Flying transplant kidneys by drone

Photo by Dr. J. Scalea, via University of Maryland Medical Center
Photo by Dr. J. Scalea, via University of Maryland Medical Center

When kidneys are harvested for transplant, they need to be immediately transported under strict temperature control to another hospital for implantation. Common issues like traffic jams or accidents can keep those kidneys from being used. Now a team led by Dr. Joseph Scalea of the University of Maryland Medical Center has done a trial flight of a kidney on a DJI M600 Pro drone to see if drones could be used to quickly fly kidneys and other organs between hospitals. Continue reading “Flying transplant kidneys by drone”

Growing bricks from…pee

The world’s first bio-brick made using human urine was unveiled at UCT this week. In picture are (from left) the Department of Civil Engineering’s Dr Dyllon Randall and his students,Vukheta Mukhari and Suzanne Lambert. Credit: University of Cape Town
The world’s first bio-brick made using human urine was unveiled at UCT this week. In picture are (from left) the Department of Civil Engineering’s Dr Dyllon Randall and his students,Vukheta Mukhari and Suzanne Lambert. Credit: University of Cape Town

Being a civil engineer (BSCE ’78) myself, it’s always fun to find out about new building materials. Would you believe that a master’s candidate from the University of Cape Town (UCT), Susan Lambert, has figured out a way to “grow” bricks from human urine? Continue reading “Growing bricks from…pee”

How a small genealogical DNA site is helping police to solve cold cases ↗️

From The New York Times:

Last month — two decades after the crime — the Sacramento district attorney’s office tried something new to finally crack the case of this serial rapist, who had attacked at least 10 women in their homes. Investigators converted the assailant’s DNA to the kind of profile that family history websites such as 23andMe are built on, and uploaded it to GEDmatch.com, a free site open to all and beloved by genealogical researchers seeking to find biological relatives or to construct elaborate family trees.

Within five minutes of reviewing the results, the investigators had located a close relative among the million or so profiles in the database. Within two hours, they had a suspect, who was soon arrested: Roy Charles Waller, a safety specialist at the University of California, Berkeley.

The arrest marked the 15th time that GEDmatch had provided essential clues leading to a suspect in a murder or sexual assault case,starting with the arrest in April of Joseph James DeAngelo, a former police officer, for the rapes and murders committed across California in the 1970s and 1980s by the notorious Golden State Killer.

It sounds like something from a TV police procedural, but the tiny GEDMatch website is giving law enforcement a powerful tool for finding criminals through their blood relatives.

Robo-sperm could enable targeted drug delivery in humans ↗️

Via LiveScience:

Scientists in the United Kingdom have turned to the humble human sperm in their quest to design the ultimate swimming robot.

Made of a tiny magnetic head and squiggly elastic tail, the flea-size drones look and swim much like their spermy counterparts, with a few big differences: These swimmers are guided by shifting electromagnetic currents, controlled externally by scientists. Oh, and also: They won’t get you pregnant.

I love the last line: “Oh, and they won’t get you pregnant”

Genentech scientists create compound to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria ↗️

From ScienceMag.Org:

Meningitis, pneumonia, deadly diarrhea. Antibiotic developers have long struggled to treat such dreaded diseases because the bacteria that cause them have double cell walls with an outer membrane that is particularly difficult for drugs to penetrate. The only new products to fight such gram-negative bacteria in the past 50 years are variations on existing, already approved drugs. Yet resistance to those classes of compounds is soaring. Now, a team of scientists has created a compound that breaches these bacterial outer membranes in a novel way—and could one day save the lives of people infected with bacteria that today foil every gram-negative antibiotic on the market.

This is one of the more promising drugs to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria that has come along in a while. Hopefully Genentech will fast-track it through testing in humans before we get hit with a superbug.

 

Decoding human mood from brain signals ↗️

From AAAS EurekAlert!

By developing a novel decoding technology, a team of engineers and physicians at the University of Southern California (USC) and UC San Francisco have discovered how mood variations can be decoded from neural signals in the human brain–a process that has not been demonstrated to date.

Their study, published in Nature Biotechnology, is a significant step towards creating new closed-loop therapies that use brain stimulation to treat debilitating mood and anxiety disorders in millions of patients who are not responsive to current treatments.

Wow, Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Deanna Troi is obsolete before she’s even born!

Our new cyborg cockroach overlords are under development ↗️

Via AAAS EurekAlert!

A tiny neuro-controller created by researchers at the University of Connecticut could provide more precise control of futuristic biobots, such as cyborg cockroaches that are already being tested for use in search and rescue missions inside collapsed buildings.

Scientists have spent the better part of the past decade exploring ways to tether live insects to miniaturized computer hardware so they can manipulate an insect’s movement. Such possibilities are of interest to the U.S. Department of Defense, search and rescue teams, and others.

Seriously, what could go wrong with a horde of cyborg Madagascar Hissing cockroaches when control falls into the wrong hands…. 😱