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Phages Can Be More Effective and Specific Than Antibiotics in Combating Bacteria

Wu et al. | Feb 17, 2019

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Phage therapy has been suggested as an alternative to antibiotics because bacteria resistant to antibiotics may still be susceptible to phages. However, phages may have limited effectiveness in combating bacteria since bacteria possess several antiviral defense mechanisms and can quickly develop resistance to phages. In this study, Wu and Pinta compare the effectiveness and specificity of antibiotics and phages in combating bacteria. They found that T4 phages are more specific and effective in fighting or inhibiting both antibiotic-resistant and sensitive bacteria than antibiotics, suggesting that phage therapy can be developed as an efficient tool to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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A Quantitative Analysis of the Proliferation of Microplastics in Williamston’s Waterways

Schafer et al. | Feb 17, 2019

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Plastic debris can disrupt marine ecosystems, spread contaminants, and take years to naturally degrade. In this study, Wu et al aim to establish an understanding of the scope of Williamston, Michigan’s microplastics problem, as well as to attempt to find the source of these plastics. Initially, the authors hypothesize that the Williamston Wastewater Treatment Plant was the primary contributor to Williamston’s microplastics pollution. Although they find a general trend of increasing concentrations of microplastics from upstream to downstream, they do not pinpoint the source of Williamston’s microplastics pollution in the present research.

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Determining the Effects of Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 on the Regenerative Abilities of Echinometra lucunter Sea Urchins

Kisling et al. | Feb 12, 2019

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As humans, not all our body organs can adequately regenerate after injury, an ability that declines with age. In some species, however, regeneration is a hallmark response that can occur limitless numbers of time throughout the life of an organism. Understanding how such species can regenerate so efficiently is of central importance to regenerative medicine. Sea urchins, unlike humans, can regenerate their spinal tissue after injury. Here the authors study the effect of a growth factor, FGF2, on sea urchin regeneration but find no conclusive evidence for a pro-regenerative effect after spinal tissue injury.

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Impact of daf-25 and daf-11 Mutations on Olfactory Function in C. elegans

Gardner et al. | Feb 02, 2019

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Cilia are little hair-like protrusions on many cells in the human body, including those lining the trachea where they play a role in clearing our respiratory tract of mucous and other irritants. Genetic mutations that impair ciliary function have serious consequences on our well-being making it important to understand how ciliary function is regulated. By using a simple organism, such as the worm C. elegans that use cilia to move, the authors explore the effect of certain genetic mutations on the cilia of the worms by measuring their ability to move towards or away from certain odorants.

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The Inhibitory Effect of Probiotics on the Growth and Biofilm Formation of Salmonella Sp.

Lee et al. | Jan 26, 2019

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Salmonella is a genus of bacteria responsible for over 90 million cases of intestinal illnesses yearly. Like many bacteria, Salmonella can create a biofilm matrix, which confers stronger resistance against antibiotics. However, there has been relatively little research on the inhibition of Salmonella biofilm formation, which is a crucial factor in its widespread growth. In this study, Lee and Kim quantitatively measure the effectiveness of several common probiotics in inhibiting Salmonella bacterial growth. They found concentration-dependent antibacterial effects varied among the probiotics tested, indicating the possibility of probiotic species-specific mechanisms of Salmonella growth inhibition.

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Wind Resistance and Automobile Shapes

Neelakantan et al. | Jan 25, 2019

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Energy efficiency is becoming more important as we struggle to find better, more sustainable energy sources to power our planet; the car industry is no exception. In this article, the authors examine the effect of shape on automobile aerodynamics By finding the shape that makes cars less resistant to wind, and therefore more energy efficient, can help the automobile industry make better, more eco-friendly cars that are also cheaper to operate.

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The Effect of Bead Shape and Texture on the Energy Loss Characteristics in a Rotating Capsule

Misra et al. | Jan 25, 2019

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Industrial process are designed to optimize speed, energy use and quality. Some steps involve the translation of product-filled barrels, how far and fast this happens depends on the properties of the product within. This article investigates such properties on a mini-scale, where the roll of bead size, texture and material on the distance travelled by a cylindrical capsule is investigated.

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Androgen Diffusion Patterns in Soil: Potential Watershed Impacts

Corson et al. | Jan 24, 2019

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Androgens are natural or synthetic steroid hormones that control secondary male sex characteristics. Androgens are excreted in cattle urine and feces, and can run off or seep into nearby waters, negatively impacting aquatic life and potentially polluting human water sources. Here, the authors investigated the effectiveness of soil as a natural barrier against androgen flow into vulnerable waterways. Their results, obtained by testing diffusion patterns of luminol, an androgen chemical analog, indicated that soil is a poor barrier to androgen diffusion.

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Investigating the role of biotic factors in host responses to rhizobia in the system Medicago truncatula

Rathod et al. | Jan 22, 2019

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Nitrogen-fixing bacteria, such as the legume mutualist rhizobia, convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that is usable by living organisms. Leguminous plants, like the model species Medicago truncatula, directly benefit from this process by forming a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia. Here, Rathod and Rowe investigate how M. truncatula responds to non-rhizobial bacterial partners.

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Evaluation of Tea Extract as an Inhibitor of Oxidative Stress in Prostate Cells

Zhang et al. | Jan 22, 2019

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One important factor that contributes to human cancers is accumulated damage to cells' DNA due to the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. In this study, the authors investigate the effects of several different tea leaf extracts on oxidative stress in cultured human prostate cells to see if antioxidants in the tea leaves could help protect cells from this type of DNA damage. They found that all four types of tea extract (as well as direct application of the antioxidant EGCG) improved the outcomes for the cultured cells, with white tea extract having the strongest effect. This research suggests that tea extracts and the antioxidants that they contain may have applications in the treatment of the many diseases associated with cellular DNA damage, including cancer.

