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How a protein in your brain could protect against Alzheimer’s disease

NEUROSCIENCE NEWSDECEMBER 13, 2019NEUROSCIENCEOPEN NEUROSCIENCE ARTICLES4 MIN READ

Summary: White blood cells in the brain are regulated by the CD33 protein. CD33 decreases the likelihood that a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: University of Alberta

Research shows that white blood cells in the human brain are regulated by a protein called CD33–a finding with important implications in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study by the University of Alberta chemists.

“Immune cells in the brain, called microglia, play a critical role in Alzheimer’s disease,” explained Matthew Macauley, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and co-author on the paper. “They can be harmful or protective. Swaying microglia from a harmful to protective state could be the key to treating the disease.”

Scientists have identified the CD33 protein as a factor that may decrease a person’s likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease. Less than 10 percent of the population have a version of CD33 that makes them less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. “The fact that CD33 is found on microglia suggests that immune cells can protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease under the right circumstances,” said Abhishek Bhattacherjee, first author and postdoctoral fellow in the Macauley lab.

Now, Macauley’s research shows that the most common type of CD33 protein plays a crucial role in modulating the function of microglia.

“These findings set the stage for future testing of a causal relationship between CD33 and Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as testing therapeutic strategies to sway microglia from harmful to protecting against the disease–by targeting CD33,” said Macauley. “Microglia have the potential to ‘clean up’ the neurodegenerative plaques, through a process called phagocytosis–so a therapy to harness this ability to slow down or reverse Alzheimer’s disease can be envisioned.”

This is a drawing of a hand holding a head with an exposed brain

Now, Macauley’s research shows that the most common type of CD33 protein plays a crucial role in modulating the function of microglia. The image is in the public domain.

Macauley is an investigator with GlycoNet, a Canada-wide network of researchers based at the University of Alberta that is working to further our understanding of biological roles for sugars. GlycoNet provided key funding to get this project off the ground in the Macauley lab and continues to support the ongoing applications of the project.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 747,000 Canadians are currently living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. The disease affects more than 44 million people around the world.ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

Source:
University of Alberta
Media Contacts:
Katie Willis – University of Alberta
Image Source:
The image is in the public domain.

Original Research: Open access
“Repression of phagocytosis by human CD33 is not conserved with mouse CD33”. Abhishek Bhattacherjee, Emily Rodrigues, Jaesoo Jung, Matthew Luzentales-Simpson, Jhon R. Enterina, Danny Galleguillos, Chris D. St. Laurent, Maryam Nakhaei-Nejad, Felix F. Fuchsberger, Laura Streith, Qian Wang, Norihito Kawasaki, Shiteng Duan, Arjun Bains, James C. Paulson, Christoph Rademacher, Fabrizio Giuliani, Simonetta Sipione & Matthew S. Macauley.
Communications Biology doi:10.1038/s42003-019-0698-6.

Abstract

Repression of phagocytosis by human CD33 is not conserved with mouse CD33

CD33 is an immunomodulatory receptor linked to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) susceptibility via regulation of phagocytosis in microglia. Divergent features between human CD33 (hCD33) and murine CD33 (mCD33) include a unique transmembrane lysine in mCD33 and cytoplasmic tyrosine in hCD33. The functional consequences of these differences in restraining phagocytosis remains poorly understood. Using a new αmCD33 monoclonal antibody, we show that mCD33 is expressed at high levels on neutrophils and low levels on microglia. Notably, cell surface expression of mCD33 is entirely dependent on Dap12 due to an interaction with the transmembrane lysine in mCD33. In RAW264.7 cultured macrophages, BV-2 cultured microglia, primary neonatal and adult microglia, uptake of cargo — including aggregated Aβ1–42 — is not altered upon genetic ablation of mCD33. Alternatively, deletion of hCD33 in monocytic cell lines increased cargo uptake. Moreover, transgenic mice expressing hCD33 in the microglial cell lineage showed repressed cargo uptake in primary microglia. Therefore, mCD33 and hCD33 have divergent roles in regulating phagocytosis, highlighting the importance of studying hCD33 in AD susceptibility.FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS NEUROLOGY NEWS.Join our Newsletter I agree to have my personal information transferred to AWeber for Neuroscience Newsletter ( more information )Sign up to receive the latest neuroscience headlines and summaries sent to your email daily from NeuroscienceNews.comWe hate spam and only use your email to contact you about newsletters. We do not sell email addresses. You can cancel your subscription any time.

AGINGALZHEIMER’S DISEASEBRAIN RESEARCHCD33DEMENTIAGENETICSHCD33IMMUNE CELLSMICROGLIANEUROBIOLOGYNEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASESNEUROLOGYNEUROSCIENCEOPEN ACCESSOPEN SCIENCEUNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA

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Antiarrhythmic drug could also treat PAH, COPDAnicka Slachta | December 12, 2019 | Hypertension

An FDA-approved antiarrhythmic drug known as dofetilide could be repurposed to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), researchers have found.

Dofetilide, sold commercially as Tikosyn, is a federally cleared Kv11.1 channel blocker that’s commonly used to treat cardiac arrhythmias, Tinatin I. Brelidze, PhD, and colleagues wrote in the American Journal of Pathology on Dec. 12. Kv11.1 potassium channels are voltage-activated channels that are expressed in many tissues and organs, but in the heart they help to repolarize cardiac action potentials to maintain proper heart rhythm.

Brelidze and colleagues examined lung tissue from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and rats with experimentally induced PAH in an effort to determine whether dofetilide could have any bearing on PAH- and COPD-associated vascular remodeling. They found that in control rats, Kv11.1 channels were expressed in the smooth muscle cell layer of large-diameter pulmonary arteries (PAs), but not in the smooth muscle cells of small-diameter PAs of less than 100 micrometers. In rats with experimentally induced PAH, Kv11.1 channel expression increased, and the channels were found in both small and large PAs.

When rats with PAH were treated with dofetilide, there wasn’t any evidence of the pathological changes in vasculature that are typically associated with the disease. Dofetilide seemed to increase lumen diameter and decrease PA wall thickness to the levels observed in control rats.

In healthy humans, Brelidze et al. reported that Kv11.1 channels were present only in the walls of large-diameter PAs. Lung tissue from COPD patients showed collapse of alveoli, mild edema of arterial walls, and fibrosis and thickening of PA walls, and Kv11.1 channels were found in the walls of both large and small PAs, similar to rats with lab-induced PAH.

The researchers said that since Kv11.1 potassium selective channels were expressed in lungs, blocking those channels with dofetilide inhibits PAH associated with vascular remodeling.

“Our study suggests that Kv11.1 channel blockers may have therapeutic potential for treatment of PAH,” Brelidze said in a release. “Specifically, we have shown that dofetilide, which is already FDA-approved as an antiarrhythmic and therefore has passed all of the drug safety requirements, can be considered for repurposing for treatment of patients with PAH.”

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Evolocumab plus high-intensity statin therapy effectively lowers LDL-CAnicka Slachta | December 06, 2019 | Lipids & Metabolic

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that, when combined with high-intensity statin therapy, evolocumab can be an effective tool for lowering LDL-cholesterol in patients who have experienced an acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

Early, in-hospital initiation of high-intensity statins is already guideline-recommended for ACS patients, first author Konstantinos C. Koskinas, MD, MSc, and colleagues said in JACC. The recommendation makes sense—statins reduce the risk of early adverse events and keep ACS patients’ cholesterol levels in check—but Koskinas et al. said many people struggle to control their LDL-C even with high-intensity statins.

The authors said evolocumab, a rapidly acting PCSK9 inhibitor that’s used in conjunction with maximum statin therapy to lower heart patients’ “bad” cholesterol, presents a unique opportunity for patients in the acute phase of ACS.

“Although additional favorable biological effects of statins on inflammation, endothelial function and coagulation have been postulated to contribute to the early clinical benefit observed in the acute period after ACS, that benefit is believed to be mediated, at least in part, by the reduction of LDL-related risk,” Koskinas, of Bern University Hospital in Bern, Switzerland, and co-authors wrote. “In view of the delayed onset of action of statins and the high risk of event recurrence during the first weeks after ACS…rapid and more potent lowering of LDL-C to levels even below currently recommended targets might be of potential therapeutic benefit.”

The researchers’ EVOPACS trial included 308 patients hospitalized for ACS with elevated LDL-C levels. They were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive either 420 mg of subcutaneous evolocumab or a matching placebo, administered in-hospital after four weeks on top of 40 mg of atorvastatin. The study’s primary endpoint was the percentage change in LDL-C from baseline through eight weeks.

Koskinas et al. found that the majority of patients in their study—78.2%—hadn’t previously taken statins. Over the course of eight weeks mean LDL-C levels decreased from 3.61 to 0.79 mmol/l in the evolocumab group and from 3.42 to 2.06 mmol/l in the placebo group. Average percentage change from baseline was -40.7%.

