Biohybrid Model Uses Organic Lungs, Synthetic Muscles to Re-Create Respiration Mechanics

Discussed in APL Bioengineering, researchers created a high-fidelity respiratory simulator that accurately represents the interplay between the abdomen, diaphragm, lungs and pleural space, the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the thorax and lungs. The model, using swine lungs, soft robotic materials and artificial muscles, allows precise tuning of pressure in each part of the system, so specific disease conditions can be tested. It also proved extremely useful for testing ventilator-only respiration by removing the elastomeric diaphragm.

Read more

Paper-Based Device Provides Low-Power, Long-Term Method for Analyzing Sweat

Researchers at North Carolina State University have constructed a paper-based device as a model of wearables that can collect, transport and analyze sweat in next-generation wearable technology. Using a process known as capillary action, akin to water transport in plants, the device uses evaporation to wick fluid that mimics the features of human sweat to a sensor for up to 10 days or longer. They discuss their work in the journal Biomicrofluidics.

Read more

Targeting SARS-CoV-2 Enzyme with Inhibitors

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, many researchers are studying epidemiological models to predict its propagation. However, a mathematician and expert in complex systems decided to focus on finding targets within SARS-CoV-2 for new drugs to attack. In the journal Chaos, he discusses the dramatic increase in the sensitivity of the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 to small disturbances, which made him suspect there is a role for inhibitors to play in killing the virus.

Read more

New View on How Tissues Flow in the Embryo

Watching and measuring what happens in tissues inside the human embryo is currently not possible, and it’s difficult to do in mammalian models. Because humans and the fruit fly Drosophila share so many biological similarities, Columbia Engineering and Syracuse University researchers tackled this problem by focusing on fruit flies. The team reports today that they can predict when the tissue will begin to rapidly flow just by looking at cell shapes in the tissue.

Read more

Image Analysis Technique Provides Better Understanding of Heart Cell Defects

Many patients with heart disease face limited treatment options. Fortunately, stem cell biology has enabled researchers to produce large numbers of cardiomyocytes, which may be used in advanced drug screens and cell-based therapies. However, current image analysis techniques don’t allow researchers to analyze heterogeneous, multidirectional, striated myofibrils typical of immature cells. In the Journal of Applied Physics, researchers showcase an algorithm that combines gradient methods with fast Fourier transforms to quantify myofibril structures in heart cells with considerable accuracy.

Read more

Nanodevices for the brain could thwart formation of Alzheimer’s plaques

Researchers designed a nanodevice with the potential to prevent peptides from forming dangerous plaques in the brain in order to halt development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Read more

How Blood Cells Deform, Recover When Traveling Through Tiny Channels

In this week’s Biomicrofluidics, a method to characterize the shape recovery of healthy human RBCs flowing through a microfluidic constricted channel is reported. This investigation revealed a coupling between the cell’s mechanical properties and the hydrodynamic properties of the flow. In addition, the method could distinguish between healthy red blood cells and those infected by the malaria parasite. This suggests a possible new technique for diagnosing disease.

Read more

Self-Assembling Ribosome Could Lead to Novel Vaccines

The Weizmann Institute’s Prof. Roy Bar-Ziv has demonstrated the self-synthesis and self-assembly of a ribosomal subunit on the surface of a chip. The breakthrough could lead to novel types of vaccines, including for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or to assembly lines to produce complex molecules for a range of industries.

Read more

Evaluating Embryo Quality with Ultrasensitive Protein Detection

Infertility is estimated to affect 9% of reproductive-aged couples globally, and many couples turn to assisted reproductive technology. Selecting embryos with maximum development potential plays a pivotal role in obtaining the highest rate of success in ART treatment.
Researchers can evaluate the quality of an embryo by detecting the content of proteins secreted. In Biomicrofluidics, a method to detect trace proteins secreted by embryos using microfluidic droplets and multicolor fluorescence holds promise to select embryos for ART.

Read more

Atomic Magnetometer Points to Better Picture of Heart Conductivity

Mapping the electrical conductivity of the heart would be a valuable tool in diagnosis and disease management, but doing so would require invasive procedures, which aren’t capable of directly mapping dielectric properties. Significant advances have recently been made that leverage atomic magnetometers to provide a direct picture of electric conductivity of biological tissues, and in Applied Physics Letters, new work in quantum sensors points to ways such technology could be used to examine the heart.

Read more

Adjusting Processing Temperature Results in Better Hydrogels for Biomedical Applications

Biohydrogels have been studied closely for their potential use in biomedical applications, but they often move between sols and gels, depending on their temperature, changes that can pose issues depending on the intended use. In Physics of Fluids, researchers discuss their work studying the effect of temperature on hydrogels. They found that creating hydrogels at room temperature or below results in more robust materials that function more effectively when used in the body.

Read more