Biological Engineering News

MIT Engineers Create Synthetic Cells to Isolate Genetic Circuits

November 17, 2016

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Engineers Create Synthetic Cells to Isolate Genetic Circuits

Engineers from MIT have developed a way to isolate genetic circuits within individual synthetic “cells,” preventing the circuits from disrupting each other. Synthetic biology allows scientists to design genetic circuits that can be placed in cells, giving them new functions such as producing drugs or other useful molecules. However, as these circuits become more complex, […]

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Two-Pronged Immune Response Destroys Tumors

October 24, 2016

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New Treatment Elicits Two-Pronged Immune Response That Destroys Tumors in Mice

Using a combination of four different therapies, researchers from MIT reveal a new treatment that destroys tumors in mice. Harnessing the body’s own immune system to destroy tumors is a tantalizing prospect that has yet to realize its full potential. However, a new advance from MIT may bring this strategy, known as cancer immunotherapy, closer […]

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Heme Molecule May Be The Key To More Effficient Batteries

October 19, 2016

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Lithium-Oxygen (Li-O2) Batteries

New research from Yale University shows that a molecule that transports oxygen in blood could be key to developing the next generation of batteries. Lithium-oxygen (Li-O2) batteries have emerged in recent years as a possible successor to lithium-ion batteries — the industry standard for consumer electronics — due to their potential for holding a charge […]

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UCSD Researchers Use Adenosine to Command Stem Cells to Build New Bone

September 1, 2016

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Researchers Command Stem Cells to Build New Bone

A team of scientists from UC San Diego have discovered an easy and efficient way to coax human pluripotent stem cells to regenerate bone tissue — by feeding them adenosine, a naturally occurring molecule in the body. The stem-cell-derived bone tissue helped repair cranial bone defects in mice without developing tumors or causing infection. The […]

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MIT Biological Engineers Program Human Cells to Store Complex Histories in Their DNA

August 22, 2016

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Recording Analog Memories in Human Cells

Newly published research details how biological engineers from MIT developed a way to record complex histories in the DNA of human cells, allowing them to retrieve “memories” of past events by sequencing the DNA. This analog memory storage system — the first that can record the duration and/or intensity of events in human cells — […]

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Engineers Design Nanoparticles to Track Cells and Interactions Within Them

November 2, 2015

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Engineers Design Nanoparticles to Track Cells and Interactions

Engineers from MIT have developed new protein nanoparticles that allow scientists to track cells and interactions within them. MIT engineers have designed magnetic protein nanoparticles that can be used to track cells or to monitor interactions within cells. The particles, described today in Nature Communications, are an enhanced version of a naturally occurring, weakly magnetic […]

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Engineered Viruses Provide Quantum-Based Enhancement of Energy Transport

October 15, 2015

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Quantum Physics and Genetic Engineering Provide Energy Transport

In a newly published study, a team of scientists detail how they used genetically engineered viruses to enhance energy transport in genetically engineered excitonic networks. Nature has had billions of years to perfect photosynthesis, which directly or indirectly supports virtually all life on Earth. In that time, the process has achieved almost 100 percent efficiency […]

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A Light-Reflecting Balloon Catheter Repairs the Heart without Surgery

October 14, 2015

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New Technique Repairs Holes in the Heart Without Surgery

Using a catheter aided by UV light, researchers have developed a new technique to repair holes in the heart without surgery. Harvard-affiliated researchers have designed a specialized catheter for fixing holes in the heart by using a biodegradable adhesive and patch. The team reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine that the catheter has been […]

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New Research Reveals How Flu Viruses Gain the Ability to Spread

October 1, 2015

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New Study Reveals How Flu Viruses Gain the Ability to Spread

In a new study, scientists reveal that the soft palate (the soft tissue at the back of the roof of the mouth) plays a key role in viruses’ ability to travel through the air from one person to another. The findings, described in the September 23 online edition of Nature, should help scientists better understand […]

