Artificial Tissue Used to Research Uterine Contractions

Throughout an individual’s lifetime, the uterus undergoes spontaneous contractions of the uterine wall, which can induce uterine peristalsis, a specific wavelike contraction pattern. These contractions are important for many reproductive processes, but hyperperistalsis could impede fertility and lead to diseases, such as adenomyosis or endometriosis. In an APL Bioengineering article, researchers present two mechanobiology tools for experiments on synthetic or artificial uterine tissue. They wanted to study the negative effects of hyperperistalsis.

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Rat Spinal Cords Control Neural Function in Biobots

Biological robots draw inspiration from natural systems to mimic the motions of organisms, such as swimming or jumping. Improvements to biobots to better replicate complex motor behaviors can lead to exciting biorobotic engineering applications to help solve real world challenges. However, this requires the creation of biohybrid, which is a challenge. Researchers combined an intact rat spinal cord with a tissue-engineered, 3D muscle system. They describe the novel biohybrid system in the journal APL Bioengineering.

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Composing New Proteins with Artificial Intelligence

Proteins are the building blocks of life and scientists have long studied how to improve them or design new ones. Traditionally, new proteins are created by mimicking existing proteins or manually editing their amino acids. This process is time-consuming, and it is difficult to predict the impact of changing an amino acid. In APL Bioengineering, researchers explore how to create new proteins by using machine learning to translate protein structures into musical scores, presenting an unusual way to translate physics concepts across domains.

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Crosstalk Captured Between Muscles, Neural Networks in Biohybrid Machines

Researchers created a platform to observe stem cell-derived neurons grow toward muscle cells, representing a critical milestone towards the realization of future biohybrid machines. In tiny biorobots using muscle cells as actuators, the ability to tune parameters would allow more precise designs with desirable characteristics and predictable behaviors for intelligent drug delivery, environment sensing, biohybrid blood circulation pumps and other uses. But big questions remain about future experiments.

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Advances in Computer Modeling, Protein Development Propel Cellular Engineering

A review of recent work in biophysics highlights efforts in cellular engineering, ranging from proteins to cellular components to tissues grown on next-generation chips. Author Ngan Huang said the fast pace of development prompted her and her colleagues to take stock of promising areas in the field as well as hurdles researchers can expect in coming years. They discuss their work in this week’s APL Bioengineering.

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Opening Up DNA to Delete Disease

Protein editorial assistants are clearing the way for cut-and-paste DNA editors, like CRISPR, to access previously inaccessible genes of interest. Opening up these areas of the genetic code is critical to improving CRISPR efficiency and moving toward futuristic, genetic-based assaults on disease. The DNA-binding editorial assistants were devised by a U.S.-based team of bioengineers, who describe their design in APL Bioengineering.

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