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Spectroscopic Kinetic Monitoring and Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Biocatalytic Ester Hydrolysis in Non-Aqueous Solvent

Chen et al. | Dec 20, 2020

Spectroscopic Kinetic Monitoring and Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Biocatalytic Ester Hydrolysis in Non-Aqueous Solvent

Lipases are a common class of enzymes that catalyze the breakdown of lipids. Here the authors characterize the the activity of pancreatic lipase in different organic solvents using a choloremetric assay, as well as using molecular dynamic simulations. They report that the activity of pancreatic lipase in 5% methanol is more than 25% higher than in water, despite enzyme stability being comparable in both solvents. This suggests that, for industrial applications, using pancreatic lipase in 5% methanol solution might increase yield, compared to just water.

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Overcoming The Uncanny Valley Through Shared Stressful Experience with a Humanoid Robot

Bing et al. | Jun 12, 2018

Overcoming The Uncanny Valley Through Shared Stressful Experience with a Humanoid Robot

The "Uncanny Valley" is a phenomenon in which humans feel discomfort in the presence of objects that are almost, but not quite, human-like. In this study, the authors tested whether this phenomenon could be overcome by sharing a stressful experience with a humanoid robot. They found that human subjects more readily accepted a robot partner that they had previously shared a stressful experience with, suggesting a potential method for increasing the effectiveness of beneficial human-robot interactions by reducing the Uncanny Valley effect.

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Effects of Ocean Acidification on the Photosynthetic Ability of Chaetoceros gracilis in the Monterey Bay

Harvell et al. | Jan 16, 2020

Effects of Ocean Acidification on the Photosynthetic Ability of <i>Chaetoceros gracilis</i> in the Monterey Bay

In this article, Harvell and Nicholson hypothesized that increased ocean acidity would decrease the photosynthetic ability of Chaetoceros gracilis, a diatom prolific in Monterey Bay, because of the usually corrosive effects of carbonic acid on both seashells and cells’ internal structures. They altered pH of algae environments and measured the photosynthetic ability of diatoms over four days by spectrophotometer. Overall, their findings indicate that C. gracilis may become more abundant in Monterey Bay as the pH of the ocean continues to drop, potentially contributing to harmful algal blooms.

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Measuring Exoplanetary Radii Using Transit Photometry

Tang et al. | May 07, 2019

Measuring Exoplanetary Radii Using Transit Photometry

Studying exoplanets, or planets that orbit a star other than the Sun, is critical to a greater understanding the formation of planets and how Earth's solar system differs from others. In this study the authors analyze the transit light curves of three hot Jupiter exoplanets to ultimately determine if and how these planets have changed since their discovery.

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Effects of Coolant Temperature on the Characteristics of Soil Cooling Curve

Wang et al. | Jan 16, 2020

Effects of Coolant Temperature on the Characteristics of Soil Cooling Curve

In this article, the authors investigate whether coolant temperature affects soil cooling curves of soil with otherwise identical properties. The coolant temperature is representative of environmental temperature, and the authors hypothesized that differences in this temperature would not affect the freezing temperature of soil. Their findings validated their hypothesis providing helpful information relevant to understanding how frost heaves happen and how to predict their occurrence more accurately.

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Characterizing Quorum Sensing-Induced Bioluminescence in Variable Volumes With Vibrio fischeri Using Computer Processing Methods

Abdel-Azim et al. | Jun 22, 2020

Characterizing Quorum Sensing-Induced Bioluminescence in Variable Volumes With <em>Vibrio fischeri</em> Using Computer Processing Methods

Understanding how bacteria respond to other bacteria could facilitate their ability to initiate and maintain their infectiousness. The phenomenon by which bacteria signal to each other via chemical signals is called quorum sensing, which could be targeted to deter bacterial infection in some cases if better understood. In this article, the authors study how a bacterium called V. fischeri uses quorum sensing to change bioluminescence, an easy readout that facilitates studying quorum sensing in this strain.

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