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Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 5.00M | Year: 2014

Quantum technologies promise a transformation of measurement, communication and computation by using ideas originating from quantum physics. The UK was the birthplace of many of the seminal ideas and techniques; the technologies are now ready to translate from the laboratory into industrial applications. Since international companies are already moving in this area, there is a critical need across the UK for highly-skilled researchers who will be the future leaders in quantum technology. Our proposal is driven by the need to train this new generation of leaders. They will need to be equipped to function in a complex research and engineering landscape where quantum physics meets cryptography, complexity and information theory, devices, materials, software and hardware engineering. We propose to train a cohort of leaders to meet these challenges within the highly interdisciplinary research environment provided by UCL, its commercial and governmental laboratory partners. In their first year the students will obtain a background in devices, information and computational sciences through three concentrated modules organized around current research issues. They will complete a team project and a longer individual research project, preparing them for their choice of main research doctoral topic at the end of the year. Cross-cohort training in communication skills, technology transfer, enterprise, teamwork and career planning will continue throughout the four years. Peer to peer learning will be continually facilitated not only by organized cross-cohort activities, but also by the day to day social interaction among the members of the cohort thanks to their co-location at UCL.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Training Grant | Award Amount: 3.99M | Year: 2014

The Scottish Doctoral Training Centre in Condensed Matter Physics, known as the CM-DTC, is an EPSRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) addressing the broad field of Condensed Matter Physics (CMP). CMP is a core discipline that underpins many other areas of science, and is one of the Priority Areas for this CDT call. Renewal funding for the CM-DTC will allow five more annual cohorts of PhD students to be recruited, trained and released onto the market. They will be highly educated professionals with a knowledge of the field, in depth and in breadth, that will equip them for future leadership in a variety of academic and industrial careers. Condensed Matter Physics research impacts on many other fields of science including engineering, biophysics, photonics, chemistry, and materials science. It is a significant engine for innovation and drives new technologies. Recent examples include the use of liquid crystals for displays including flat-screen and 3D television, and the use of solid-state or polymeric LEDs for power-saving high-illumination lighting systems. Future examples may involve harnessing the potential of graphene (the worlds thinnest and strongest sheet-like material), or the creation of exotic low-temperature materials whose properties may enable the design of radically new types of (quantum) computer with which to solve some of the hardest problems of mathematics. The UKs continued ability to deliver transformative technologies of this character requires highly trained CMP researchers such as those the Centre will produce. The proposed training approach is built on a strong framework of taught lecture courses, with core components and a wide choice of electives. This spans the first two years so that PhD research begins alongside the coursework from the outset. It is complemented by hands-on training in areas such as computer-intensive physics and instrument building (including workshop skills and 3D printing). Some lecture courses are delivered in residential schools but most are videoconferenced live, using the well-established infrastructure of SUPA (the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance). Students meet face to face frequently, often for more than one day, at cohort-building events that emphasise teamwork in science, outreach, transferable skills and careers training. National demand for our graduates is demonstrated by the large number of companies and organisations who have chosen to be formally affiliated with our CDT as Industrial Associates. The range of sectors spanned by these Associates is notable. Some, such as e2v and Oxford Instruments, are scientific consultancies and manufacturers of scientific equipment, whom one would expect to be among our core stakeholders. Less obviously, the list also represents scientific publishers, software houses, companies small and large from the energy sector, large multinationals such as Solvay-Rhodia and Siemens, and finance and patent law firms. This demonstrates a key attraction of our graduates: their high levels of core skills, and a hands-on approach to problem solving. These impart a discipline-hopping ability which more focussed training for specific sectors can complement, but not replace. This breadth is prized by employers in a fast-changing environment where years of vocational training can sometimes be undermined very rapidly by unexpected innovation in an apparently unrelated sector. As the UK builds its technological future by funding new CDTs across a range of priority areas, it is vital to include some that focus on core discipline skills, specifically Condensed Matter Physics, rather than the interdisciplinary or semi-vocational training that features in many other CDTs. As well as complementing those important activities today, our highly trained PhD graduates will be equipped to lay the foundations for the research fields (and perhaps some of the industrial sectors) of tomorrow.