11/05/2013 - 11:00

In sickle cell disease, hemoglobin—the oxygen-carrying component of blood—forms fibers that stiffen red blood cells and cause life-threatening symptoms. Using light-scattering techniques to study the detailed thermodynamics of this process, researchers reporting in the November 5 issue of the Biophysical Journal, a Cell Press publication, have determined the strength of the forces that hold these fibers intact. The information could be used to design therapies that interfere with the sickling process.


04/30/2012 - 11:15

Theoretical physicist Ali Naji from the IPM in Tehran and the University of Cambridge, UK, and his colleagues have shown how small random patches of disordered, frozen electric charges can make a difference when they are scattered on surfaces that are overall neutral. These charges induce a twisting force that is strong enough to be felt as far as nanometers or even micrometers away. These results, about to be published in EPJ E, could help to understand phenomena that occur on surfaces such as those of large biological molecules.

10/31/2011 - 09:03

Researchers at UQ's Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) have unlocked the secrets of how birds avoid collisions as they soar, swoop, dive, glide and engage in other aeronautic manoeuvres. The grace of birds in even cluttered environments is all down to their perception of something called optic flow, says lead researcher Dr Partha Bhagavatula.

10/24/2011 - 13:16

A 40-year search for a gene that causes some one-celled sea creatures to flash at night and is also found in others that produce deadly red tides, has been successfully culminated by a group of scientists led by Thomas E. DeCoursey, PhD, professor of biophysics and physiology at Rush University Medical Center.

09/26/2011 - 14:15

Engineers at Harvard have created a device that may make it easier to isolate and study tiny particles such as viruses. Their plasmonic nanotweezers, revealed this month in Nature Communications, use light from a laser to trap nanoscale particles. The new device creates strong forces more efficiently than traditional optical tweezers and eliminates a problem that caused earlier setups to overheat.