The authors reported that 95.7% of patients in the evolocumab group achieved LDL-C levels under 1.8 mmol/l by week eight, whereas just 37.6% of the placebo group did the same. Adverse events and CV events were similar between groups.

Koskinas and colleagues said their work will need to be validated in further studies of ACS patients.

“Importantly, because the early clinical benefit of in-hospital initiation of statins in ACS patients is likely mediated by both lipid-lowering and other pleiotropic effects, the positive prognostic impact of statins in the acute post-ACS period cannot be directly extrapolated to PCSK9 antibodies,” the researchers wrote. “Therefore, whether early initiation of a PCSK9 inhibitor on top of a statin during the acute ACS phase might translate into an incremental clinical benefit remains to be determined in properly designed studies.”

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UFMG mantém nota máxima em avaliação nacional de cursos

Apenas três instituições públicas de Minas Gerais alcançaram nota 5 em levantamento no Inep

Por RAQUEL PENAFORTE | GABRIEL RODRIGUES13/12/19 – 20h29

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UFMG

Mais de 2.000 unidades de ensino brasileiras foram alisadas pelo órgão

Foto: Leo Fontes – 22.5.17

A Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) obteve nota máxima em uma avaliação nacional que mede a qualidade dos cursos de mais de 2.000 instituições de ensino superior do Brasil.

O resultado do estudo foi divulgado anteontem pelo Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisas Educacionais Anísio Teixeira (Inep), autarquia vinculada ao Ministério da Educação.

Das 2.052 instituições públicas e privadas analisadas no ano passado, 42 atingiram a nota 5 no Índice Geral de Cursos (IGC). Entre as instituições públicas, as universidades federais de Lavras (UFLA) e de Viçosa (UFV), em Minas Gerais, também obtiveram nota máxima.

A Faculdade Jesuíta de Filosofia e Teologia (Faje) foi a única privada em Minas a obter nota 5.

Para a reitora da UFMG, Sandra Goulart, o resultado positivo da avaliação pode ser atribuído ao trabalho que é desenvolvido ao longo dos anos. “A UFMG é um patrimônio de Minas Gerais e do Brasil.

O trabalho vai além do de formar pessoas: é ensino, pesquisa, extensão. É um trabalho sério feito por pessoas competentes”, disse. 

A avaliação também mede a qualidade das instituições pelo Conceito Preliminar de Curso (CPC).

Na UFMG, foram avaliados os cursos de administração, ciências contábeis, ciências econômicas, comunicação social com habilitação em jornalismo, comunicação social com habilitação em publicidade e propaganda, design, direito, gestão pública, psicologia, relações econômicas internacionais e turismo.

Nessa avaliação, três cursos ficaram acima da média. Design, que, em 2015, obteve nota 3, foi avaliado com a nota 4 no ano passado. Os cursos de comunicação social com habilitação em jornalismo e em publicidade propaganda, que foram avaliados pela primeira vez em 2018, também ficaram com nota 4.

“Trata-se de cursos novos, que temos dedicado muita atenção. Investimos nesses para que eles pudessem chegar à qualidade dos outros”, explicou a reitora.

Desafios

A UFMG, como outras instituições de ensino do país, sofreu com os atrasos nos repasses do governo federal para a manutenção das atividades. Em abril deste ano, o ministro da Educação, Abraham Weintraub, acusou as universidades de estarem promovendo “balbúrdia” e ameaçou reduzir 30% da verba repassada.

“Não se faz um país sem investimento em ensino. Provamos a todo momento que somos referência e vamos continuar trabalhando para ser a melhor”, declarou Sandra.

Cálculos e avaliações de qualidadeO Índice Geral de Cursos avalia o Conceito Preliminar de Curso (CPC) dos últimos três anos, a média de avaliação dos programas de pós-graduação com base em dados da Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Capes), e a distribuição dos estudantes entre diferentes níveis de ensino. Conceito Preliminar de Curso avalia o desempenho de alunos no Enade, o valor agregado pelo curso ao desenvolvimento dos estudantes e o perfil do corpo docente.  Em ranking geral, UFMG ocupa 13ª posição No ranking das universidades públicas, a Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) fica atrás da Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) e a Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). Levando em conta também as instituições particulares, a UFMG fica na 13ª posição.  As duas universidades do topo são do Rio de Janeiro: a Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças (Ebef) e a Escola de Ciências Sociais.  Todas elas estão na faixa do conceito máximo da avaliação feita pelo Ministério da Educação. A diferença entre as instituições é notada por décimos: a primeira colocada tem uma nota de cerca de 4,86 (com máximo de 5), enquanto a UFMG posiciona-se com aproximadamente 4,25. O cálculo considera dados dos últimos três anos.

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Cristiano

Cristiano 22:50 – 14/12/2019

Minha UFMG!00ResponderDenunciar

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Antônio Romano 09:04 – 14/12/2019

As área de ciências sociais e humanas não significam nada, pois o país necessita é de desenvolvimento científico e tecnológico. Gostaria de ver uma avaliação honesta das áreas de ciências exatas, biologicas e engenharias29Respostas (1)Denunciar

Guaxinim do Sri Lanka

Guaxinim do Sri Lanka 08:20 – 14/12/2019

Excelente instituição. ..exceto a turma de carrapato extrela que existe por la…usuários do laboratório de química produtores de drogas sintéticas etc… E a umei exclusiva para petistas…kkk vao lá ver se tem algum negro? Ou morador da região. ..nao há. Ela e exclusiva para filhos de carrapatos estrela e vermelhinhos. Socialistas de fachada… Viajam pra NY e usam Iphone.. Viajar pra cuba e Venezuela ninguém quer…kkkk73ResponderDenunciar

Laurimar Rosa de Lima

Laurimar Rosa de Lima 02:07 – 14/12/2019

O Instituto de Previdência dos Servidores de Minas Gerais (Ipsemg), está as mínguas, literalmente no CTI em face de um ( R$ 10 bilhões ) rombo bilionário. Em silêncio: pagamento de aposentadorias, déficit cerca de R$ 8 bilhões e o restante cerca de R$ 2 bilhões, deveria ter sido investido na área da saúde. Hospital Governador Israel Pinheiro, Serviço Médico de Urgência, faz de contas que funciona, com metade da capacidade e obras inacabadas. A extinção do Fundo Estadual de Previdência, permitiu o governo transferir para o caixa único do Estado, cerca de R$ 4 bilhões, reservados para aposentadorias. E onde estão R$ 250 milhões, arrecadados com a coparticipação da saúde, descontado dos servidores em consultas, exames, procedimentos médicos? Quando, como, quem irá equacionar a dívida do Tesouro Estadual com o Ipsemg por meio da compensação contábil de débitos e créditos gerados ao longo dos anos? Até quando o IPSEMG, continuará funcionando com o Certificado de Regularidade Previdenciária provisório, mediante ordem judicial? O governo sucateou o Instituto de Previdência dos Servidores de Minas Gerais, para vendê-lo à iniciativa privada posteriormente. É inconcebível imaginar que o IPSEMG possa deixar de existir, além do Instituto ser um sistema de saúde, é o sistema de alta arrecadação de Minas Gerais. Em 1988, a Constituição estabeleceu: “ Saúde é direito do cidadão e dever do Estado…”!32Respostas (2)Denunciar

Oleksander

Oleksander 23:17 – 13/12/2019

Se tivesse cota pra bolsominion a nota ia a zero rapidinho. Eles são burros demais.97ResponderDenunciar

SUÁSTICA

Salvar Link

Homem é flagrado com faixa de símbolo nazista em bar de Unaí

Foto foi publicada em redes sociais e gerou revolta entre os internautas, porém, o caso não foi registrado pela Polícia Militar

Por THAÍS MOTA15/12/19 – 16h47

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Foto: Foto: Twitter/Reprodução

Um homem utilizando uma braçadeira com o símbolo da suástica nazista foi fotografado no último sábado (14) em um bar de Unaí, região Noroeste de Minhas Gerais. Até o momento, ele não foi identificado.

A foto foi publicada por um jornalista em sua conta no Twitter, provocando revolta entre os internautas. Até 16h de domingo (15), a imagem já havia sido compartilhada por 1.300 perfis. 

O caso ocorreu no bar Booteco, localizado no centro da cidade. A informação foi confirmada por uma funcionária do local, mas ela não soube dizer se o fato gerou tumulto pois não estava trabalhando no momento em que aconteceu.

Em nota divulgada em suas redes sociais nesta tarde, o estabelecimento informou que repudia qualquer tipo de violência e discriminação. “Nós do Booteco prezamos pela vida; não damos suporte a discriminação. E qualquer tipo de violência contra qualquer ser humano será por nós reprimida.⠀O ocorrido ontem foi resolvido da melhor forma possível, por agentes policiais (sem violência) e sob a égide da lei”.⠀

Vídeos divulgados na internet mostram a presença de agentes da Polícia Militar (PM) do lado de fora do bar na noite de sábado. No entanto, ele não teria sido abordado.

Apesar de comparecer ao local, a PM informou que não foi registrada nenhuma ocorrência acerca do fato. Também a Polícia Civil não recebeu nenhuma denúncia sobre o caso.

