NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.02.22)

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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.


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.02.19)

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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.


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.

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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)

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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.


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.02.08)

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[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)

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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.


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.02.01)

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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…


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.01.29)

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I’ve spent more time than many will believe [making microscopic observations], but I’ve done them with joy, and I’ve taken no notice those who have said why take so much trouble and what good is it? — Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

📰 Bioengineering in the News

Now 100% more streamlined.


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.01.25)

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A C. elegans worm expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP). Credit: Dan Dickinson, Goldstein lab, UNC Chapel Hill | Wikimedia.

A Restored Synapse Repairs Chemotaxis

C. elegans are tiny worms, just 1mm long, that live in the soil. Under a microscope, they look like simple rods with pointed tips. But beneath their simplicity lies an amazing ability: they can sense a huge variety of olfactory and water-soluble chemicals associated with food, or nearby enemies, or other animals. Most of their nervous system, and 5% of their genes, are devoted to this chemosensing ability, according to Worm Book.


NEWSLETTER

Cell Crunch (Issue 2021.01.19)

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Yuuummm. Doesn’t this kombucha look…appetizing? Credit: Megumi Nachev | Unsplash.

It’s Alive! Materials from Kombucha

If you ever make kombucha at home (there are ample starter kit options online), you will slowly begin to see a thick layer of goop form on top of your tea. That goop is a pellicle of cellulose, created by acetic acid bacteria in your fermentation mixture. Yeast, mixed in with the tea, make the kombucha “bubbly” and produce carbon dioxide and ethanol. Together, the yeast and bacteria help to create the distinctive flavor profile of kombucha. …

Niko McCarty

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

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