New self-assembly method creates bioelectronics out of microscopic structures

Bringing together soft, malleable living cells with hard, inflexible electronics can be a difficult task. UChicago researchers have developed a new method to face this challenge by utilizing microscopic structures to build up bioelectronics rather than creating them from the top down – creating a highly customizable product.

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Personalizing Cancer Care with Improved Tumor Models

While decades of research have resulted in substantial improvements in surviving cancer, a key challenge remains in identifying new drugs that improve outcomes for patients. In APL Bioengineering, researchers suggest a major hurdle is the paucity of models for cancer research that accurately represent patient tumors. They provide a perspective on strategies using models from individual patients and where the field needs to go in terms of research in animal systems and in culture systems.

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Combining Best of Both Worlds for Cancer Modeling

Treatment options for many types of cancers remain limited, due partly to the in vitro tools used to model cancers and that results from animal studies do not always translate well to human disease. These shortcomings point to a clear need for a better, patient-specific model. Researchers suggest bioengineered microscale organotypic models can address this need. They discuss the advantages and capabilities of this technique, as well as its challenges, in the journal APL Bioengineering.

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New Insights into Wound Healing Process

Biomedical engineers developed a technique to observe wound healing in real time, discovering a central role for cells known as fibroblasts. The work, reported in APL Bioengineering, is the first demonstration of a wound closure model within human vascularized tissue in a petri dish.

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Eggs Reveal What May Happen to Brain on Impact

Our brains consist of soft matter bathed in watery cerebrospinal fluid inside a hard skull, and in Physics of Fluids, researchers describe studying another system with the same features, an egg, to search for answers about concussions. Considering that in most concussive brain injuries, the skull does not break, they wanted to find out if it was possible to break or deform the egg yolk without breaking the eggshell and did a simple experiment using an egg scrambler, measuring the soft matter deformation.

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COVID-19 Virus Survives on Surfaces Within Thin Film

To find out how the COVID-19 virus survives on surfaces, researchers in India are exploring the drying times of thin liquid films that persist on surfaces after most respiratory droplets evaporate. While the drying time of typical respiratory droplets is on the order of seconds, the survival time of the COVID-19 virus was found to be on the order of hours. In Physics of Fluids, the researchers describe how a nanometers-thick liquid film clings to the surface, allowing the virus to survive.

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Biophysics Reviews Publishes First Articles, Focuses on Experimental, Theoretical Research

AIP Publishing is pleased to announce the first published articles from its latest journal, Biophysics Reviews. BPR plans to publish articles that have the potential to influence thinking in the biophysics field or report a significant discovery. In both the reviews and research articles, the editors look to provide readers with the ideas and tools necessary to advance the field of biophysics.

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Inducing Plasma in Biomass Could Make Biogas Easier to Produce

Producing biogas from the bacterial breakdown of biomass presents options for a greener energy future, but the complex composition of biomass comes with challenges. Cellulose and woody lignocellulose are especially hard for bacteria to digest but pretreatment can make it easier. Researchers are testing plasma formation in biomass and finding a promising method: A plasma-liquid interaction forms reactive species that help break down the biomass and decrease the viscosity of the biomass material.

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Progress Toward Antiviral Treatments for COVID-19

COVID-19 is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, which is structurally similar to the viruses that cause SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. In The Journal of Chemical Physics, scientists report molecular-level investigations of these viruses, providing a possible pathway to antiviral drugs to fight the diseases. They looked at a viral protein that plays a role in the virus’s ability to replicate and in defeating the host’s immune system, making it an attractive target for potential drug treatments.

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Chemotherapy Drug More Effective When Combined With Microbubbles

Hepatocellular carcinoma is usually treated by blocking the flow of blood to the tumor to induce cancer cell death, but the common treatment, transarterial chemoembolization, is invasive and too imprecise to be a local drug delivery method. Aiming to increase the precision, researchers at Tulane University created a treatment that involves vaporizing tiny droplets of perfluorocarbon, a common organic material composed of carbon and fluorine. The method of gas embolization is published in APL Bioengineering.

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