Week in Review: 5/1/16 – 5/7/16

May 4, 2016

Mapping a Cell’s Destiny

As in real estate, a key factor in gene expression and interaction is location, location, location. The same genes in different regions of a body may perform totally different functions. Determining the fate of these genes involves systematically mapping and detecting their spatial expression patterns, an unwieldy challenge because of the reams of data researchers must process. It is a problem that researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley are tackling with a new statistical method for extracting meaningful information from spatial gene expression data.

May 3, 2016

New Tool Allows Scientists to Visualize ‘Nanoscale’ Processes

Chemists at UC San Diego have developed a new tool that allows scientists for the first time to see, at the scale of five billionths of a meter, “nanoscale” mixing processes occurring in liquids. http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/pressrelease/new_tool_allows_scientists_to_visualize_nanoscale_processes

May 2, 2016

GW discovery team awaded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics  A Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics can be awarded by the Selection Committee at any time, in addition to the Breakthrough Prize conferred through the ordinary annual nomination process. Previous winners of the special prize include seven leaders of the Large Hadron Collider teams that discovered the Higgs Boson.

Making Invisible Physics Visible

If using a single atom to capture high-resolution images of nanoscale material sounds like science fiction, think again. That’s exactly what the Quantum Sensing and Imaging Group at UC Santa Barbara has achieved. Members of physicist Ania Jayich’s lab worked for two years to develop a radically new sensor technology capable of nanometer-scale spatial resolution and exquisite sensitivity. Their findings appear in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2016/016747/making-invisible-physics-visible

How to Plug In Your Brain

Aron Barbey, a 39-year-old neuroscientist at the University of Illinois, is a leader in this research, though he is excruciatingly cautious about its prospects. He resists the idea that tomorrow’s malls and airports will feature commercial brain-charging stations, updated versions of today’s massage stops, but if that future (or something like it) comes to pass, his work will have played a critical role in bringing it about. Barbey is the director of the UI’s Decision Neuroscience Laboratory at the university’s Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and his experiments appear to point to a time when students, soldiers, executives and the elderly could all benefit from a treatment called transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS). http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/how-to-plug-in-your-brain-180958775/