Tag Archives: university of melbourne

Scientists from IBM Research and Australian Universities Reveal New Insight on the Molecular Structure of Plants

Computational studies unlock the secrets of cellulose for more sustainable and disease resistant crops

MELBOURNE, Australia: Scientists from IBM Research, the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland have moved a step closer to identifying the nanostructure of cellulose – the basic structural component of plant cell walls. (more…)

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When You Really, Really Have to go: Study Wins Ig Nobel Prize

Past winners have included scientists who found that asthma symptoms can be treated with a roller coaster ride and veterinarians who reported cows with names give more milk than those without.

On Sept. 29 at Harvard University, Robert H. Pietrzak, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine, joined this elite company as a co-winner of one of ten 2011 Ig Nobel Prizes honoring “science that makes people laugh and then makes them think.”

The scientific humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research recognized Pietrzak and his co-winners from Brown University, the University of Melbourne, and the firm CogState Ltd for their report last year that the extreme need to urinate creates cognitive difficulties equivalent to being fatigued or mildly impaired by alcohol. (more…)

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Researchers Find ‘Goldilocks’ of DNA Self-Assembly

This image is a simulation snapshot of the molecular dynamics of DNA strands. Image credit: North Carolina State University

Researchers from North Carolina State University have found a way to optimize the development of DNA self-assembling materials, which hold promise for technologies ranging from drug delivery to molecular sensors. The key to the advance is the discovery of the “Goldilocks” length for DNA strands used in self-assembly – not too long, not too short, but just right.

DNA strands contain genetic coding that will form bonds with another strand that contains a unique sequence of complementary genes. By coating a material with a specific DNA layer, that material will then seek out and bond with its complementary counterpart. This concept, known as DNA-assisted self-assembly, creates significant opportunities in the biomedical and materials science fields, because it may allow the creation of self-assembling materials with a variety of applications.

But, while DNA self-assembly technology is not a new concept, it has historically faced some significant stumbling blocks. One of these obstacles has been that DNA segments that are too short often failed to self-assemble, while segments that are too long often led to the creation of deformed materials. This hurdle can lead to basic manufacturing problems, as well as significant changes in the properties of the material itself. (more…)

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