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The high level of genetic diversity between individual tumors suggests that if it were to be developed, a broad cancer vaccine would be unlikely to work for more than 0.3% of the population, according to new research published in the open access journal Genome Medicine. Next generation sequencing has revealed a wealth of information on the genetic diversity of tumors, which in turn has led to research into individualised treatments for cancer based on the molecular characteristics of a patient's tumor. Cancer vaccines are one type of prospective treatment that involves turning the patient's immune system against the tumor. Dr Ryan Hartmaier, lead author from Foundation Medicine, USA, said: "A broad or semi-universal vaccine capable of targeting many different tumors would be seen by some as the 'holy grail' of cancer therapy as it wouldn't involve the time or cost of individualising treatment." "We undertook comprehensive genetic analysis of over 60,000 unique tumors to look for sets of genetic alterations that could potentially be targeted to generate a semi-universal cancer vaccine. However, our findings demonstrate that even in the best-case scenario a vaccine would be useful for less than 0.3% of the population". One way a cancer vaccine works is by recognising a biological molecule in a patient's tumor that is 'non-self' and turning the patient's immune system against it, as it would a bacterial infection. The key to producing a vaccine to do this is to work out what specifically in the tumor could be targeted. Neo-antigens are molecules produced by tumors as a result of tumor-specific genetic alterations that mark the tumor as being non-self. Individualised cancer vaccines could be developed for each person based on their own tumor neo-antigens but this isn't currently feasible or practical on a large scale. In theory, a broad cancer vaccine that targeted multiple neo-antigens would only need to match up with one neo-antigen in every tumor to illicit a response, so could be used to treat many people with different cancers. However, not every alteration to a gene produces a targetable neo-antigen, something that could prove problematic to the design of a broad cancer vaccine. Dr Hartmaier explained: "If we limit our analysis to a relatively small set of carefully selected genetic alterations, a large portion of the tumors we studied have at least one of these alterations, suggesting that there could be scope for a broad cancer vaccine. But because not all of these genetic alterations will produce a neo-antigen, we had to perform computer-aided analysis to predict which of the alterations would be targetable. We were able to predict that between 2 and 12% of the alterations would produce a neo-antigen." "From these we were able to select a panel of 10 neo-antigens that could be applied to the maximum amount of unique tumors in our data set. This revealed that between 0.7 and 2.5% of the tumors in our study contained at least one alteration that would produce one of our predicted neo-antigens. We estimate this to encompass less than 0.3% of the population." The researchers only looked at known cancer-associated genes in this study and they state that they cannot exclude the possibility that unknown genetic alterations exist elsewhere in the genome that could produce broadly targetable neo-antigens. Neo-antigens are also less likely to occur in cancer-associated genes so it is possible that many more neo-antigens exist outside of these regions. The researchers state that their computer model for predicting neo-antigens focussed on one particular biological pathway and further investigation needs to address other routes of neo-antigen production. Genomic analysis of 63,220 tumors reveals insights into tumor uniqueness and targeted cancer immunotherapy strategies Hartmaier et al. Genome Medicine Feb 2017 During embargo period, the article is available here: http://bit. After the embargo lifts, the article will be available at the journal website here: https:/ Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy. 2. Genome Medicine publishes research and reviews that describe important advances in the application of genetics, genomics and multi-omics to understand, diagnose and treat disease. Areas covered include, but are not limited to: precision medicine, novel methods and software, cancer genomics, disease genomics and epigenomics, immunogenomics, infectious disease, microbiome and systems medicine. 3. BioMed Central is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Nature, a major new force in scientific, scholarly, professional and educational publishing, created in May 2015 through the combination of Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, Macmillan Education and Springer Science+Business Media. http://www.