Em suas redes sociais, o deputado federal do Rio de Janeiro, David Miranda (PSOL) publicou o vídeo em que aparece os militares e também fez uma crítica à atuação da polícia mineira.

“A PM de Minas quando indagada sobre quais providências havia tomado a respeito declarou que não havia registro de ocorrência deste tipo. A apologia ao nazismo é crime em nosso país, ao que tudo indica, a polícia esteve no local em que um homem praticava esse crime e nada fez. A PM de Minas Gerais deve explicações sobre esse fato”.

Crime

No Brasil, a apologia ao nazismo é crime, bem como qualquer tipo de discriminação ou preconceito de raça, cor, etnia, religião ou procedência nacional. 

A lei 7.716/89 prevê prisão de dois a cinco anos, além de multa, para quem “fabricar, comercializar, distribuir ou veicular símbolos, emblemas, ornamentos, distintivos ou propaganda que utilizem a cruz suástica ou gamada, para fins de divulgação do nazismo”.

Veja o momento em que a PM chega ao bar

 Comentar a matéria

1 COMENTÁRIOS

carregando

TRÂNSITO

15/12/2019PAMPULHA | 11:13Trânsito livre, sem travamentos em toda a extensão da avenida15/12/2019CENTRO | 11:11Trafego intenso, com lentidão nos arredores do Parque Municipal de Belo Horizonte15/12/2019CENTRO | 11:10Trânsito carregado no local, com lentidão em toda a extensão da praçaMAIS INFORMAÇÕES SOBRE O TRÂNSITO

COLUNISTAS

CRIANDO JUNTOSLuciene CâmaraMeninos também choram

ROBERTO ANDRÉSBH terá coragem?MAIS COLUNISTAS

NOTÍCIAS

1Homem é flagrado com faixa de símbolo nazista em bar de UnaíFoto foi publicada em redes sociais e gerou revolta entre os internautas, porém, o caso não foi registrado pela Polícia Militar2Três jovens morrem ao bater carro em volta de festa no Sul de Minas3PM apreende duas armas em ‘baile funk clandestino’ no Alto Vera Cruz em BHLEIA MAIS

Ricardo Salles critica cúpula do clima: 'não deu em nada'

Foto: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil

MEIO AMBIENTE

Ricardo Salles critica cúpula do clima: ‘não deu em nada’

Ministro afirmou que países ricos não querem abrir mão de suas emissões de carbono

MEIO AMBIENTE

Bolsonaro sobre COP-25: eu não aceitei ser aqui porque ia ser um Carnaval

Três jovens morrem ao bater carro em volta de festa no Sul de Minas

Foto: Foto: Alô Alô Cidade/Divulgação

LAMBARI

Três jovens morrem ao bater carro em volta de festa no Sul de Minas

Vítimas tinham entre 16 e 19 anos e voltavam de uma festa quando o carro em que estavam bateu em uma casa

VITTORIO MEDIOLIApac – Associação de Proteção e Assistência aos Condenados

LAURA MEDIOLISalomé

GENERAL FELÍCIODa TribunaChantagem nuclear e os pacifistas

FABRÍCIO CARPINEJARAmigo-oculto longe daquiVER MAIS

Marido flagra mulher com amante em motel e é morto; autor cometeu suicídio

Foto: Reprodução/Google Street View

EM PIRAPORA

Marido flagra mulher com amante em motel e é morto; autor cometeu suicídio

Mulher chegou a dizer aos militares que não conhecia a vítima

Após assédio, homem urina em piscina de bar, bate nos donos e é preso

Foto: Wikicommons/Reprodução

VARGINHA

Após assédio, homem urina em piscina de bar, bate nos donos e é preso

Um dos donos do estabelecimento revidou com um golpe deferido com um taco de sinuca no homem

SUÁSTICA

Homem é flagrado com faixa de símbolo nazista em bar de Unaí

SUPERFC

Torcedores pedem que Conselho pressione saída de Wagner

Foto: João Godinho

CARTA ABERTA

Torcedores pedem que Conselho pressione saída de Wagner

Endereçado ao presidente da entidade, Dalai Rocha, o texto afirma que “sem afastamento, não haverá paz”

Torcedores pedem que Conselho pressione saída de Wagner

SÉRIE B

Cruzeiro terá pesadelo que precisa ser encarado de frente em 2020

Torcedores pedem que Conselho pressione saída de Wagner

SOLIDARIEDADE

Cruzeirenses vão ajudar funcionários que estão com salários atrasados

Torcedores pedem que Conselho pressione saída de Wagner

‘BRINCADEIRA’

Torcedores arremessam laranjas em banner com o rosto de Wagner Pires

O novo capítulo da vida do ex-volante Adílson, do Atlético

Foto: Bruno Cantini

PERFIL

O novo capítulo da vida do ex-volante Adílson, do Atlético

O agora integrante da comissão técnica alvinegra fala sobre como está sendo o processo de adequação

O novo capítulo da vida do ex-volante Adílson, do Atlético

NOVO COMANDANTE?

Luxemburgo estaria na mira do Galo para 2020, diz canal de TV

O novo capítulo da vida do ex-volante Adílson, do Atlético

NOVO CAPÍTULO

Fred tem liminar negada em processo que envolve Galo e Cruzeiro

O novo capítulo da vida do ex-volante Adílson, do Atlético

PROMESSA

Joia colombiana, Dylan Borrero será anunciado pelo Atlético em 2020

Apartamento de luxo liga a Oi à família de Lula, diz Lava Jato

Foto: Juca Varella/Agência Estado – 16.2.2008

LAVA JATO

Apartamento de luxo liga a Oi à família de Lula, diz Lava Jato

Além do sítio de Atibaia (SP), um apartamento é apontado como um dos principais indícios de pagamento de propina

Homem é preso suspeito de matar atual namorado da ex em Caeté

Foto: Google Street View / Reprodução

REGIÃO METROPOLITANA

Homem é preso suspeito de matar atual namorado da ex em Caeté

Adolescente de 16 anos também foi atingido e morreu

HOMICÍDIO

Homem mata atual de ex em Ribeirão das Neves e diz: ‘eu quero tudo’

Consumo da classe alta de BH aumentou 18% neste ano

Foto: Leo Fontes/O TEMPO

MERCADO DE LUXO

Consumo da classe alta de BH aumentou 18% neste ano

Topo da pirâmide social vai fechar 2019 tendo injetado R$ 18,79 bilhões na economia da capital

Serra que emoldura Tiradentes será tombada como patrimônio

Foto: Flávio Tavares

SÃO JOSÉ

Serra que emoldura Tiradentes será tombada como patrimônio

Reconhecimento dará proteção contra crimes ambientais, como pastagem e corte de árvores

PATRIMÔNIO

Prefeitura de Tiradentes quer tombar igreja matriz, museu e chafariz

EDIÇÃO DO DIA

Capa do Dia

CHARGE DO DIA

Charge do Dia

VER MAIS CHARGES

TRÂNSITO

15/12/2019PAMPULHA | 11:13Trânsito livre, sem travamentos em toda a extensão da avenida15/12/2019CENTRO | 11:11Trafego intenso, com lentidão nos arredores do Parque Municipal de Belo HorizonteMAIS INFORMAÇÕES SOBRE O TRÂNSITO

Receba notícias pelo WhatsApp de graça: clique e cadastre-se em seus grupos favoritos!

Foto: Divulgação

SERVIÇO AO LEITOR

Receba notícias pelo WhatsApp de graça: clique e cadastre-se em seus grupos favoritos!

Tempo Hábil discute denúncias e processos de racismo em Minas Gerais

Foto: Divulgação

PODCAST

Tempo Hábil discute denúncias e processos de racismo em Minas Gerais

Estado registrou, de janeiro a novembro de 2019, a média de um caso a cada 22 horas e 16 minutos

TV O TEMPO

‘NÃO SOU PRÉ-CANDIDATO A PREFEITO EM BH’, DIZ DEPUTADO FEDERAL PATRUS ANANIAS

Parlamentar também afirmou que Lula continua sendo a maior liderança do Brasil e criticou o governo BolsonaroVER MAIS VÍDEOS

