NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.03.05)

Reach out on Twitter with feedback and questions. Receive this free newsletter every Friday morning by clicking here.

Image for post
Image for post
Fruit fly on a leaf. [Credit: nuzree | Pixabay]

The ideal scientist thinks like a poet and only later works like a bookkeeper.

E.O. Wilson

📰 Bioengineering in the News

Writing these little quips is more painful than you think.

FLY TEST SUBJECTS: A London company, called Vivan Therapeutics, is using genetically-engineered fruit flies to figure out which drugs are most likely to work for cancer patients. “By giving hundreds of thousands of fruit flies the same cancer mutations as in a human patient,” writes Michele Cohen Marill, the company “can run thousands of drug…


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.03.01)

Reach out on Twitter with feedback and questions. Receive this free newsletter every Friday morning by clicking here.

The sight of a feather in a peacock’s tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick!

— Charles Darwin (from a letter to Asa Gray)

Data Stored in Yeast Chromosome: A couple weeks ago, researchers at Tianjin University, in China, dropped a paper that I completely missed. I was scrolling through Twitter — doomscrolling, you might say — when I saw a tweet from Tom Ellis about data stored on an artificial yeast chromosome. I thought it was intriguing, and decided…


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.02.26)

Reach out on Twitter with feedback and questions. Receive this free newsletter every Friday morning by clicking here.

Image for post
Image for post
A black-footed ferret. [Credit: MichaelSehlmeyer | Pixabay]

Be prepared mentally for some amount of chaos and failure. Waste and frustration often attend the earliest stages. — E.O. Wilson in “Letters to a Young Scientist”.

📰 Bioengineering in the News

Bring back the Gros Michel banana.

FERRET CLONE: The biggest news this week: A black-footed ferret, named Elizabeth Ann, is the first endangered North American species to be cloned. It’s a move that could signal hope for other endangered animals. Future Human.


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.02.22)

Reach out on Twitter with feedback and questions. Receive this free newsletter every Friday morning by clicking here.

Credit: Doze Studios | Giphy

Build-a-Barrel: Nanopores are tiny holes, nanometers in size, through which molecules can pass. These pores can be created with proteins (which is how many cells receive or excrete nutrients) or with synthetic materials, like silicon and graphene. For a new study, in Science, researchers computationally designed, and created, eight-stranded transmembrane β-barrel proteins that have no homology to known transmembrane β-barrel proteins in nature. The designed proteins readily inserted into synthetic lipid membranes.

In this study, the researchers…


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.02.19)

Reach out on Twitter with feedback and questions. Receive this free newsletter every Friday morning by clicking here.

Image for post
Image for post
Curiosity on Mars. [Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center | CC-BY 2.0]

In the initial phase of the process […] the scientist works through imagination, as does the artist. Only later, when critical testing and experimentation come into play, does science diverge from art.

François Jacob (translated from French).

📰 Bioengineering in the News

I wish I could engineer my metabolism.

MARS WITHIN REACH: Perseverance made it to Mars. But for humans to do the same, we will need biotechnology; this article takes a look at European companies developing technologies that will help heal astronauts, grow food and…


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.02.15)

Reach out on Twitter with feedback and questions. Receive this free newsletter every Friday morning by clicking here. Original artwork for this newsletter by Davey Ho.

Image for post
Image for post
This graphic was made by Davey Ho. Feel free to use and adapt the illustration (with attribution) for non-commercial purposes.

100,000 Delivery Vehicles: AAVs — adeno-associated viruses — have a protein “shell” that wraps around the virus’s genetic material. The protein shell is called a capsid, and it can also be stuffed with DNA that encodes CRISPR machinery, for example. AAVs are used to deliver gene therapies. For a new study, published in Nature Biotechnology, researchers created 110,689 different viable AAV2 capsids, randomly adding mutations to a specific region of the protein sequence. The…


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.02.12)

Reach out on Twitter with feedback and questions. Receive this free newsletter every Friday morning by clicking here.

The light microscope opened the first gate to microcosm. The electron microscope opened the second gate to microcosm. What will we find opening the third gate?

Ernst Ruska

📰 Bioengineering in the News

DNA is my love language.

THE mRNA POTENTIAL: mRNA vaccines can protect people from the novel coronavirus. In the future, they could protect people from much more. MIT Technology Review. Link

RIBOSOME REVIVAL: Ribosomes are exquisitely chaotic; pistons pumping, gears thrumming, they read through mRNA and spit out proteins with blistering pace. Now…


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.02.08)

Reach out on Twitter with feedback and questions. Receive this free newsletter every Friday morning by clicking here.

Image for post
Image for post
[Credit: cromaconceptovisual | Pixabay]

On-Demand Vaccines for Bacterial Infections: A new study, published in Science Advances, describes a method to produce conjugate vaccines — which are used to prevent some of the leading causes of vaccine-preventable deaths, according to the World Health Organization — using ground up, freeze-dried bacteria. E. coli bacteria were first engineered to produce an antigen for a pathogenic microbe of choice. Then, the researchers ripped open the cells and added in a piece of DNA encoding a carrier protein, which attaches to…


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.02.05)

Reach out on Twitter with feedback and questions. Receive this free newsletter every Friday morning by clicking here.

I first set up a little laboratory in the attic at home just to grow crystals or try experiments described in books, such as adding a lot of concentrated sulfuric acid to the blood from a nosebleed which precipitates hemotin from the hemoglobin in the blood. That was quite a nice experiment. I still remember it.

— Dorothy Hodgkin

📰 Bioengineering in the News

Add yeast for flavor.

DETECT ENGINEERED PLANTS: The European Union imposed restrictions on genetically-modified foods in 2018. But making tests to spot plants…


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.02.01)

Reach out on Twitter with feedback and questions. Receive this free newsletter every Friday morning by clicking here.

Image for post
Image for post
Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles. [Credit: NIAID | Wikimedia CC BY 2.0]

How to Engineer SARS-CoV-2: A new protocol, published in Nature Protocols, describes a reverse genetic system to create SARS-CoV-2 viruses with desired mutations. Creating the coronavirus — which is about 30,000 nucleotides in length — requires six basic steps, each of which could likely be completed by an undergraduate student in molecular biology. First, plasmids are prepared that complement each part of the virus, then those plasmids are cut and stitched together, before being converted to RNA and inserted into cells, which…

Niko McCarty

Science journalism at NYU. Previously Caltech, Imperial College. #SynBio newsletter: https://synbio.substack.com Web: https://nikomccarty.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store