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Archive for the ‘chemistry’ category

Nov 20, 2019

Rejuvenation: If I could turn back time … — Longevity.Technology

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, existential risks, life extension, neuroscience

Last week, the BBC reported on the plight of axolotls in Mexico City, which are under threat of extinction. [1] The risk to these creatures is made doubly concerning when you consider their incredible ability to regenerate and apparent immunity to cancer, which is of great interest to scientists and companies working in the Longevity sector. One such company is Bioquark, a Philadelphia-based life sciences company that is working on the development of combinatorial biologics for the rejuvenation and repair of human organs and tissues. Among its clinical plans, it lists the development of therapeutic products for cancer reversion, organ repair and regeneration, and even brain death resuscitation. Nothing major then!

Bioquark has developed a novel combinatorial biologic called BQ-A, which mimics the regulatory biochemistry of the living human egg (oocyte) immediately following fertilization. While ooplasm-based reprogramming has been studied in experiments such as in-vitro fertilization and cloning, Bioquark claims it is the first company to apply it to somatic tissue in mammals.

We spoke with Bioquark’s CEO, Ira Pastor, a 30-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, to find out more about the company and where it’s headed.

Nov 19, 2019

Tardigrades, Cryptobiosis, and Survival at the Extremes!! — Dr. Thomas Boothby, University of Wyoming — ideaXme — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, alien life, bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, cryonics, DNA, futurism, genetics, health

Nov 18, 2019

Scientists discover body’s protection shield

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry

Scientists have discovered a way to manipulate the body’s own immune response to boost tissue repair. The findings, published in Current Biology today, reveal a new network of protective factors to shield cells against damage. This discovery, made by University of Bristol researchers, could significantly benefit patients undergoing surgery by speeding recovery times and lowering the risk of complication.

When a is damaged, (either accidentally or through surgery), the body quickly recruits to the injury site where they fight infection by engulfing and killing invading pathogens, through the release of toxic factors (such as unstable molecules containing oxygen known as “reactive oxygen species” e.g. peroxides). However, these bactericidal products are also highly toxic to the host tissue and can disrupt the repair process. To counteract these the repairing tissue activates powerful protective machinery to “shield” itself from the damage.

Now, researchers from Bristol’s School of Biochemistry studying , have mapped the exact identities of these protective pathways and identified how to stimulate this process in naïve tissues.

Nov 18, 2019

An artificial intelligence algorithm can learn the laws of quantum mechanics

Posted by in categories: chemistry, information science, quantum physics, robotics/AI

Artificial intelligence can be used to predict molecular wave functions and the electronic properties of molecules. This innovative AI method developed by a team of researchers at the University of Warwick, the Technical University of Berlin and the University of Luxembourg, could be used to speed-up the design of drug molecules or new materials.

Artificial intelligence and are routinely used to predict our purchasing behavior and to recognize our faces or handwriting. In , Artificial Intelligence is establishing itself as a crucial tool for scientific discovery.

In chemistry, AI has become instrumental in predicting the outcomes of experiments or simulations of quantum systems. To achieve this, AI needs to be able to systematically incorporate the fundamental laws of .

Nov 17, 2019

RNA Therapies — Professor Dr. Lorna Harries, PhD — University of Exeter Medical School — ideaXme — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, biotech/medical, chemistry, DNA, genetics, health, life extension, posthumanism, science, transhumanism

Nov 14, 2019

An unusual type of polymorphism in a liquid crystal

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, computing

Polymorphism is a remarkable concept in chemistry, materials science, computer science, and biology. Whether it is the ability of a material to exist in two or more crystal structures, a single interface connecting to two different entities, or alternative phenotypes of an organism, polymorphism determines function and properties. In materials science, polymorphism can be found in an impressively wide range of materials, including crystalline materials, minerals, metals, alloys, and polymers. Here we report on polymorphism in a liquid crystal. A bent-core liquid crystal with a single chiral side chain forms two structurally and morphologically significantly different liquid crystal phases solely depending on the cooling rate from the isotropic liquid state. On slow cooling, the thermodynamically more stable oblique columnar phase forms, and on rapid cooling, a not heretofore reported helical microfilament phase. Since structure determines function and properties, the structural color for these phases also differs.

Nov 14, 2019

Scientists synthesize light with new intrinsic chirality to tell mirror molecules apart

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry

Light is the fastest way to distinguish right- and left-handed chiral molecules, which has important applications in chemistry and biology. However, ordinary light only weakly senses molecular handedness. Researchers from the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy (MBI), the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) and Technische Universitaet Berlin (TU Berlin) now report a method to generate and characterize synthetic chiral light, which identifies molecules’ handedness exceptionally distinctly. The results of their joint work have just appeared in Nature Photonics.