News Article | February 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A team of lemur biologists and computer scientists has modified human facial recognition methods to develop a semi-automated system that can identify individual lemurs. The new technology, dubbed LemurFaceID, is reported this week in the open access journal BMC Zoology. According to the research team from The George Washington University, University of Arizona, Hunter College, and Michigan State University, USA, this is the first time that facial recognition technology has been applied to any of the over 100 lemur species endemic to Madagascar. The researchers showed that LemurFaceID can correctly identify individual lemurs with 98.7% accuracy, given two face images of the individual. Dr Rachel Jacobs, the corresponding author from The George Washington University said: "Using photos we had taken of wild red-bellied lemurs in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, our co-author Anil Jain and members from his laboratory were able to adapt a facial recognition system designed for human faces so that it recognizes individual lemurs based on their facial characteristics. We were surprised with the high degree of accuracy that we achieved, which shows that facial recognition can be a useful tool for lemur identification." For short-term studies of lemurs, researchers often rely on unique, individual identifiers to recognize individual lemurs, such as differences in body size and shape or the presence of injuries and scars. However, relying on variations in appearance can make it difficult for different researchers to identify the same individual over time. This and other factors mean that long-term, multi-generation studies of lemur populations are limited. Stacey Tecot, senior author of the study said: "Studying individuals and populations over long periods of time provides crucial data on how long individuals live in the wild, how frequently they reproduce, as well as rates of infant and juvenile mortality and ultimately population growth and decline. Information like that can inform conservation strategies for lemurs, a highly endangered group of mammals." The researchers suggest that the new technology could remove many of the limitations associated with traditional methods for lemur identification. Dr Jacobs explained: "Capture and collar methods are a common practice for the identification of wild lemurs but these methods can pose risks to the animals, such as injury or stress, as well as costs for veterinary services and anesthesia. Our method is non-invasive and would help reduce or eliminate some of these costs." To address the challenge of developing a non-invasive method for identifying individual lemurs that can facilitate long-term research, the researchers modified and tested human facial recognition technology specifically for lemur faces, using a dataset of 462 images of 80 red-bellied lemur individuals, and a database containing a further 190 images of other lemur species. Many lemur faces possess unique features such as hair and skin patterns that computer systems can be trained to recognize. In addition to expanding longitudinal research on lemur populations and assisting conservation efforts, the researchers believe that the face recognition methods developed for LemurFaceID could be useful for identification of other primate and non-primate species with variable facial hair and skin patterns, such as bears, red pandas, raccoons or sloths. The authors also point out that in non-captive settings, where unknown individuals might enter a population, the system's accuracy was lower and further testing involving larger datasets of individuals and photographs is needed. 1. Images and videos are available from Anne Korn at BioMed Central. 2. Research article: LemurFaceID: a face recognition system to facilitate individual identification of lemurs Crouse et al BMC Zoology 2017 DOI: 10.1186/s40850-016-0011-9 During the embargo period, the article is available from Anne Korn at BioMed Central. After the embargo lifts, the article will be available at the journal website here: http://bmczool. Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy. 3. BMC Zoology is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that considers articles on all aspects of zoology, including comparative physiology, mechanistic and functional studies, morphology, life history, animal behavior, signaling and communication, cognition, parasitism, systematics, biogeography and conservation. 4. BioMed Central is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Nature, a major new force in scientific, scholarly, professional and educational publishing, created in May 2015 through the combination of Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, Macmillan Education and Springer Science+Business Media. http://www.


