A ‘Clear’ choice for clearing 3-D cell cultures

: Scientists have hailed recent demonstrations of chemical technologies for making animal tissues see-through, but a new study is the first to evaluate three such technologies side-by-side for use with engineered 3-D tissue cultures.

Extinctions during human era worse than thought

The gravity of the world’s current extinction rate becomes clearer upon knowing what it was before people came along. A new estimate finds that species die off as much as 1,000 times more frequently nowadays than they used to. That’s 10 times worse than the old estimate of 100 times.

Driving brain rhythm makes mice more sensitive to touch

In a new study researchers show that they could make faint sensations more vivid by triggering a brain rhythm that appears to shift sensory attention. The study in mice, reported in Nature Neuroscience, provides the first direct evidence that the brain’s “gamma” rhythms have a causal role in processing the sense of touch.

NSF funds research on bio-informed ‘smart lights’

A new collaboration between sleep researchers and engineers at Brown University, funded by the National Science Foundation, may be the first step toward “smart lighting” that tunes the interior environment — the wavelength, intensity, direction, and other factors of artificial light — to accommodate human biological rhythms of sleep and wakefulness.

Controlling a NASA robot on the web

Computer scientists from Brown University and the University of Texas–Austin visited NASA’s Johnson Space Center for a week-long hackathon to provide computers and tablets with a simple web interface that can operate complex systems for the remote control of robots.
At the Bell Gallery

Audible Spaces: Tristan Perich, Zarouhie Abdalian, and [The User]

The David Winton Bell Gallery presents Audible Spaces: Tristan Perich, Zarouhie Abdalian, and [The User], an exhibition of contemporary sound art, on view at the Bell Gallery Saturday, Aug. 30, to Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, and at the Cohen Gallery in the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for Creative Arts, Saturday, Aug. 23 to Sunday, Oct. 12.

Copper foam turns CO2 into useful chemicals

Scientists at Brown University’s Center for Capture and Conversion of CO2 have discovered that copper foam could provide a new way of converting excess CO2 into useful industrial chemicals, including formic acid.

Microchip reveals how tumor cells transition to invasion

A microscopic obstacle course of carefully spaced pillars enables researchers to observe cancer cells directly as they break away from a tumor mass and move more rapidly across the microchip. The device could be useful for testing cancer drugs and further research on the mechanics of metastasis.

Elusive viral ‘machine’ architecture finally rendered

Biologists have worked with the lambda virus as a model system for more than 50 years but they’ve never had an overarching picture of the molecular machines that allow it to insert or remove DNA from the cells that it infects. Now they can, thanks to an advance that highlights the intriguingly intricate way the virus accomplishes its genetic manipulations.
Questions for Dr. Ian Michelow

Ebola virus biology and research

Terrible suffering in Western Africa has refocused the world’s attention on Ebola viruses, for which there is no vaccine or cure. The viruses are masters of their attack, but researchers are working hard to fight them, said Dr. Ian Michelow, who has studied an approach.