While DNA sequencing is a useful tool for determining what’s going on in a cell or a person’s body, it only tells part of the story. Protein sequencing could soon give researchers a wider window into a cell’s workings. A new study demonstrates that nanopores can be used to identify all 20 amino acids in proteins, a major step toward protein sequencing.
A fast, inexpensive yet sensitive technique to detect cancer markers is bringing researchers closer to a “liquid biopsy” — a test using a small sample of blood or serum to detect cancer, rather than the invasive tissue sampling routinely used for diagnosis. Researchers at the University of Illinois developed a method to capture and count cancer-associated microRNAs, or tiny bits of messenger molecules that are exuded from cells and can be detected in blood or serum, with single-molecule resolution.
Shashank Pant, a Ph.D student in computational biophysics, works in the Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group.
Researchers at the University of Illinois have successfully used stem cells to engineer living biohybrid nerve tissue to develop 3D models of neural networks with the hopes of gaining a better understanding of how the brain and these networks work. The new technique may provide the ability to develop tissue models for drug screening or processing units for biological computers.
The Tajkhorshid lab used computational microscopy to investigate how lipids can influence the structure and function of protein channels in cells. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A new study finds evidence that yoga enhances many of the same brain structures and functions that benefit from aerobic exercise. Brain changes seen in individuals who practice yoga are associated with better performance on cognitive tests and measures of emotional regulation, said Beckman Affiliate Neha Gothe, an assistant professor of kinesiology and community health, who led the study with a researcher from Wayne State University.
A recent study published in the Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society showed that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, pansexual, asexual, and/or nonbinary (LGBTQPAN) women and gender minorities experience harassment more than cisgender, straight women.
Beckman psychology professor Aron Barbey and his colleagues found that the relative size of specific brain regions predicted how much a person would benefit from interventions designed to boost fluid intelligence (a measure of one’s ability to adapt to new situations and solve never-before-seen problems). Reported in the journal Trends in Neuroscience and Education, the study is the first to link the size of specific brain structures to a person’s response to interventions.
Stephen Boppart, Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering at Illinois and the director of the GSK Center for Optical Molecular Imaging at the Beckman Institute, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Boppart will be formally inducted at the academy’s annual meeting in April 2020. Election as an NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors.
Researchers at Illinois —including bioengineering professors Michael Insana and Wawrzyniec Dobrucki, who are full-time Beckman faculty members — are partnering with researchers at the Mayo Clinic to develop sensitive, low-cost imaging technologies for detecting microvascular changes in diabetic patients.