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New Protein-Based Sensor Detects Viral Infection, Kills Cancer Cells

September 22, 2015

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Protein-Based Sensor Detects Viral Infection and Kills Cancer Cells

Biological engineers from MIT have designed a modular system of proteins that can detect a particular DNA sequence in a cell and then trigger a specific response, such as cell death. This protein-based sensor can be customized to detect any DNA sequence in a mammalian cell and then trigger a desired response, including killing cancer […]

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Researchers Reveal How Chronic Inflammation Can Lead to Cancer

August 11, 2015

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Researchers Discover How the Immune System Can Create Cancerous DNA Mutations

New research from MIT reveals how the immune system can create cancerous DNA mutations when fighting off infection. Chronic inflammation caused by disease or exposure to dangerous chemicals has long been linked to cancer, but exactly how this process takes place has remained unclear. Now, a precise mechanism by which chronic inflammation can lead to […]

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MIT Engineers Develop Basic Computing Elements for Bacteria

July 9, 2015

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MIT Scientists Develop Basic Computing Elements for Bacteria

New research from MIT unveils a series of sensors, memory switches, and circuits that can be encoded in the common human gut bacterium. The “friendly” bacteria inside our digestive systems are being given an upgrade, which may one day allow them to be programmed to detect and ultimately treat diseases such as colon cancer and […]

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Cell-Squeezing Device Opens New Possibilities for Cell-Based Vaccines

May 22, 2015

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Cell Squeezing Device Opens New possibilities for Cell-Based Vaccines

A newly published study details how researchers from MIT developed a new microfluidic cell-squeezing device, opening new possibilities for cell-based vaccines. MIT researchers have shown that they can use a microfluidic cell-squeezing device to introduce specific antigens inside the immune system’s B cells, providing a new approach to developing and implementing antigen-presenting cell vaccines. Such […]

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Suspended Microchannel Resonator Measures Nanoparticles As They Flow

May 12, 2015

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New Device Measures Tiny Particles as They Flow Through a Microfluidic Channel

Using a suspended microchannel resonator, researchers can measure the relative positions of tiny particles as they flow through a fluidic channel, potentially offering an easy way to monitor the assembly of nanoparticles, or to study how mass is distributed within a cell. With further advancements, this technology has the potential to resolve the shape of […]

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New Strain of H1N1 in India Raises Concern

March 11, 2015

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H1N1 Outbreak in India Raises Concern

New research from MIT finds evidence that a new strain of H1N1 may carry dangerous mutations. Since December, an outbreak of swine flu in India has killed more than 1,200 people, and a new MIT study suggests that the strain has acquired mutations that make it more dangerous than previously circulating strains of H1N1 influenza. […]

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New Insight Into HIV Vaccination Strategies

February 6, 2015

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New Research Yields Insight Into Generating Antibodies That Target Different Strains of HIV

New research yields insight into generating antibodies that target different strains of HIV, suggesting that sequentially administering several different forms of a potential HIV vaccine could stimulate a stronger immune response than delivering a cocktail of these variants all at once. Through an investigation of a fundamental process that guides the maturation of immune cells, […]

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New Technique Enlarges Tissue Samples, Making Them Easier to Image

January 16, 2015

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New Technique Enables Nanoscale-Resolution Microscopy

By physically enlarging the specimen itself, researchers from MIT have invented a new way to visualize the nanoscale structure of the brain and other tissues. Beginning with the invention of the first microscope in the late 1500s, scientists have been trying to peer into preserved cells and tissues with ever-greater magnification. The latest generation of […]

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Microfluidic System Precisely Measures Mammalian Cell Growth Rates

August 6, 2012

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the link between cell division and growth rate

Using a microfluidic system for simultaneously measuring single-cell mass and cell cycle progression over multiple generations, a team of researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School have precisely measured mammalian cell growth rates. It’s a longstanding question in biology: How do cells know when to progress through the cell cycle? In simple organisms such as […]

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