Sound waves can be amazingly powerful, especially when they work together. Here the authors create an “acoustic lens” that focuses sound waves on a single location. This makes the sound waves very powerful, capable of causing damage at a precise point. In the future, acoustic lenses like this could potentially be used to treat cancer by killing small tumors without surgery.
Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are a great tool to model and study complex biological systems. In this paper, the authors use MD simulations to construct and simulate a model of the periplasmic space, the peptidoglycan layer and its associated proteins, in an Escherichia coli cell.
Oil spills are one of the most devastating events for marine life. Finding ways to clean up oil spills without the need for harsh chemicals could help decrease the negative impact of such spills. Here the authors demonstrate that using a combination of several biodegradable substances can effectively adsorb oil in seawater in a laboratory setting. They suggest further exploring the potential of such a combination as a possible alternative to commonly-used non-biodegradable substances in oil spill management.
Solar and radio frequency harvesters serve as a viable alternative energy source to batteries in many cases where the battery cannot be easily replaced. Using specifically designed circuit models, the authors quantify the reliability of different harvested energy sources to identify the most practical and efficient forms of renewable energy.
This study aimed to determine whether artificial sweeteners are harmful to the human microbiome by investigating two different bacteria found to be advantageous to the human gut, Escherichia coli and Bacillus coagulans. Results showed dramatic reduction in bacterial growth for agar plates containing two artificial sweeteners in comparison to two natural sweeteners. This led to the conclusion that both artificial sweeteners inhibit the growth of the two bacteria and warrants further study to determine if zero-sugar sweeteners may be worse for the human gut than natural sugar itself.
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.
Here, based on the identification of androgapholide as a potential therapeutic treatment against cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis, due to its ability to inhibit a signaling pathway in immune system function, the authors sought ways to optimize the natural product human systems by manipulating its chemical structure. Through the semisynthesis of a natural product along with computational studies, the authors developed an understanding of the kinetic mechanisms of andrographolide and semisynthetic analogs in the context of Michael additions.
Cell-free biologicals are a novel method of treating clinical conditions which involve chronic inflammation such as tendonitis and osteoarthritis. This study compared platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in platelet-rich plasma (PRP), activated PRP (aPRP), and platelet lysate (PL). It was hypothesized that PL would contain higher concentrations of growth factors than PRP and that different storage temperatures for PL would diminish cytokine expression. Results demonstrated PL had the highest concentrations of both cytokines, with concentrations slightly diminishing at-80C. aPRP and PRP demonstrated lower concentrations of PDGF and VEGF than PL.
The traditional alert system in California consists of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), which lack location specificity, and sign-up-based technology which is limited by the number of sign ups. Those who do not have phones or have a silence option on their devices are most at risk from the current alert system. Here the authors developed cloud-enabled crisis connection for disaster alerts (CRISIS-CONNECT) to mitigate problems associated with the current alert system.
Coral bleaching is a fatal process that reduces coral diversity, leads to habitat loss for marine organisms, and is a symptom of climate change. This process occurs when corals expel their symbiotic dinoflagellates, algae that photosynthesize within coral tissue providing corals with glucose. Restoration efforts have attempted to repair damaged reefs; however, there are over 360,000 square miles of coral reefs worldwide, making it challenging to target conservation efforts. Thus, predicting the likelihood of bleaching in a certain region would make it easier to allocate resources for conservation efforts. We developed a machine learning model to predict global locations at risk for coral bleaching. Data obtained from the Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office consisted of various coral bleaching events and the parameters under which the bleaching occurred. Sea surface temperature, sea surface temperature anomalies, longitude, latitude, and coral depth below the surface were the features found to be most correlated to coral bleaching. Thirty-nine machine learning models were tested to determine which one most accurately used the parameters of interest to predict the percentage of corals that would be bleached. A random forest regressor model with an R-squared value of 0.25 and a root mean squared error value of 7.91 was determined to be the best model for predicting coral bleaching. In the end, the random model had a 96% accuracy in predicting the percentage of corals that would be bleached. This prediction system can make it easier for researchers and conservationists to identify coral bleaching hotspots and properly allocate resources to prevent or mitigate bleaching events.