O TEMPO IMAGENS

Veja as imagens que marcaram esta semana no Brasil e no mundo

  • BELO HORIZONTE.  Capital mineira completa 122 anos com a necessidade de olhar para o futuro e promover avanços cruciaisFoto: Alexandre Mota / O Tempo
  • SEGURANÇA.  Policiamento é reforçado nas ruas de Nova Jersey após ataque em Jersey CityFoto: Kena Betancur / AFP
  • DE OLHO EM TÓQUIO.  Gabriel Medina garante vaga olímpica durante o mundial de surf no HavaíFoto: Brian Bielmann / AFP
  • POLÍTICA.  Clima de tensão percorre as ruas em Argel, na Argélia em dia de eleições presidencialFoto: Ryad Kramdi / AFP
  • FATO.  Unesco reconhece o Bumba Meu Boi como Patrimônio Cultural Imaterial da HumanidadeFoto: Secap/Governo do Maranhão
  • DECORAÇÃO.  Iluminação de natal encanta os frequentadores da Praça da Liberdade em Belo HorizonteFoto: Ramon Bitencourt / O Tempo
  • RECONHECIMENTO.  O Ginasta Arthur Nory é eleito o melhor atleta do ano pelo Comitê Olímpico do BrasilFoto: Luis Robayo / AFP
  • CRENÇA.  Devoto da doutrina básica do siquismo em seu momento de reflexão, em frente ao Templo Dourado em Amritsar na ÍndiaFoto: Narinder Nanu / AFP
  • CONFRONTO.  Polícia dispara gás lacrimogêneo para dispersar populares opositores a um novo projeto de lei que será discutido no congresso da ÍndiaFoto: Biju Bord / AFP
  • ATENÇÃO.  Vulcão na Nova Zelândia ainda se encontra em alerta vermelho, impedindo a equipe de resgate se aproximar da ilhaFoto: Maxar Technologies / AFP
  • CORES E SONHOS.  Ambulante caminha com sua mercadoria em um campo de refugiados de Balukhali, em BangladeshFoto: Munir Uz Zaman / AFP
  • REFLEXÃO.  Na Califórnia ,igreja metodista exibe presépio com Jesus, Maria e José presos em gaiolas como imigrantesFoto: David McNew / AFP
  • HO HO HO.  Organização sem fins lucrativos, que apóia a educação de jovens, realiza evento anual de esqui em Maine, nos Estados UnidosFoto: Joseph Prezioso / AFP
  • INFÂNCIA.  Usando a imaginação crianças brincam em um campo de refugiados de Balukhali, em UkhiaFoto: Munir Uz Zaman / AFP
  • DESAVENÇAS.  Palestino em confronto contra as forças de segurança israelenses na cidade de Hebron, no sul da CisjordâniaFoto: Hazem Bader / AFP
  • ENCHENTE.  Libaneses usam prancha e canoa como meio de transporte em uma estrada inundada devido a fortes chuvas em BeiruteFoto: Anwar Amro / AFP
  • NATUREZA.  Rastro de cinzas do vulcão na ilha Branca da Nova Zelândia, podem ser visto a quilômetros de distância após sua erupçãoFoto: Michael Schade / AFP
  • FOFURAS.  Primeiros filhotes de pandas gigantes nascem em um zoológico da AlemanhaFoto: Odd Andersen / AFP
  • UNIDAS.  Hino de empoderamento e a dança coreografada são realizadas por mulheres no centro de Los Angeles, CalifórniaFoto: Mark Ralston / AFP
  • PARAÍSO.  Barco de pesca navega ao pôr do sol, passando pela praia de Lhoknga, na IndonésiaFoto: Chaideer Mahyddin/ AFP
  • PODER.  As Casas do Parlamento da Grã-Bretanha, compreendendo a Câmara dos Lordes e a Câmara dos Comuns, são retratadas no centro de LondresFoto: Niklas Hallen / AFP
  • CONTRABANDO.  Militar destrói um lote de bebidas alcoólicas apreendidas, próximo a Karachi no PaquistãoFoto: Asif Hassan / AFP
  • MERGULHO.  Aquário em Tóquio oferece uma programação especial de Natal para os visitantes.Foto: Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP
  • FRIO.  Durante uma nevasca na cidade de Srinagar, soldado indiano efetua sua ronda diária

ESPECIAIS

MAGAZINE

Lista do Spotify mostra hegemonia dos artistas solo e das duplas sertanejas

Foto: Fred Magno/O Termpo

CULTURA POP

Lista do Spotify mostra hegemonia dos artistas solo e das duplas sertanejas

Uma das características do top 10 dos músicos mais ouvidos na plataforma em 2019 no Brasil e no exterior é a ausência de bandas

Bruna Surfistinha está mais madura na nova fase de 'Me Chama de Bruna'

Foto: Fox/Divulgação

SÉRIE

Bruna Surfistinha está mais madura na nova fase de ‘Me Chama de Bruna’

Atriz Maria Bopp fala sobre sua personagem na atração baseada na vida da ex-prostituta de luxo Raquel Pacheco

Bandidos usam a criatividade para aplicar golpes pelo WhatsApp

Foto: Allan White/ Fotos Públicas

ALERTA

Bandidos usam a criatividade para aplicar golpes pelo WhatsApp

Durante uma conversa, o usuário enganado acaba fornecendo um código de verificação do aplicativo e perde o controle de acesso

FIM DE SEMANA

Construtoras mudam o foco e venda de imóveis de luxo cresce

Foto: LEO FONTES/O TEMPO

CONSUMO

Construtoras mudam o foco e venda de imóveis de luxo cresce

Comercialização de residências de padrões mais elevados subiu 25,7% de janeiro a setembro; construtoras mudam o foco para priorizar classes altas

CIDADES

Foto: Foto: Twitter/Reprodução

Foto: Foto: Twitter/Reprodução

SUÁSTICA

Homem é flagrado com faixa de símbolo nazista em bar de Unaí

Foto foi publicada em redes sociais e gerou revolta entre os internautas, porém, o caso não foi registrado pela Polícia Militar

Foto: Foto: Alô Alô Cidade/Divulgação

Foto: Foto: Alô Alô Cidade/Divulgação

LAMBARI

Três jovens morrem ao bater carro em volta de festa no Sul de Minas

Vítimas tinham entre 16 e 19 anos e voltavam de uma festa quando o carro em que estavam bateu em uma casa

Foto: PMMG/Divulgação

Foto: PMMG/Divulgação

ZONA LESTE

PM apreende duas armas em ‘baile funk clandestino’ no Alto Vera Cruz em BH

Um jovem de 20 anos foi detido e encaminhado para a Central de Flagrantes da Polícia Civil

Ação solidária oferece ceia de natal a pessoas em situação de rua de BH

Foto: Rosane Pereira Walter

SOLIDARIEDADE

Ação solidária oferece ceia de natal a pessoas em situação de rua de BH

Convidados também ganharam presentes e assistiram a uma apresentação musical

Preocupação com crise climática leva à ecoansiedade

Foto: arquivo pessoal

ENTREVISTA

Preocupação com crise climática leva à ecoansiedade

Desordem psicológica gera ataques de pânico e insônia

Homem agride amiga de mulher que conheceu no Tinder e é linchado em BH

Foto: Google Street View/Reprodução

NO BARREIRO

Homem agride amiga de mulher que conheceu no Tinder e é linchado em BH

Vítima estava em encontro com sua acompanhante e uma amiga em um bar na região do Barreiro

POLÍTICA

Foto: Antonio Cruz/ Agência Brasil

Foto: Antonio Cruz/ Agência Brasil

MEIO AMBIENTE

Bolsonaro sobre COP-25: eu não aceitei ser aqui porque ia ser um Carnaval

Presidente criticou a cúpula do clima, que foi realizada em Madri, na Espanha

Foto: Gabriela Biló/Estadão Conteúdo

Foto: Gabriela Biló/Estadão Conteúdo

ESTRATÉGIA

‘Ideólogos’ do Aliança em gabinetes do Planalto

Manifesto do novo partido expõe o lado conservador do núcleo duro que cerca o presidente Bolsonaro

Foto: José Dias/PR

Foto: José Dias/PR

PROJETO ANTICRIME

Bolsonaro diz que vetará pena maior para crimes contra a honra na Internet

Pacote proposto por Sergio Moro ganhou nova versão na Câmara

TURISMO E SUPER MOTOR

BYD negocia compra da fábrica da Ford, em São Bernardo do Campo

Foto: BYD/Divulgação

SETOR AUTOMATIVO

BYD negocia compra da fábrica da Ford, em São Bernardo do Campo

Chineses estão interessados na aquisição da planta para produzir caminhões elétricos

BYD negocia compra da fábrica da Ford, em São Bernardo do Campo

AVALIAÇÃO

Nissan Frontier feita na Argentina é mais confortável; confira o teste

BYD negocia compra da fábrica da Ford, em São Bernardo do Campo

SUSTENTÁVEL

Lançado no Brasil, Nissan Leaf vira árvore de Natal ambulante; assista

BYD negocia compra da fábrica da Ford, em São Bernardo do Campo

CURIOSIDADE

Os carrões de youtubers famosos no Brasil; confira a lista

Costa Verde: entre o mar e as montanhas fluminenses

Foto: Portobello Resort Divulgacao

PORTOBELLO RESORT & SAFARI

Costa Verde: entre o mar e as montanhas fluminenses

Portobello Resort & Safári mescla requinte, tranquilidade, lazer e conforto na baía de Ilha Grande; destaque é a gastronomia e o lazer