News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers at Tohoku University believe that it is possible for natural diamonds to form at the base of the Earth's mantle (Fig.1). The formation of such "super-deep" diamonds was simulated using high-pressure and high-temperature experiments by the Japanese research team, led by Fumiya Maeda. Diamonds are evidence that carbon exists deep in the Earth. Most natural diamonds are formed around the depth of 200km. But it's been suggested that some extremely rare diamonds come from as deep as 400km. Such diamonds are called "super-deep" diamonds, and researchers are hoping that they may offer new clues about the deep interior of the Earth. This is because natural diamonds often contain mineral inclusions in their crystals, and these inclusions can reveal the conditions of the environment where the diamonds were formed. The hardness of the diamonds also make them good capsules as they can protect the inclusions from contamination or breakdown when they are brought to the Earth's surface. Although super-deep diamonds can provide good samples to help understand the Earth's deep interior, researchers say they are still uncertain of the real depth and the formation process of these diamonds. Results of their experiment show that super-deep diamonds can form through the reaction of Mg-carbonate and silica minerals. The reaction may occur in cold plates which descend all the way to the base of the mantle (Fig. 2). Details of actual diamond formation in such a deep part of the Earth has so far, never been reported. But researchers plan to combine their recent experimental model with observation and analysis, in the hopes of getting information from natural diamonds that would provide further knowledge about our planet. This study was published in Nature Publishing Group's "Scientific Reports" on January 13, 2017.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Heidelberg| New York, Feb. 8, 2017 -- Clint Alfaro is the winner of this year's ABC Best Paper Award, presented by the Springer journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. In a paper published in ABC, first author Alfaro and his colleagues describe molecular techniques, in particular mass spectrometry, which have great potential to augment the surgeon's toolbox. The techniques could guide surgical decision making during tumor resection, thus benefiting patient outcomes. The award, accompanied by 1,500 euros, was created by Springer to honor exceptional young scientists and to stimulate their research careers. The ABC Best Paper Award has been given since 2005. "This research is a key contribution to the literature as it clearly demonstrates how innovations in mass spectrometry ionization sources can have significant impact in medicine," said David C. Muddiman, Editor of ABC. "In the study, Alfaro and his colleagues demonstrate the use of touch-spray mass spectrometry for the direct analysis of kidney tissue from patients with renal cell carcinoma. They were able to demonstrate very high sensitivity and specificity of this approach; moreover, the authors carried out DESI in mass spectrometry imaging mode as a reference method which also yielded high sensitivity and specificity. Interestingly, detailed analysis of the data showed that the two different methods used different molecules to delineate cancer from non-cancerous tissue. This report is a major step forward as it demonstrates the power of mass spectrometry 'in the operating room,' a location that will grow exponentially in the next several decades." Clint M. Alfaro (25) is a PhD candidate in analytical chemistry at Purdue University. He graduated with international honors and a B.S. in biochemistry and biology from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, in 2014. His current research focuses on applications and method development in the rapid disease-state characterization of surgical biopsy specimens with ambient ionization-MS. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry's mission is the rapid publication of excellent and high-impact research articles on fundamental and applied topics of analytical and bioanalytical science. Its scope is broad, encompassing the entire range of analytical and bioanalytical research and encouraging multidisciplinary solutions to problems in this field. ABC counts among the leading journals in its field and is partly owned by eight prestigious chemical societies. Springer is part of Springer Nature, a leading global research, educational and professional publisher, home to an array of respected and trusted brands providing quality content through a range of innovative products and services. Springer Nature is the world's largest academic book publisher, publisher of the world's most influential journals and a pioneer in the field of open research. The company numbers almost 13,000 staff in over 50 countries. Springer Nature was formed in 2015 through the merger of Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, Macmillan Education and Springer Science+Business Media. Visit http://www. and follow @SpringerNature.


