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Two receptors explain MS?

By | June 6, 2010

Rare, dual-receptor T-cells may be at the root of multiple sclerosis, according to an article published online today (June 6th) in __Nature Immunology,__ providing a possible explanation for other autoimmune diseases. Spinal MRI showing multiple sclerosisImage: National Institutes of Health"It has been thought for a while that these dual receptor T-cells are involved in autoimmunity," said Nitin Karandikar from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who was not involved in the st


Bringing research to high schools

By | June 4, 2010

Last April, approximately 25 high school biology teachers from around the country arrived in Woods Hole, Massachusetts for a 3-day mini-course on insect biology. In classrooms overlooking the Vineyard Sound, the teachers worked in groups to label and identify bugs and process their DNA. The goal: learn how to bring this kind of college-level research into their classrooms.Teachers at a 3-day mini-course in Woods Hole "We are trying to get students to do hands-on, problem-based, student-led in


More midnight college classes

By | June 3, 2010

College students have never been known to go to bed early, and an increasing number of schools are now offering classes at midnight.St. Michael's College at nightImage: Wikimedia commons, MarcusObal "We have a 24-hour town here, this is when our students work," said Sally Johnson, dean of the School of Math and Science at the linkurl:College of Southern Nevada.; The 2-year college with 12 campuses in southern Nevada, including a main campus in Las Vegas, chose to offer midn


Odd mutation pattern in flu

By | June 3, 2010

The seasonal flu's newfound and widespread drug resistance was made possible by an odd series of mutations -- at least two "permissive" mutations that evolved before the mutation for resistance even occurred, according to a study published this week in Science. A graphical depiction of the neuraminidase (NA) moleculewith the resistance mutation (H274Y) shown in pink.The two compensatory mutations (V234M and R222Q)at the sites shown in orange may help the proteinfolding in a way that rescues vi


Video: See first blood flow

By | June 3, 2010

What does it take for blood to start flowing for the first time in an embryo? That's the question that Atsuko Sehara-Fujisawa at Kyoto University and colleagues set out to answer by catching zebrafish blood vessels on film as they matured. The researchers saw that the blood cell precursors entered blood vessels and stayed there immobile, possibly tethered to the inner wall by adhesion molecules called PSGL1. It's not until an enzyme called ADAM8, a metalloprotease, is expressed by the blood cel


New scientists, better mentors?

By | June 2, 2010

How many graduate students a scientist advises over the course of his or her career and when he or she does so can affect how successful those students are in their own careers, and not in the way one might expect, according to a study published this week in Nature that looked at the field of mathematics. Image: Wikimedia commonsSpecifically, the researchers found that students appeared to fare well (measured by whether they eventually mentored many students of their own) if they were advised


Plant sex signal found

By | June 2, 2010

Today, more than a century after a German-Polish botanist first described the process of fertilization in flowering plants, scientists have identified an elusive molecular signal critical to that process. The finding, published this week in linkurl:PLoS Biology,; sheds light on the evolution of plant fertilization mechanisms and could lead to strategies to overcome species-specific barriers for crossbreeding crops.

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Hematology studies retracted

By | June 1, 2010

Three papers on drug sensitivity in leukemia patients have been retracted from two journals after an anonymous tip to one of the publications revealed that a PhD student fudged immunofluorescence images. Francesca Messa, a student in the University of Turin laboratory of hematologist linkurl:Giuseppe Saglio,; admitted to "intentionally providing false confocal images," in a linkurl:retraction;http://www.


Q&A: Biodiversity, distorted

By | June 1, 2010

There is growing concern about the loss of biodiversity worldwide, but scientists cannot measure how much an ecosystem has changed without good historical data. However, this data may be skewed, with certain time periods, species, or regions better represented than others. linkurl:Elizabeth Boakes,; an ecologist at Imperial College's Natural Environmental Research Council Centre for Population Biology in Berkshire, United Kingdom and her team looked f


The world cup of science fairs

By | May 28, 2010

Forget baking soda volcanoes and lima beans in paper towels. The fourteen high school students at the recent BIO International Convention in Chicago were more interested in how to differentiate stem cells into pancreatic endoderm, which factors inhibit cell proliferation in glioblastomas, and why an antioxidant has anti-angiogenic effects on epithelial ovarian cancer. "We enjoy it," smiles Raina Jain of Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the first-place winner of this year's linku


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