Costa Verde: entre o mar e as montanhas fluminenses

VIAGENS INCRÍVEIS

Conheça Singita, na África do Sul: lodge rústico, chique e sustentável

Costa Verde: entre o mar e as montanhas fluminenses

LAZER

Rio Star: um convite para ver a Cidade Maravilhosa sob uma nova perspectiva

Costa Verde: entre o mar e as montanhas fluminenses

DETALHES

Check-in/Check-out: confira as novidades do setor de turismo

Podcast fala do skate e seus diferentes segmentos

Foto: Andrea Viana/Editoria de Arte

ESPORTIVAMENTE

Podcast fala do skate e seus diferentes segmentos

Com presença da jornalista e entusiasta Teca Lobato e do bicampeão sul-americano de downhill Pepe Laporte, episódio apresenta a modalidade

Rafael Costa e Marcella Fernanda são escolhidos Garoto e Garota Super 2019

Foto: Ramon Bitencourt

GGS 2019

Rafael Costa e Marcella Fernanda são escolhidos Garoto e Garota Super 2019

Bernardo Freitas e Karoline Marques faturaram o segundo lugar

»  Ludmilla leva público ao delírio em concurso Garoto e Garota Super 2019

»  Veja fotos dos vencedores do Garoto e Garota Super 2019

TV O TEMPO

TRANSTORNO DE ANSIEDADE DE FIM DE ANO

Na coluna dessa semana, a médica e psicanalista Soraya Hissa fala sobre a Síndrome de Angústia no final de ano; assistaVER MAIS VÍDEOS

LISTA DE ÚLTIMAS

15/12/19 – 19H14Sevilla perde invencibilidade de 8 jogos com derrota para o Villarreal15/12/19 – 18H21Sete corpos são deixados em caminhão após tiroteios em Angra dos Reis15/12/19 – 17H56Roma supera lanterna SPAL de virada e pula para o quarto lugar15/12/19 – 17H37Schalke vence e tira Bayern do G4 em jogo com entrada brutal de goleiro15/12/19 – 17H18Corinthians busca volante colombiano e mantém negociação por Michael15/12/19 – 17H17Bolsonaro sobre COP-25: eu não aceitei ser aqui porque ia ser um CarnavalVER MAIS 

COLUNISTAS

LAURA MEDIOLISaloméFERNANDO FABBRINIPreconceito assim pode?CRIANDO JUNTOSLuciene CâmaraMeninos também choramFABRICIO CARPINEJARAmigo-oculto longe daquiMINAS S/AHelenice LaguardiaOrquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais custa R$ 30 milhões por anoALESSANDRA SOARESBanco de IdeiasJornal O TEMPO e Portal O Tempo são destaque em noite de premiação na capital mineiraJOSE REIS CHAVESJosé Reis ChavesEspiritualismo e medicina frente a frenteRICARDO SAPIAAlerta SuperO Flamengo é BrasilROBERTO ANDRESRoberto AndrésBH terá coragem?CONEXAO RHEliane RamosConexões e desconexõesPAULO DINIZObrigado a todosSANDRA STARLING‘Por falta de adeus, até logo…’VER MAIS 

Assine O TEMPO digital e ganhe uma camisa do Atlético ou do Cruzeiro. Saiba como.

Foto: Divulgação

PROMOÇÃO

Assine O TEMPO digital e ganhe uma camisa do Atlético ou do Cruzeiro. Saiba como.

Por apenas R$ 14,90 por mês, você tem acesso ao conteúdo premium de O TEMPO e direito ao brinde e ao clube do assinante. O contrato é anual.

ECONOMIA

15/12/19 – 03H09Construtoras mudam o foco e venda de imóveis de luxo cresce15/12/19 – 03H08Consumo da classe alta de BH aumentou 18% neste ano14/12/19 – 13H33Argentina eleva imposto e farinha pode ficar mais cara no Brasil14/12/19 – 10H47Governo Bolsonaro estuda implementar alerta de riscos por TV digital14/12/19 – 03H00Mineração e café fazem PIB de Minas cair 1,5% no terceiro trimestreVER MAIS 

MUNDO

15/12/19 – 17H17Bolsonaro sobre COP-25: eu não aceitei ser aqui porque ia ser um Carnaval15/12/19 – 16H40Ricardo Salles critica cúpula do clima: ‘não deu em nada’14/12/19 – 15H31Rainha Elizabeth oferta vaga para social media com salário de R$ 23 mil14/12/19 – 11H22Trump bate recorde com 123 postagens no Twitter com tema do impeachment13/12/19 – 17H55Comissão da Câmara de Representantes aprova acusações para processar TrumpVER MAIS 

Podcast Rotas da Bola 10 traz os melhores do futebol pelo mundo; opine

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OUÇA

Podcast Rotas da Bola 10 traz os melhores do futebol pelo mundo; opine

Dedicado ao futebol internacional, programa especial traz 10 listas com os melhores jogadores posição por posição, técnicos, livros, estádios e muito mais

MAIS ATLÉTICO

15/12/19 – 05H00O novo capítulo da vida do ex-volante Adílson, do Atlético13/12/19 – 17H44Luxemburgo estaria na mira do Galo para 2020, diz canal de TV13/12/19 – 12H28Fred tem liminar negada pelo TRT em processo que envolve Galo e Cruzeiro13/12/19 – 11H06Joia colombiana, Dylan Borrero será anunciado pelo Atlético em 202013/12/19 – 08H30Kalil e Sette Câmara se distanciam para evitar interferência no GaloVER MAIS 

MAIS CRUZEIRO

15/12/19 – 06H00Cruzeiro terá pesadelo que precisa ser encarado em 202014/12/19 – 18H06Cruzeirenses vão ajudar funcionários que estão com salários atrasados13/12/19 – 16H02Torcedores do Cruzeiro protestam em frente à sede no Barro Preto13/12/19 – 15H48Deputado acusa Wagner Pires de usar dinheiro do Cruzeiro para pagar IPVA13/12/19 – 13H43Cruzeiro não tem previsão para quitar atrasados de jogadores e funcionáriosVER MAIS 

MAIS LIDAS

1Marido flagra mulher com amante em motel e é morto; autor cometeu suicídioMulher chegou a dizer aos militares que não conhecia a vítima2Após assédio, homem urina em piscina de bar, bate nos donos e é preso3Homem agride amiga de mulher que conheceu no Tinder e é linchado em BH4Apartamento de luxo liga a Oi à família de Lula, diz Lava Jato5Três jovens morrem ao bater carro em volta de festa no Sul de MinasLEIA MAIS

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SearchHome > Research > Life and Environmental Sciences > Real-time pathogen genome sequencing to inform outbreak response

Real-time pathogen genome sequencing to inform outbreak response

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Our research has developed a new technology and process for epidemiological investigation of outbreaks through the realisation of real-time, in-the-field, pathogen genome sequencing and open data sharing for epidemic response. The new process incorporates novel laboratory and molecular approaches, new bioinformatics software and integration into public health response in the form of field laboratories. 

This research, led by Professor Nick Loman has resulted in a global change of policy and new practices within the epidemiological investigation of infectious diseases demonstrated most recently during the Ebola virus disease Epidepic in West Africa.

Video: Life Sciences in Six – Professor Nick Loman

Life Sciences in Six – Professor Nick Loman

Professor Nick Loman discusses how can genome sequencing help us tackle Ebola and Zika as part of the Life Sciences in Six event, held at University of Birmingham on 22 November 2016.

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Chinese scientists programme stem cells to ‘fight and destroy’ cancerSIGN IN/UPChina / Science

Chinese scientists programme stem cells to ‘fight and destroy’ cancer

  • Team from Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health says technique was successful in treatment of mice
  • Technique represents another step forward in field of immune therapy, researchers say
Stephen Chen

Stephen Chen  

Published: 11:00pm, 22 Nov, 2019

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Developments in immunotherapy are helping people to fight cancer. Photo: Shutterstock

Developments in immunotherapy are helping people to fight cancer. Photo: Shutterstock

Chinese scientists claim to have made a major step towards a breakthrough in cancer treatment by programming stem cells to “seek and destroy” the disease.

Professor Wang Jinyong and a team from the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, say that the technique was successfully used to treat mice with cancer of the thymus, an organ central to the body’s immune system.

According to a paper published last week in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Cell Research, the team used stem cells to create infant immune cells that would later develop into T cells, which are produced in the thymus and play a central role in the body’s immune response.