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Milano-Bicocca are bringing the dream of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy one step closer to reality thanks to high tech silicon nanoparticles. The researchers developed technology to embed the silicon nanoparticles into what they call efficient luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs). These LSCs are the key element of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy. When light shines through the surface, the useful frequencies of light are trapped inside and concentrated to the edges where small solar cells can be put in place to capture the energy. The research is published today in Nature Photonics, a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Nature Publishing Group. Windows that can collect solar energy, called photovoltaic windows, are the next frontier in renewable energy technologies, as they have the potential to largely increase the surface of buildings suitable for energy generation without impacting their aesthetics--a crucial aspect, especially in metropolitan areas. LSC-based photovoltaic windows do not require any bulky structure to be applied onto their surface and since the photovoltaic cells are hidden in the window frame, they blend invisibly into the built environment. The idea of solar concentrators and solar cells integrated into building design has been around for decades, but this study included one key difference--silicon nanoparticles. Until recently, the best results had been achieved using relatively complex nanostructures based either on potentially toxic elements, such as cadmium or lead, or on rare substances like indium, which is already massively utilized for other technologies. Silicon is abundant in the environment and non-toxic. It also works more efficiently by absorbing light at different wavelengths than it emits. However, silicon in its conventional bulk form, does not emit light or luminesce. "In our lab, we 'trick' nature by shirking the dimension of silicon crystals to a few nanometers, that is about one ten-thousandths of the diameter of human hair," said University of Minnesota mechanical engineering professor Uwe Kortshagen, inventor of the process for creating silicon nanoparticles and one of the senior authors of the study. "At this size, silicon's properties change and it becomes an efficient light emitter, with the important property not to re-absorb its own luminescence. This is the key feature that makes silicon nanoparticles ideally suited for LSC applications." Using the silicon nanoparticles opened up many new possibilities for the research team. "Over the last few years, the LSC technology has experienced rapid acceleration, thanks also to pioneering studies conducted in Italy, but finding suitable materials for harvesting and concentrating solar light was still an open challenge," said Sergio Brovelli, physics professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca, co-author of the study, and co-founder of the spin-off company Glass to Power that is industrializing LSCs for photovoltaic windows "Now, it is possible to replace these elements with silicon nanoparticles." Researchers say the optical features of silicon nanoparticles and their nearly perfect compatibility with the industrial process for producing the polymer LSCs create a clear path to creating efficient photovoltaic windows that can capture more than 5 percent of the sun's energy at unprecedented low costs. "This will make LSC-based photovoltaic windows a real technology for the building-integrated photovoltaic market without the potential limitations of other classes of nanoparticles based on relatively rare materials," said Francesco Meinardi, physics professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca and one of the first authors of the paper. The silicon nanoparticles are produced in a high-tech process using a plasma reactor and formed into a powder. "Each particle is made up of less than two thousand silicon atoms," said Samantha Ehrenberg, a University of Minnesota mechanical Ph.D. student and another first author of the study. "The powder is turned into an ink-like solution and then embedded into a polymer, either forming a sheet of flexible plastic material or coating a surface with a thin film." The University of Minnesota invented the process for creating silicon nanoparticles about a dozen years ago and holds a number of patents on this technology. In 2015, Kortshagen met Brovelli, who is an expert in LSC fabrication and had already demonstrated various successful approaches to efficient LSCs based on other nanoparticle systems. The potential of silicon nanoparticles for this technology was immediately clear and the partnership was born. The University of Minnesota produced the particles and researchers in Italy fabricated the LSCs by embedding them in polymers through an industrial based method, and it worked. "This was truly a partnership where we gathered the best researchers in their fields to make an old idea truly successful," Kortshagen said. "We had the expertise in making the silicon nanoparticles and our partners in Milano had expertise in fabricating the luminescent concentrators. When it all came together, we knew we had something special." Funding for the research study includes a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Basic Science Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics, an Energy Frontier Research Center and a grant from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme. Ehrenberg also received funding from a National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellowship and the Benjamin Y.H. and Helen Liu Fellowship. To read the full research paper entitled "Highly efficient luminescent solar concentrators based on Earth-abundant indirect-bandgap silicon quantum dots" visit the Nature Photonics website.


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Milano-Bicocca are bringing the dream of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy one step closer to reality thanks to high tech silicon nanoparticles. The researchers developed technology to embed the silicon nanoparticles into what they call efficient luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs). These LSCs are the key element of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy. When light shines through the surface, the useful frequencies of light are trapped inside and concentrated to the edges where small solar cells can be put in place to capture the energy. The research is published today in Nature Photonics, a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Nature Publishing Group. Windows that can collect solar energy, called photovoltaic windows, are the next frontier in renewable energy