper published Thursday (Oct. 13, 2016) in the journal Nature Protocols, University of Wisconsin–Madison engineers have published details of how to fabricate and use neural microelectrocorticography (μECoG) arrays made with transparent graphene in applications in electrophysiology, fluorescent microscopy, optical coherence tomography, and optogenetics.

Graphene is one of the most promising candidates for transparent neural electrodes, because the material has a UV to IR transparency of more than 90%, in addition to its high electrical and thermal conductivity, flexibility, and biocompatibility, the researchers note in the paper. That allows for simultaneous high-resolution imaging and optogenetic control.

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Oct 17, 2016

The 4 big ethical questions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, genetics, robotics/AI

We live in an age of transformative scientific powers, capable of changing the very nature of the human species and radically remaking the planet itself.

Advances in information technologies and artificial intelligence are combining with advances in the biological sciences; including genetics, reproductive technologies, neuroscience, synthetic biology; as well as advances in the physical sciences to create breathtaking synergies — now recognized as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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Oct 16, 2016

Zymergen – Synthetic Organisms Built by Robots and AI

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, robotics/AI

When you read about what some startups are doing these days it seems like you’re reading a sci-fi book. Earlier this year we published an article titled “3 Companies Building Nanorobot Companies” and we talked about using software, robots, and synthetic biology to engineer synthetic organisms (essentially nanorobots) that can be used to create efficiencies. According to BCC Research, the global market for microbes and microbial products was projected to approach $154.7 billion in 2015 and almost double to $306 billion by 2020. Healthcare is largest consumer of microbes (61%) followed by energy (24%) and manufacturing (13%). The massive size of the microbe industry is just begging for a bit of disruptive technology to address it and that’s exactly what Zymergen is getting up to.


Founded in 2013, San Francisco startup Zymergen has taken in a total of $174 million from a whole slew of investors that include Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Softbank. Their most recent funding round of $130 million closed just last week and was led by Softbank, a publicly traded Japanese technology conglomerate. This should come as no surprise considering Softbank has recently announced their intention to become the world’s number one technology investor with up to $100 billion allocated to investing in future technology companies.

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Oct 16, 2016

CRISPR-Cas9: Reagent selection to experimental optimization

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

A webinar presented by: James Goldmeyer, PhD

The use of CRISPR-Cas9 for gene editing has opened up many new avenues for scientific exploration around gene function. The rapid expansion of the field has led to a wide range of technology formats for use in both gene knockout and precision knockin genome engineering experiments. The seemingly ever-increasing toolset has also led to a widening knowledge gap for newcomers to the field to overcome in determining the proper reagents for performing experiments.

During this webinar we will discuss the basics of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing and the key criteria and decision points in selecting reagents based on your desired application. We will review all types of guide RN…A and Cas9 nuclease formats and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.

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Oct 15, 2016

Researchers improve accuracy of synthetic clock

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics


(—A team of researchers with Harvard University and the University of Cambridge has successfully improved the accuracy of a synthetic clock known as a repressilator. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team describes the steps they took to reduce the amount of noise in the biological system and how well it worked. Xiaojing Gao and Michael Elowitz with the California Institute of Technology offer a News & Views piece on the work done by the team and explain how their results could improve understanding of natural gene circuits.

Scientists have noted the high precision that some living cells demonstrate in keeping track of time, such as those that are part of the circadian clock, and have tried to duplicate the process. Sixteen years ago, Michael Elowitz and Stanislas Leibler developed what is now known as the repressilator—a synthetic oscillating genetic circuit. Their results demonstrated that it was possible for genetic circuits to be designed and built in the lab. The resulting circuit functioned, but was noisy, and therefore much less accurate than natural cell clocks. In this new effort, the researchers improved several of the design of the repressilator, each greatly reducing the amount of noise, and in so doing, increased the precision.

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Oct 11, 2016

Launched: A Synthetic Biology Factory for Making Weird New Organisms

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, robotics/AI

Need a yeast that spits out rose oil? The synthetic biology company Ginkgo Bioworks is on it.

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Oct 5, 2016

With New Program, DARPA To Encourage Safety “Brakes” For Gene Editing

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, finance, genetics, health, military

Xconomy National —

Drugs that use molecular scissors to snip out or replace defective genes. Altered mosquitoes meant to sabotage entire disease-carrying populations. Both are potential uses of genome editing, which thanks to the CRISPR-Cas9 system has spread throughout the world’s biology labs and is now on the doorstep of the outside world. But with its first applications could also come unintended consequences for human health and the environment. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—a famed military R&D group—wants to finance safety measures for the new gene-editing age.

The idea for the funding program, called Safe Genes, is to get out ahead of problems that could bring the field to a screeching halt. “We should couple innovation with biosecurity,” DARPA program manager Renee Wegrzyn, said Tuesday at the SynBioBeta conference in South San Francisco. “We need new safety measures that don’t slow us down. You have brakes in your car so that you can go fast but can stop when you need to.”

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Oct 5, 2016

(Im)mortality: Researchers Find That Human Lifespan Has A Max Limit

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, life extension

In Brief.

  • New research concludes that human lifespan has already reached its peak of 125 years.
  • The research does not take into account synthetic biology and advancements in biotech that could extend lifespans further.

Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine assert that they have discovered the maximum lifespan of human beings, and it’s a range we may no longer be able to exceed. Dr. Jan Vijg, professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Einstein, lead the research, which was published online today in the journal Nature.

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Oct 4, 2016

The Age of CRISPR: Why Genetic Engineering Will Change Everything

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

The only thing we know for sure is that everything will change.

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