The Chinese scientists used stem cells to fight cancer in mice. Photo: Shutterstock

The Chinese scientists used stem cells to fight cancer in mice. Photo: ShutterstockTech / Big Tech

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Chinese scientists lead discovery of stellar black hole that ‘should not even exist’

The discovery challenges current theories about how stellar black holes form

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Artist rendition of LB-1, a newly discovered stellar black hole. (Picture: Jingchuan Yu/Beijing Planetarium)

Artist rendition of LB-1, a newly discovered stellar black hole. (Picture: Jingchuan Yu/Beijing Planetarium)China / Science

The hunt for X17: a Chinese quest for the fifth force in physics

  • Researchers in Beijing are wondering whether experiments in Hungary could help unlock some of the mysteries of the universe
  • But others are sceptical, citing the failure of other scientists to replicate the results
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Stephen Chen  

Published: 5:00am, 30 Nov, 2019

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Scientists in China are looking for a particle that could open up a new frontier in physics. Photo: Shutterstock

Scientists in China are looking for a particle that could open up a new frontier in physics. Photo: Shutterstock

Related ArticlesChina scienceWhy China’s next Long March 5 mission will be about restoring national pride

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READ FULL ARTICLE14 Dec 2019 – 11:09PMChina scienceChina’s planned particle colliders called a ‘paradise for physicists’

  • Guangdong becomes focus as China races the US to build bigger particle accelerators
  • Scientist says the competition between the two countries will ultimately be for the good of the human race

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Copyright © 2019 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.China / Politics

Chinese police release Simon Cheng Man-kit ‘confession’ tape amid accusations of torture

  • Shenzhen authorities claim Cheng ‘engaged in prostitution’ but former British consulate trade officer said earlier that he did nothing regrettable
Echo Xie

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Published: 10:32pm, 21 Nov, 2019

TOP PICKSNewsChinese police release Simon Cheng ‘confession’ tape amid torture claims22 Nov 2019NewsDesigner babies: Chinese scientist ‘may have created unintended mutations’4 Dec 2019NewsChina’s latest robots move so smoothly scientists dubbed them ‘zero gravity’25 Nov 2019NewsPeking Man may not be that smart – even for the Stone Age27 Nov 2019NewsStudy finds male birth control drug may hold promise for lung cancer4 Dec 2019NewsThe big mystery at the centre of China’s gene-edited baby scandal5 Dec 2019NewsChinese astronomers discover ‘impossibly massive’ black hole29 Nov 2019NewsChinese scientists raise alarm about LCD screen pollution10 Dec 2019EconomyChina will make state economy ‘stronger, better and bigger’, says Liu He25 Nov 2019NewsChinese spy who ‘infiltrated’ Hong Kong defects to Australia: report26 Nov 2019

Shenzhen police released a video on Thursday purportedly showing Simon Cheng “confessing” to “wrongdoings”. Photo: Weibo

Shenzhen police released a video on Thursday purportedly showing Simon Cheng “confessing” to “wrongdoings”. Photo: WeiboHong Kong / Politics

Simon Cheng: former British consulate worker detained in Shenzhen claims he was tortured by Chinese police

  • Simon Cheng says he was shackled, blindfolded, beaten during 15 days of detention
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Simon Cheng was reported missing in August. Photo: AFP

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China’s completed ‘artificial sun’ to start operation in 2020

China’s HL-2M nuclear fusion device burns with the power of 13 suns

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Published: 10:01am, 27 Nov, 2019

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The HL-2M is hotter than the real sun but definitely uglier. (Photo: Xinhua)

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Chinese scientists lead discovery of stellar black hole that ‘should not even exist’

The discovery challenges current theories about how stellar black holes form

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Published: 5:40pm, 28 Nov, 2019

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Artist rendition of LB-1, a newly discovered stellar black hole. (Picture: Jingchuan Yu/Beijing Planetarium)

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  • Researchers in Beijing are wondering whether experiments in Hungary could help unlock some of the mysteries of the universe
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Types of Conflict in Business Negotiation—and How to Avoid Them

The types of conflict we face in business negotiation can be categorized by our role and relationship with the other party. By preparing for characteristics of each one, we will be better positioned to avoid them in the first place.

BY KATIE SHONK — ON JUNE 13TH, 2019 / CONFLICT RESOLUTION

1 Comment

types of conflict

Conflict in business negotiation is common, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are steps we can take to avoid certain types of conflict and misunderstandings.

Often, it helps to analyze the unique causes of conflict in particular negotiation situations. Here, we look at three frequent types of conflict in business negotiations and offer advice on how to keep them from flaring up.

1. Intercultural Conflict: Be Careful Not to Stereotype.

When negotiating with someone from a different culture, we often try to learn cultural practices that will help us fit in or avoid causing offense. There’s a risk to focusing on cultural differences, however: we may give too much weight to presumed cultural differences and end up over-simplifying or stereotyping the other party as a result. When one or both sides fall into this trap, misunderstandings and conflict can arise.


In our FREE special report from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School – The New Conflict Management: Effective Conflict Resolution Strategies to Avoid Litigation – renowned negotiation experts uncover unconventional approaches to conflict management that can turn adversaries into partners.


When preparing for an inter­national negotiation, background research on your counterpart’s culture is important, but it’s probably even more important for you to get to know him or her as an individual. Research the other party’s profession, work experience, organization, education, areas of expertise, personality, and negotiating experience to the extent that you can. To further defuse stereotypes, spend some time chatting and getting to know each other a bit before you get down to business.

In addition, during talks, work to reduce stress at the bargaining table, whether by taking breaks or extending deadlines. Stress can cause you to act in lockstep with cultural expectations rather than carefully analyzing the situation, according to Columbia University professor Michael Morris.

2. Conflict with Friends and Family: Discuss Difficult Issues Upfront

Business negotiations between friends and family members can result in hurt feelings, damaged relationships, or simply subpar deals. Indeed, conventional wisdom warns us against doing business with those close to us. Yet circumstances or opportunity sometimes makes negotiations with a relative or good friend irresistible or impossible to avoid.

Harvard Law School professors Frank E.A. Sander and Robert C. Bordone caution that, despite their solid basis of trust and understanding, negotiating friends and relatives tend to avoid conflict rather than confront it. That’s a problem, because their past history may involve unresolved emotions that will flare up during the negotiation, requiring conflict management.

Sander and Bordone encourage family members by negotiating together to consider and analyze the difficulties that may arise before they get down to business. To head off this and other types of conflict in negotiation, they advise you to take the time to agree on the norms, standards, principles, and processes that will guide your interactions.

In addition, if business negotiations with friends and relatives threaten to become contentious, you might propose consulting a neutral third party, such as a mediator, family therapist, trusted friend, or expert, for help in resolving causes of conflict, advise Sander and Bordone.

3. Workplace Conflict: Test Your Assumptions and Choose a Useful Role

At work, a conflict between colleagues can impair productivity and employee retention cautions Program on Negotiation Managing Director Susan Hackley.

How can you avoid conflict with coworkers from flaring up in the first place? You might begin by examining whether your department or organization welcomes constructive feedback rather than punishing it. Is it difficult to raise thorny issues? When it comes to managing workplace conflict, are there clear guidelines and structures in place to help people talk about sensitive issues respectfully?

Employees should be given guidance on how to give good feedback so they can express their concerns in a positive manner rather than letting them stew. People who give good feedback ask questions, stay positive, describe how the situation makes them feel, and give specifics. They show appreciation when warranted and make suggestions for improving working relationships.

In his book The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop (Penguin, 2000), William Ury describes different ways that colleagues can help prevent, resolve, and contain various types of conflict. These include taking on the roles of provider, teacher, bridge builder, mediator, arbiter, equalizer, healer, witness, referee, or peacekeeper. Choose a role that feels authentic and right for you, advises Hackley, such as stepping in to mediate a dispute among team members or educating others about conflict styles and conflict resolution techniques.

What other types of conflict have you faced in business negotiation, and how have you resolved them?


In our FREE special report from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School – The New Conflict Management: Effective Conflict Resolution Strategies to Avoid Litigation – renowned negotiation experts uncover unconventional approaches to conflict management that can turn adversaries into partners.


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Understanding how to arrange the meeting space is a key aspect of preparing for negotiation. In this video, Professor Guhan Subramanian discusses a real world example of how seating arrangements can influence a negotiator’s success. This discussion was held at the 3 day executive education workshop for senior executives at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

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A DNA helix

Yale Researchers Find That Autism Genes Helped Us to Become Smarter

The study might also help us to identify the prodigy gene, should it exist.    

PHILIP PERRY15 March, 2017British autistic savant Daniel Tammet. Getty Images.

Those with autism face distinct challenges. These usually have to do with certain social deficits. That might be why the results of a new study appear a bit puzzling. Genes linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) were actually preserved through the process of evolution, Yale researchers concluded. These genes actually made us smarter. 

If you find these results strange, consider the large numbers of scientists and engineers known to have Asperger’s syndrome. There are autistic savants as well, as the movie Rain Man can attest, which was based on a true story. Or perhaps you’ve seen the work of mind-blowing artist Stephen Wiltshire, who can draw panoramic scenes of whole cities with perfect detail, from his memory alone.

This was a genome-wide study, zeroing in on gene variants associated with ASD. Researchers examined 5,000 cases of autism and analyzed the genome of each participant. They focused on evolutionary gene selection, particularly on which genes were positively selected. One clue which led researchers to these findings was that, more genes associated with autism were preserved by evolution than would have been through sheer randomness.