technologies, as they have the potential to largely increase the surface of buildings suitable for energy generation without impacting their aesthetics—a crucial aspect, especially in metropolitan areas. LSC-based photovoltaic windows do not require any bulky structure to be applied onto their surface and since the photovoltaic cells are hidden in the window frame, they blend invisibly into the built environment. The idea of solar concentrators and solar cells integrated into building design has been around for decades, but this study included one key difference—silicon nanoparticles. Until recently, the best results had been achieved using relatively complex nanostructures based either on potentially toxic elements, such as cadmium or lead, or on rare substances like indium, which is already massively utilized for other technologies. Silicon is abundant in the environment and non-toxic. It also works more efficiently by absorbing light at different wavelengths than it emits. However, silicon in its conventional bulk form, does not emit light or luminesce. “In our lab, we ‘trick’ nature by shirking the dimension of silicon crystals to a few nanometers, that is about one ten-thousandths of the diameter of human hair,” said  University of Minnesota mechanical engineering professor Uwe Kortshagen, inventor of the process for creating silicon nanoparticles and one of the senior authors of the study. “At this size, silicon’s properties change and it becomes an efficient light emitter, with the important property not to re-absorb its own luminescence. This is the key feature that makes silicon nanoparticles ideally suited for LSC applications.” Using the silicon nanoparticles opened up many new possibilities for the research team. “Over the last few years, the LSC technology has experienced rapid acceleration, thanks also to pioneering studies conducted in Italy, but finding suitable materials for harvesting and concentrating solar light was still an open challenge,” said Sergio Brovelli, physics professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca, co-author of the study, and co-founder of the spin-off company Glass to Power that is industrializing LSCs for photovoltaic windows “Now, it is possible to replace these elements with silicon nanoparticles.” Researchers say the optical features of silicon nanoparticles and their nearly perfect compatibility with the industrial process for producing the polymer LSCs create a clear path to creating efficient photovoltaic windows that can capture more than 5 percent of the sun’s energy at unprecedented low costs. “This will make LSC-based photovoltaic windows a real technology for the building-integrated photovoltaic market without the potential limitations of other classes of nanoparticles based on relatively rare materials,” said Francesco Meinardi, physics professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca and one of the first authors of the paper. The silicon nanoparticles are produced in a high-tech process using a plasma reactor and formed into a powder. “Each particle is made up of less than two thousand silicon atoms,” said Samantha Ehrenberg, a University of Minnesota mechanical Ph.D. student and another first author of the study. “The powder is turned into an ink-like solution and then embedded into a polymer, either forming a sheet of flexible plastic material or coating a surface with a thin film.” The University of Minnesota invented the process for creating silicon nanoparticles about a dozen years ago and holds a number of patents on this technology. In 2015, Kortshagen met Brovelli, who is an expert in LSC fabrication and had already demonstrated various successful approaches to efficient LSCs based on other nanoparticle systems. The potential of silicon nanoparticles for this technology was immediately clear and the partnership was born. The University of Minnesota produced the particles and researchers in Italy fabricated the LSCs by embedding them in polymers through an industrial based method, and it worked. “This was truly a partnership where we gathered the best researchers in their fields to make an old idea truly successful,” Kortshagen said. “We had the expertise in making the silicon nanoparticles and our partners in Milano had expertise in fabricating the luminescent concentrators. When it all came together, we knew we had something special.” Funding for the research study includes a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Basic Science Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics, an Energy Frontier Research Center and a grant from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme. Ehrenberg also received funding from a National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellowship and the Benjamin Y.H. and Helen Liu Fellowship. To read the full research paper entitled “Highly efficient luminescent solar concentrators based on Earth-abundant indirect-bandgap silicon quantum dots” visit the Nature Photonics website.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

While the correlation between air pollution and respiratory complications is well-known, a new scientific study conducted over fifteen years has been published, which shows strong evidence that polluted air can cause cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer's. Inhaling polluted air is well-known to cause lung cancer, asthma, allergies, and heart disease, but recent studies show that breathing in polluted air can DOUBLE the risk of dementia, especially in older women. In fact, women aged 65 to 79 exposed to heavier air pollution were four times more likely to experience cognitive decline*. Women with the APOE4 gene (a genetic variant that occurs in 20% of the population and presents an increased risk for Alzheimer’s) combined with exposure to air pollution were 295% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than the control group*. The link is still being explored to determine the risk quantities and confirm casual causation, but as more research is being conducted, the connection is becoming stronger. It is not just big cities or highly polluted metropolitan areas that are exposed to these dangerous micro particles. The EPA states “indoor air can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air.”