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The effects of antioxidants on the climbing abilities of Drosophila melanogaster exposed to dental resin

Prashanth et al. | Jan 17, 2019

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Dental resins can be a source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) which in unruly amounts can be toxic to cellular and overall health. In this report, the authors test whether the consumption of antioxidant rich foods like avocado and asparagus can protect against the effect of dental resin-derived ROS. However, rather than testing humans, they use fruit flies and their climbing abilities as an experimental readout.

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Efficacy of rotten and fresh fruit extracts as the photosensitive dye for dye-sensitized solar cells

Jayasankar et al. | Jan 16, 2019

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Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) use dye as the photoactive material, which capture the incoming photon of light and use the energy to excite electrons. Research in DSSCs has centered around improving the efficacy of photosensitive dyes. A fruit's color is defined by a unique set of molecules, known as a pigment profile, which changes as a fruit progresses from ripe to rotten. This project investigates the use of fresh and rotten fruit extracts as the photoactive dye in a DSSC.

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Characterization of drought tolerance in Arabidopsis mutant fry1-6

Kim et al. | Jan 07, 2019

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In a world where water shortage is becoming an increasing concern, and where population increase seems inevitable, food shortage is an overwhelming concern for many. In this paper, the authors aim to characterize a drought-resistant strain of A. thaliana, investigating the cause for its water resistance. These and similar studies help us learn how plants could be engineered to improve their ability to flourish in a changing climate.

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The role of race in the stereotyping of a speaker’s accent as native or non-native

Bhuvanagiri et al. | Jan 07, 2019

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In the modern world, communication and mobility are no longer obstacles. A natural consequence is that people from all over the world are mixing like never before and national identity can no longer be determined simply by a person's appearance or manner of speech. In this article, the authors study how a person's accent interferes with the perception of a their national identity and proposes ways to eliminate such biases.

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Emotional and Psychological Effect of Music on People

Nolt et al. | Jan 03, 2019

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Nolt and Elwonger examine how different types of music impact our emotional and physical states. They found that music can influence a subject's emotional state, with sad music inspiring sadness and exciting music bringing excitement. They were not able to find a clear relationship between heart rate and music type. Music's effect on emotional state can be useful when designing novel therapies for emotional and mental disorders.

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The Cohesiveness of the Oscillating Belousov-Zhabotinsky Reaction

Gottlieb et al. | Dec 18, 2018

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In this study the author undertakes a careful characterization of a special type of chemical reaction, called an oscillating Belousov-Zhabotinsky (or B-Z) reaction, which has a number of existing applications in biomedical engineering as well as the potential to be useful in future developments in other fields of science and engineering. Specifically, she uses experimental measurements in combination with computational analysis to investigate whether the reaction is cohesive – that is, whether the oscillations between chemical states will remain consistent or change over time as the reaction progresses. Her results indicate that the reaction is not cohesive, providing an important foundation for the development of future technologies using B-Z reactions.

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An Analysis on Exoplanets and How They are Affected by Different Factors in Their Star Systems

Selph et al. | Dec 06, 2018

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In this article, the authors systematically study whether the type of a star is correlated with the number of planets it can support. Their study shows that medium-sized stars are likely to support more than one planet, just like the case in our solar system. They predict that, of the hundreds of planets beyond our solar system, 6% might be habitable. As humans work to travel further and further into space, some of those might truly be suited for human life.

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The Development of a Highly Sensitive Home Diagnosis Kit for Group A Streptococcus Bacteria (GAS)

Mai et al. | Dec 05, 2018

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In this article, Mai et al. have developed a do-it-yourself kit for the detection of Strep A bacterial infections. While Strep A infections require antibiotic administration, viral infections, which can present with similar symptoms, often resolve on their own. The problem with delayed antibiotic treatment is an increasing risk of complications. Currently an accurate diagnosis requires that patients make the trip to the hospital where sensitive tests can be performed. The method described here, bundled into a commercially available kit, could help speed up the identification of such bacterial infections. When presented with symptoms of a sore throat and fever, you could just buy the kit at your local pharmacy, perform the simple yet highly accurate and sensitive test, and know whether an urgent trip to the doctor's for an antibiotic prescription is necessary. How convenient!

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The Effects of Post-Consumer Waste Polystyrene on the Rate of Mealworm Consumption

Green et al. | Nov 29, 2018

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In a world where plastic waste accumulation is threatening both land and sea life, Green et al. investigate the ability of mealworms to breakdown polystyrene, a non-recyclable form of petrochemical-based polymer we use in our daily lives. They confirm that these organisms, can degrade various forms of polystyrene, even after it has been put to use in our daily lives. Although the efficiency of the degradation process still requires improvement, the good news is, the worms are tiny and themselves are biodegradable, so we can use plenty of them without worrying about space and how to get rid of them. This is very promising and certainly good news for the planet.

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The Effect of Concentration on the Pressure of a Sodium Chloride Solution Inside Dialysis Tubing

Dye et al. | Nov 13, 2018

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In this study, the authors investigate the effects of sodium levels on blood pressure, one of the most common medical problems worldwide. They used a simulated blood vessel constructed from dialysis tubing to carefully analyze pressure changes resulting from various levels of sodium in the external solution. They found that when the sodium concentration in the simulated blood vessel was higher than the external fluid, internal pressure increased, while the reverse was true when the sodium concentration was lower than in the surrounding environment. These results highlight the potential for sodium concentration to have a significant effect on blood pressure in humans by affecting the rate of osmosis across the boundaries of actual blood vessels.

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