British autistic savant Stephen Wiltshire. Getty Images.  TOP ARTICLES1/5READ MOREVPNs are a must for private browsing in2020. Here are huge deals on 5 of them

That’s not all. Through molecular testing, scientists discovered that such genes were associated with more neuronal connections and the prodigious growth of new neurons. The more neurons or connections a person has within their brain, the greater their intellectual performance. Those genes which negatively impact reproduction are usually axed from the genome, as per the laws of natural selection. Some gene variants have a muted effect. These can be positive or negative. Variants which aid survival are usually carried forth, and passed down through the generations. It’s thought that many of the genes related to ASD are of this variety.closevolume_off

Professor Joel Gelernter was the study’s co-author. He is a professor of psychiatry, genetics, and neuroscience, at the Yale School of Medicine. He said, “It might be difficult to imagine why the large number of gene variants that together give rise to traits like ASD are retained in human populations — why aren’t they just eliminated by evolution?” He went on, “The idea is that during evolution these variants that have positive effects on cognitive function were selected, but at a cost — in this case an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders.”

This isn’t the only study linking higher intellectual aptitude with ASD. A 2015 Ohio State University study found that geniuses and their autistic relatives share a particular genetic feature. A certain peak on chromosome 1 increases the likelihood either of autism or an advanced intellect. One theory is that geniuses may have a certain gene that protects them against ASD. Theoretically, a drug mimicking the protein produced by that gene could tamp down or even eliminate autistic behaviors. But researchers haven’t discovered a prodigy gene, thus far.  

To see one autistic savant in action, click here: 

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Charles Prober in his office

Discussing death: Teaching clinicians how to broach tough topics with patients

AuthorHolly MacCormickPublished onDecember 3, 2019

People sometimes assume physicians either have the ability to talk to patients about difficult subjects — or they don’t. Actually, it’s an ability that everyone can learn and then hone, palliative care expert Stephanie Harman, MD, told me.

“These are inherently teachable skills,” Harman said. “How do we teach someone to recognize emotion and respond to it? How do we teach someone to strip away all the medical jargon and give a really clear headline of what’s happening, and then pause and give space for a patient and family to respond?”

Harman and other educators at the Stanford University School of Medicine, including Charles Prober, MD, and Jonathan Berek, MD, executive director of the Stanford Center for Health Communication, are leading the way to ensure current trainees have opportunities to learn these skills and practice difficult conversations in realistic, consequence-free environments.

One course, called “Managing Difficult Conversations,” was based on a Graduate School of Business course led by Irving Grousbeck, MBA, a successful businessman and entrepreneur and co-director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Stanford Business School.

Grousbeck approached Prober in 2007, hoping to extend the course to medical students in recognition that there are some general principles that can help make these conversations more successful, irrespective of subject matter, and that business and medical students could learn more from one another.

Prober agreed and the joint course — featuring guest clinicians in student-to-student and student-to-clinician role-playing — was launched, instantly drawing more students than it could accommodate, said Proberwho taught the course with Grousbeck for ten years. He now co-teaches with Bill Meehan, MBA, a former senior director at McKinsey and the Raccoon Partners Lecturer in Strategic Management at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

In one scenario explored in the course, students interact with Meehan, who draws upon his personal experience receiving a multiple sclerosis diagnosis to role-play with the students.

Meehan’s case is laid out for students as, “a conversation around a bad diagnosis, how to convey it to the patient, and how the patient gets guidance on how to convey it to his family,” Prober explained.

Case studies like Meehan’s are the backbone of the course: Examples of conversations about real scenarios are scripted by a case writer who creates pseudonyms for patients and adds “fictional spice to them to make them more compelling,” Prober said. 

One case involves a child who fell into a swimming pool and drowned. Students must navigate the conversation between a father, who fell asleep in front of the TV, and his angry, anguished wife.

For students, role-playing with a patient who lived the experience is valuable, the instructors said. The students hear how the information they convey was received, and experience the emotional impact of the situations.

A two-sided business card offers tips created by Prober and Meehan for students in the course “Managing Difficult Conversations.”

This fall, Prober will also teach “Challenging Conversations,” with Berek, the director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative. Berek describes the course as a “series of vignettes on a different challenging area of medicine.”

Harman and other faculty members will join sessions on communication techniques for medical errors, interpersonal challenges, easing pain and suffering, and dealing with rage and sorrow. 

Receiving a life-threatening diagnosis or discussing death, “is a critical moment in that patients life’s journey,” Prober said. “It needs to be handled with the utmost care.”

“I was 14-years old when my father died in an emergency room from a massive heart attack,” Prober said. “And I remember when the person came out of the room. You bet I remember. The way [the news] was delivered was not bad, but it is forever burned into your mind.”

This is third in a series of Discussing Death blog posts designed to help people have more helpful and meaningful conversations about end of life care and death.

Photo of Charles Prober, MD, by Norbert von der Groeben

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Meet the determined, imaginative young researchers who are using biology to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges, with a little help from the companies and entrepreneurs who know what it takes. Photo: iGEM Foundation and Justin KnightHome » Featured Slider » The kids are alright: synthetic biology’s training grounds now have a TwistEDUCATIONFEATURED SLIDERPOLICY & PUBLIC

The kids are alright: synthetic biology’s training grounds now have a Twist

David KirkDecember 10, 2019

When coal was burned en masse during the Industrial Revolution, people were unaware of the delicate balance of carbon in the atmosphere. When plastics were invented in the 1930s, we could not have anticipated how they would contaminate our oceans.

Here in the 21st century, we have a much better understanding of the natural world. We also have the tools and technology to put people in better balance with the world. Precision technologies, like the synthetic biology solutions developed at the International Genetic Engineering Machine (iGEM) Competition, are helping us solve yesterday’s problems while building a sustainable tomorrow.

The iGEM Competition is almost a rite of passage for young scientists in the field of synthetic biology. The competition was founded in 2003 out of an independent study course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Tom Knight, co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks, also co-founded the first course. along with iGEM founder Randy Rettberg and synthetic biology leader Drew Endy. Ginkgo co-founders Austin Che, Reshma Shetty, Barry Canton, and Jason Kelly participated in the early years of the course. They entered an iGEM team together in 2006, working on producing a flavor compound in E. coli. Today, many industry leaders in synthetic biology have been forged in the competitive fires of the iGEM crucible.

Since 2003, iGEM has grown into a global event with thousands of participants who come together in Boston for the iGEM Giant Jamboree. This competition showcases the innovations from young synthetic biologists at high-school, undergraduate and overgraduate level which help solve global problems through synthetic biology solutions. Key to this is the use of standard biological parts. These are functional units of DNA, like a gene or a promoter. Parts are added to the iGEM Registry so that teams around the world for years to come can use them to create novel biological solutions. It’s global teamwork.

Building the future with biology

Seeing the impact they can have in enabling the next generation of synthetic biologists, forward-thinking companies are keen to support iGEM teams. Twist Bioscience recognized the immediate benefits they could bring to the participants by partnering their DNA synthesis technology with iGEM. DNA is the foundational element of engineering biology, the “biobytes” which can program a sustainable bioeconomy. Twist have developed a unique DNA synthesis platform on a silicon chip. When CEO Emily Leproust addressed the 2019 Giant Jamboree, she likened DNA to language.

Twist Bioscience

Twist CEO Emily Leproust addresses the next generation of synthetic biologists at the iGEM Giant Jamboree. Her message: The ability to make DNA should never get in the way of the innovators making biological solutions for the world. Photo: iGEM Foundation and Justin Knight.

“Individual letters have very little impact but, when put together in order, they have the power to describe the world around us, bringing knowledge, relationship, and engagement,” she explained. Highlighting the entrepreneurial and world-changing spirit of iGEM, she added “Twist started with a big idea. We can use silicon technology to write DNA. Each day we are producing millions of oligonucleotides and we turn these oligos into thousands of high-grade genes to be used by researchers.”

This year’s teams target pollution

Pollution was one of the common themes of this year’s contest, and there were many standout teams at this year’s iGEM Giant Jamboree working in this area:

iGEM exeter
  • Another big-picture project was aimed at designing microbes to capture carbon and affect local weather. NCHU Taichung in Taiwan were intrigued by a carbon-capture pathway in phytoplankton that makes dimethyl sulfide, which can be transformed into cloud condensation nuclei. They engineered a different dimethyl sulfide pathway into Escherichia coli to do the same thing. Carbon capture alone helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but seeding clouds with the product could also help reflect sunlight, like ice does at the Earth’s polar regions.
  • Manchester’s Cutiful team engineered bacteria to produce natural hair dyes that not only color hair, but also help repair it. Traditional hair dyes can contain allergens, and their manufacture is less environmentally friendly than Cutiful’s synthetic biology solution. Their biofriendly hair dye even produces a pleasing citrus or vanilla scent.
  • Paris’ Cinergy team wondered what they could do about the 30 billion cigarette butts thrown on the ground in France each year. Each butt takes 10 to 15 years to degrade on its own, but the Paris team found a way to turn them into green electricity. They did this by engineering microbes to break down cellulose acetate — the main ingredient of cigarette butts — into carbohydrates. The carbohydrates could in turn be used by another microbe to make electrons, which were directed to a conducting wire to produce usable electricity.
Ionis Paris

Beyond iGEM: taking good ideas into the world

Novel ideas developed at iGEM don’t disappear at the end of the project, either. To help retain and build on this global talent, the iGEM foundation established After iGEM.

