To Better Understand Speech, Focus on Who Is Talking

Researchers have found that matching the locations of faces with the speech sounds they are producing significantly improves our ability to understand them, especially in noisy areas where other talkers are present. In the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, they outline a set of online experiments that mimicked aspects of distracting scenes to learn more about how we focus on one audio-visual talker and ignore others.

Electric Signals Between Individual Cardiac Cells Regulate Heartbeat

In Biophysics Reviews, researchers provide an update on how electrical impulses in the heart travel from cell to cell. The connections between cells forming the low resistance pathway and facilitating the current flow are called gap junctions. Each consists of many channels, which are formed when specific proteins from one cell dock and fuse to the proteins from another cell. The scientists delve into the properties of gap junctions and their constituent proteins.

Polymers in Meteorites Provide Clues to Early Solar System

Meteorites that do not experience high temperatures at any point in their existence provide a good record of complex chemistry present when or before our solar system was formed. So researchers have examined individual amino acids in these meteorites, many of which are not in present-day organisms. In Physics of Fluids, researchers show the existence of a systematic group of amino acid polymers across several members of the oldest meteorite class, the CV3 type.

Normal Breathing Sends Saliva Droplets 7 Feet; Masks Shorten This

The WHO and the CDC recommend keeping a certain distance between people to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These social distancing recommendations are estimated from a variety of studies, but further research about the precise mechanism of virus transport is still needed. In Physics of Fluids, researchers demonstrate normal breathing indoors without a mask can transport saliva droplets capable of carrying virus particles to a distance of 2.2 meters in a matter of 90 seconds.

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.

Bone Researcher Provides Expert Commentary in Publication’s Controversial Reversal of Long-Held Theory

The latest issue of PLOS Genetics includes two publications that challenge the basic assumptions behind 24 years of bone and metabolism research, and given the magnitude of the potential paradigm shift, the editors turned to Stavros C. Manolagas, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) to provide expert commentary and context.

Rutgers’ Greg Moore Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Rutgers Professor Gregory W. Moore, a renowned physicist who seeks a unified understanding of the basic forces and fundamental particles in the universe, has been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. Moore, Board of Governors Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, joins 119 other new academy members and 26 international members this year who were recognized for their distinguished and ongoing achievements in original research.

Each Mediterranean island has its own genetic pattern

A Team around Anthropologist Ron Pinhasi from the University of Vienna – together with researchers from the University of Florence and Harvard University – found out that prehistoric migration from Africa, Asia and Europe to the Mediterranean islands took place long before the era of the Mediterranean seafaring civilizations.

Technique Can Label Many Specific DNAs, RNAs, or Proteins in a Single Tissue Sample

A new technique can label diverse molecules and amplify the signal to help researchers spot those that are especially rare. Called SABER (signal amplification by exchange reaction), Peng Yin’s lab at Harvard’s Wyss Institute first introduced this method last year and since have found ways to apply it to proteins, DNA and RNA.

Native Americans did not make large-scale changes to environment prior to European contact

Contrary to long-held beliefs, humans did not make major changes to the landscape prior to European colonization, according to new research conducted in New England featuring faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York. These new insights into the past could help to inform how landscapes are managed in the future.

Studying Ice to Understand Astrophysical Bodies

Understanding the formation and evolution of ice in astrophysical environments can provide information about the physical conditions encountered in space and the chemical similarities and differences between planetary and stellar systems. At the AVS 66th International Symposium and Exhibition, Edith Fayolle, an astrochemist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will talk about how scientists are trying to understand properties of ice on astrophysical bodies, such as its formation, composition and sublimation — the process by which ice transitions directly into gas, without being in its liquid phase in between.

Heather J. Lynch, PhD

Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists Announces 2019 National Laureates

An ecologist from Stony Brook University, a theoretical physicist from University of Colorado Boulder and a chemical biologist from Harvard University Three female scientists have been named Laureates of the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists, each receiving $250,000, the…