THROWBACK THURSDAY! Brought to you by Sept. 20, 2013
Jim Al-Khalili discusses the risks involved in switching to a new area of research and invites chemists to take a quantum biology leap
he admits that the field has already been studied since the 1930s, but the arrogance still lingers
When scientists get too honest
> I would love to see more science posts on Tumblr. I particularly liked, “The postdoc who did all the work has since left to start a bakery.”
Well scientists are still human after all.
"because the centrifuge made a scary noise"
This is my kind of science.
I like the stock/actual photos used for the background.
Nanoengineers at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering have invented incredibly tiny sponges capable of soaking up a broad class of dangerous toxins in the bloodstream. So-called “pore-forming toxins” punch holes in cell membranes, killing them, and are produced by lethal microbes like MRSA and E. coli and in the venoms of snakes and bees.
Unlike other anti-toxin platforms that require customization to individual toxin types, the scientists say the new nanosponges (approximately 85 nanometers in diameter or roughly 3,000 times smaller than a red blood cell) absorb multiple toxins regardless of molecular shape. In a study using alpha-haemolysin toxin from MRSA, pre-innoculation with nanosponges enabled 89 percent of tested mice to survive lethal doses. Administering nanosponges after the lethal dose led to 44 percent survival.
Read the full news release here.
A pretty amazing (and completely new!) way of removing toxins from the blood stream: The nanosponges, which are 3000 times smaller than red blood cells, flood the blood stream and intercept the toxins. The nanosponge can absorb tens to hundreds of toxins before it is eventually metabolized by the liver (with no ill effects).
that’s promising. more research! (i.e. more funding!)
James Gorman in the NYT:
Scientists at Stanford Universityreported on Wednesday that they have made a whole mouse brain, and part of a human brain, transparent so that networks of neurons that receive and send information can be highlighted in stunning color and viewed in all their three-dimensional complexity without slicing up the organ.
Even more important, experts say, is that unlike earlier methods for making the tissue of brains and other organs transparent, the new process, called Clarity by its inventors, preserves the biochemistry of the brain so well that researchers can test it over and over again with chemicals that highlight specific structures and provide clues to past activity. The researchers say this process may help uncover the physical underpinnings of devastating mental disorders like schizophrenia, autism,post-traumatic stress disorder and others.
The work, reported on Wednesday in the journal Nature, is not part of the Obama administration’s recently announced initiative to probe the secrets of the brain, although the senior author on the paper, Dr. Karl Deisseroth at Stanford, was one of those involved in creating the initiative and is involved in planning its future.
Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, which provided some of the financing for the research, described the new work as helping to build an anatomical “foundation” for the Obama initiative, which is meant to look at activity in the brain.
Dr. Insel added that the technique works in a human brain that has been in formalin, a preservative, for years, which means that long-saved human brains may be studied. “Frankly,” he said, “that is spectacular.”
Kwanghun Chung, the primary author on the paper, and Dr. Deisseroth worked with a team at Stanford for years to get the technique right. Dr. Deisseroth, known for developing another powerful technique, called optogenetics, that allows the use of light to switch specific brain activity on and off, said Clarity could have a broader impact than optogenetics. “It’s really one of the most exciting things we’ve done,” he said, with potential applications in neuroscience and beyond.
So glad I was able to see the first public unveiling of this research at Clark. YAY! Fluorescent Proteins!
friday’s lab meeting
A cascade, fifteen or so step, one-pot reaction yielding one freak heterocycle as the main product, with more sulfurs in it than … I dunno what.
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 1997, 36, 281-283. (DOI: 10.1002/anie.199702811)
Listen to this. Hünig’s base acts as a reactant and electrophilic sulfurs play the main characters. I love it. This is the crème de la crème of heterocyclic chemistry.
I can’t resist the temptation to once again mock retrosynthetic analysis. How many of you upon beeing presented with structure 1, would stand up and say
‘Hm… maybe if I treated Hünigs base with sulfur dichloride in the presence of DABCO…’?