Like left and right hands, some molecules in nature have mirror twins. However, while these twin molecules may look similar, some of their properties can be very different. For instance, the handedness—or chirality—of molecules plays an essential role in chemistry, biology, and drug development. While one type of a molecule can cure a disease, its mirror twin—or enantiomer—may be toxic or even lethal.

It is extremely hard to tell opposite apart because they look identical and behave identically unless they interact with another chiral object. Light has long been used to detect chirality—oscillations of the electromagnetic field draw a chiral helix in space along the light propagation direction. Depending on whether the helix twirls clockwise or counterclockwise, the light wave is either right- or left-handed. However, the helix pitch, set by the light wavelength, is about 1000 times bigger than the size of a molecule. So the light helix is a gigantic circle compared to the tiny molecules, which hardly react to its chirality.

Nov 14, 2019

Magnets sustainably separate mixtures of rare earth metals

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, economics, mobile phones

A new study describes a novel approach for purifying rare earth metals, crucial components of technology that require environmentally-damaging mining procedures. By relying on the metal’s magnetic fields during the crystallization process, researchers were able to efficiently and selectively separate mixtures of rare earth metals.

Seventy-five of the ’s 118 elements are carried in the pockets and purses of more than 100 million U.S. iPhone users every day. Some of these elements are abundant, like silicon in computer chips or aluminum for cases, but certain metals that are required for crisp displays and clear sounds are difficult to obtain. Seventeen elements known as are crucial components of many technologies but are not found in concentrated deposits, and, because they are more dispersed, require toxic and environmentally-damaging procedures to extract.

With the goal of developing better ways to recycle these metals, new research from the lab of Eric Schelter describes a new approach for separating mixtures of rare earth metals with the help of a . The approach, published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, saw a doubling in separation performance and is a starting point towards a cleaner and more circular rare earth metals economy.

Nov 11, 2019

How Long Before Sodium Batteries Are Worth Their Salt?

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, mobile phones, transportation

Circa 2017


Today, lithium is the active ingredient in batteries that power smart phones, laptops, and cars. But because of the price of lithium, researchers have been looking for another, more abundant element that could replace it. Several start-ups and established companies have tackled the idea of developing rechargeable batteries in which the active ingredient is sodium, lithium’s neighbor on the periodic table.

Besides its availability, sodium has several other important properties—not the least of which is its resistance to catching on fire. What’s more, “It was a good candidate because it could store a similar amount of energy as compared to lithium,” remembers Minah Lee, who does research on sodium batteries at Stanford University.

Continue reading “How Long Before Sodium Batteries Are Worth Their Salt?” »

Nov 11, 2019

DNA is only one among millions of possible genetic molecules

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

Biology encodes information in DNA and RNA, which are complex molecules finely tuned to their functions. But are they the only way to store hereditary molecular information? Some scientists believe life as we know it could not have existed before there were nucleic acids, thus understanding how they came to exist on the primitive Earth is a fundamental goal of basic research. The central role of nucleic acids in biological information flow also makes them key targets for pharmaceutical research, and synthetic molecules mimicking nucleic acids form the basis of many treatments for viral diseases, including HIV. Other nucleic acid-like polymers are known, yet much remains unknown regarding possible alternatives for hereditary information storage. Using sophisticated computational methods, scientists from the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Emory University explored the “chemical neighbourhood” of nucleic acid analogues. Surprisingly, they found well over a million variants, suggesting a vast unexplored universe of chemistry relevant to pharmacology, biochemistry and efforts to understand the origins of life. The molecules revealed by this study could be further modified to gives hundreds of millions of potential pharmaceutical drug leads.

Nucleic acids were first identified in the 19th century, but their composition, biological role and function were not understood by scientists until the 20th century. The discovery of DNA’s double-helical structure by Watson and Crick in 1953 revealed a simple explanation for how biology and evolution function. All living things on Earth store information in DNA, which consists of two polymer strands wrapped around each other like a caduceus, with each strand being the complement of the other. When the strands are pulled apart, copying the complement on either template results in two copies of the original. The DNA polymer itself is composed of a sequence of “letters,” the bases adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine © and thymine (T), and living organisms have evolved ways to make sure during DNA copying that the appropriate sequence of letters is almost always reproduced. The sequence of bases is copied into RNA by proteins, which then is read into a protein sequence.

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