* Because Americans “[spend] approximately 90% of their time indoors,”* the dangers of indoor air are significantly higher (due to the extensive exposure) than what is typically considered to be “polluted air,” i.e., smog, car exhaust, etc. One of the most effective ways to reduce the harmful pollutants, pollen, dust, dander, and smoke in homes is by changing HVAC air filters on a regular schedule. The average heating and cooling system pushes all the home’s air through the filter every ninety minutes. By changing the filter(s) regularly and using an appropriate grade of filter, the amount of pollutants in the home can be minimized. About FilterEasy Launched in 2014, Raleigh-based FilterEasy offers consumers a subscription-based HVAC air filter fulfillment service using a proprietary web-based platform to provide a convenient solution to a common lingering problem – remembering when to change an HVAC air filter. FilterEasy’s subscription model guarantees that correct size HVAC air filters are conveniently delivered to a home’s doorstep so they may be changed on a regular basis, which can reduce monthly heating and cooling expenses by 5%-15%. AAF Flanders, the nation’s largest residential HVAC filter manufacturer and supplier to NASA and U.S. hospital systems, manufactures FilterEasy HVAC filters in the United States. Visit FilterEasy.com. Works Cited *Cacciottolo, M., X. Wang, I. Driscoll, N. Woodward, A. Saffari, J. Reyes, M. L. Serre, W. Vizuete, C. Sioutas, T. E. Morgan, M. Gatz, H. C. Chui, S. A. Shumaker, S. M. Resnick, M. A. Espeland, C. E. Finch, and J. C. Chen. "Particulate air pollutants, APOE alleles and their contributions to cognitive impairment in older women and to amyloidogenesis in experimental models." Nature News. Nature Publishing Group, 01 Jan. 2017. Web. 21 Feb. 2017. http://www.nature.com/tp/journal/v7/n1/full/tp2016280a.html *Weuve J, Puett RC, Schwartz J, Yanosky JD, Laden F, Grodstein F. Exposure to particulate air pollution and cognitive decline in older women. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Feb 13;172(3):219-27. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.683. PubMed PMID: 22332151; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3622279. *"Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning Systems, Part of Indoor Air Quality Design Tools for Schools." United States Environmental Protection Agency, 17 Oct. 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2017. *"EPA's Report on the Environment." United States Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.


News Article | March 1, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

In a new study to be found in 'Scientific Reports' published by 'Nature', they show that with this method, nine out of ten cells survive being injected with foreign molecules. One of the most well-known methods for studying bacterial, plant, and animal cells is fluorescence microscopy. When using this method, proteins or other structures in a cell are stained with the help of fluorescent probes. These molecules are fluorescent. Light excitation makes them glow, thereby illuminating the labeled structures inside the cell. 'The method works very well on fixed, that is non-living cells,' says Professor Dr. Thomas Huser, head of the Biomolecular Photonics research group. 'However, the problem is that much of what we want to know can be gained only from living cells.' Dr. Simon Hennig adds: 'Living cells impede the intrusion of most fluorescent probes.' The physicist is working in Huser's research group. To overcome this resistance when delivering fluorescent probes into the cells, he has developed the method of nanoinjection. He uses a minute hollow glass pipette to deliver the fluorescent molecules to individual cells. The process is controlled by a computer. An instrument specially developed for nanoinjection inserts the pipette into the cell. The tip of this glass capillary is much smaller than that used in usual microinjection. Moreover, the process prevents the cell from increasing insize, because only the molecules are transferred and not the liquid in the pipette as well. 'The method is so precise that we can even deliver the molecules to the nucleus of a cell,' says Hennig. The new study confirms that the method can be used to inject many types of probes and that is it very well tolerated by the cells. 'This proof was necessary, because previous techniques such as microinjection harm the cells so much that most do not survive the treatment,' says Hennig. His colleague Matthias Simonis tested the nanoinjection method on more than 300 cells and compared the results with those of microinjection. The main finding was that 92 per cent of the cells survived nanoinjection compared to 40 per cent for microinjection. 'The analyses also confirmed that these treated cells cells proliferated normally,' says Hennig. According to the physicist, proliferation is not just a sign of a healthy cell. It also opens up new possibilities for experiments. For example, a negative influence of the injection can be ruled out in advance. This allows researchers to study the injected cells without having to take the effect of the injection into account as well. Hennig views nanoinjection as a particularly promising way of studying, for example, how single cells react with each other. Matthias Simonis, Wolfgang Hübner, Alice Wilking, Thomas Huser & Simon Hennig: Survival rate of eukaryotic cells following electrophoretic nanoinjection. Nature Publishing Group, http://dx. , published on the 25th of January 2017

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