“There are about 150 relevant synbio-based iGEM co-founders with roots in the competition. These are applied synthetic biology companies focusing on areas like food, agri tech, water and health,” says Will Wright, Director of Entrepreneurship at the iGEM Foundation.

Wright highlights teams that have resulted in startups such as Ginkgo, PvP BiologicsHyasynth, and Puraffinity, but there are many, many more success stories spinning out of iGEM. After iGEM aims to keep engaging with iGEMers across the world, developing their skills and companies through specialist programs, and helping spread the idea of biological solutions to global problems.

Investing in people is key to achieving this. Engineering biology is not a cheap technology to develop or scale and the field relies on the support of grants and investment that seek to improve our world. Companies like Twist recognize this.

“We never want access to DNA to be a limiting factor to your research,” Leproust said at this year’s Giant Jamboree. “That is why we are proud to have provided every team with 10,000 bases of free DNA this year and to be supporting iGEM with the synthesis of the Registry of Standardized Parts.”

iGEM

iGEM team members in exchange with competition judges on the main floor or the iGEM Jamboree in Boston, October 2019. Photo: iGEM Foundation and Justin Knight

Fast, inexpensive access to any of the parts in the Registry enables iGEM researchers around the world to work on their innovative projects without spending weeks at a time waiting for DNA parts to be synthesized from scratch.

Global challenges in health, food, and water supply faced by humanity require a global solution. The iGEM Foundation fosters innovation and support to a new generation of synthetic biologists. With support from iGEM alumni and companies like Twist Bioscience, they will change our world for the better.4

David Kirk

David Kirk

David is a synthetic biologist and science writer interested in the bioeconomy, bio-based industry, and biopharma.VIEW ALL POSTSClick here to join our weekly newsletter. We want to hear what you think about this article. Got a tip for our news team? Write to editorial@synbiobeta.com.

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Nano Express – a new open access journal from IOP Publishing

12 Dec 2019 Simon Davies

IOP Publishing is announcing Nano Expressa new open access addition to its materials science portfolio, which will compliment Nanotechnology and Nano Futures as a trio of connected titles dedicated to nanoscience.

Nano Express will cover all areas of nanoscale science and technology and articles will be free to read. It will be characterised by a broad multidisciplinary scope, fast-track peer-review and production processes, and an inclusive editorial policy focused on scientific rigour and validity rather than perceived impact.

The journal will be led by founding Editor-in-Chief, Professor Antonio Di Bartolomeo (University of Salerno, Italy). He will be supported by a diverse Editorial Board of leading researchers representing the journal’s full scientific coverage.

Professor Di Bartolomeo said: “We are aware of the work behind any new scientific results and the effort required in writing a paper, especially in the competitive field of nanoscience. Nano Express will recognise this through a commitment to provide authors with the fastest possible publication, as well as maximum visibility and reach in rapidly bringing their peer-reviewed research to the widest possible audience.”

“IOP’s history in nanoscience dates back to 1990, when we launched Nanotechnology as the world’s first journal dedicated to nanoscale research. Nano Express adds to our programme as a unique new open access publishing option for the community with a specific remit to reflect how research at the nanoscale now extends to all areas of the physical and biological sciences,” said Dr Tim Smith, Associate Director for Journals Product Development at IOP Publishing.

Nano Express is now open for submissions and as part of our commitment to open science, IOP Publishing is initially waiving all open access article publication charges (APCs).

Full details about the scope, Editorial Board and submission guidelines can be found on the journal homepage.

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1A Nixon Deepfake Shows a Moon Landing Gone Wrong2Why the ‘Penis Fish’ Ambushed This Cali Beach3New Russian Warships Will Pack Hypersonic Missiles4HBO Go, Now, and Max: A Cord Cutter’s Guide5The 10 Best Tech Gadgets of 2019

The SpaceX Decade: How One Company Changed Spaceflight Forever

Elon Musk’s iconoclastic company achieved huge milestones over the past 10 years, but SpaceX won’t dominate the 2020s.

image

By Joe PappalardoDec 12, 2019

image

MICHAEL STILLWELL.

The Decade, Reviewed looks back at the 2010s and how it changed human society forever. From 2010 to 2019, our species experienced seismic shifts in science, technology, entertainment, transportation, and even the very planet we call home. This is how the past ten years have changed us.


Something very strange happened to spaceflight over the past 10 years: Commercial Space companies now have devotees. Like impassioned sports fans, their conflicts play out on social media, where detractors and worshippers swap insults and Delta-v rocket equations with equal invective.

With this is mind, dubbing the 2010s as “The SpaceX Decade” is guaranteed to generate some internet ire, but this is not a declaration based Elon Musk worship or admiration for the visionary team led by Gwynne Shotwell. What enabled SpaceX to entirely disrupt global spaceflight during the past decade was not imagination—it was execution.

The Power of Engineering

SpaceX Launches Giant Falcon 9 Test Rocket

The first launch of the Falcon 9 rocket, June 4, 2010, at Cape Canaveral.MATT STROSHANEGETTY IMAGESADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW

Strip away Musk’s Iron Man celebrity, the dreams of a Mars base, and even his super rich customer paying to fly around the moon. In fact, forget Musk and his human spaceflight aspirations altogether. What’s left is a launcher that—above all else—used clever engineering to create new vehicles that are launching payloads right here and now. That’s real money, real hardware, and real missions.

And a lot can happen in just a decade. On June 4, 2010, SpaceX launched its first Falcon 9 with the first stage burning up in the atmosphere upon re-entry. On February 6, 2018, the Falcon Heavy (a souped-up variant of the Falcon 9) successfully launched with its two side boosters returning for a safe landing in one of the most spectacular spaceflight moments of the decade.

These are things SpaceX has done, not just planned or even got funded, and no one in commercial space comes close. Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, ULA, and the other commercial “space barons” have launched exactly zero orbital space missions. Any suborbital business they conduct is fairly moribund in comparison to SpaceX. This was not the Decade of Commercial Spaceflight.

Hopefully, that’s coming next.

The SpaceX Effect

Credit: Michael Stillwell

Achievement is the first argument for dubbing this the SpaceX Decade. The other major consideration is impact. The “SpaceX effect” is real.

As a report by Jeff Matthews, specialist at Deloitte Consulting, puts it: “The rapidly decreasing cost of launch over the past decade largely stems from the decision of Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to develop a vertically integrated vehicle production line that was more reliable, adaptable, and efficient.”

Now, new hardware is being developed to compete. Emboldened investors and government officials are opening doors to more players. NASA is following commercial crew mold for lunar landers, low-Earth orbit sats, and all sorts of stuff. If SpaceX failed to kick down the doors and (more importantly) succeed in their given missions, these opportunities would not have manifested so quickly and boldly.

FORGET MUSK AND HIS HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT ASPIRATIONS…WHAT’S LEFT IS A LAUNCHER THAT—ABOVE ALL ELSE—USED CLEVER ENGINEERING TO CREATE NEW VEHICLES THAT ARE LAUNCHING PAYLOADS.

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Or, as the Deloitte report puts it: “This disruption or ‘democratization’ of space as a new resource for these companies, instead of just a few select players, is fundamentally changing the commercial landscape.”

This impact is not limited to the U.S. On the global scale, SpaceX’s now-proven reuseable rockets are the rage. On the business side of things, more nations (including China) are supporting private commercial companies to help drive innovation. Arianespace, the stalwart European launchers, is fielding new rockets in part due to SpaceX’s new price and capabilities.

But, in all likelihood, the next decade won’t belong to SpaceX. But for spaceflight fans, that’s a good thing.

Next Up: SpaceX, Dethroned

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket Launches Communications Satellite

JOE RAEDLEGETTY IMAGES

SpaceX will be facing some ambitious projects (Maezawa’s moonshot and Starlink come to mind) that could derail the company should they go wrong. But this is a case where others are poised catch up to the market leader with their own innovative progress, rather than closing the distance due to a stumble.

Yes, the “market leader” is referring to SpaceX. The company will likely remain iconoclastic, daring, and unconventional. But they cannot claim underdog status as they compete and win contracts over a global array of launch companies, large and small.

When it comes to moon cargo landings and all human spaceflight, SpaceX is facing aerospace giants like Boeing and Lockheed Martin but also smaller firms without the company’s track record or relationship with NASA. More private space companies are taking advantage of the SpaceX disruption to challenge them for launches. Some are small companies partnering with the giants to build components—for example, Blue Origin and Boeing—yielding experience along with healthier balance sheets.MORE SPACEXElon Musk: The Popular Mechanics Interview

These new launch vehicles have been designed either in direct response to SpaceX’s innovative, cost-saving approach or have been indirectly influenced by them. But it takes a long time to develop a new rocket engine, and the work being done in the 2010s will come to market in the 2020s. The full ripple effect of SpaceX’s disruptions of the 2010s has yet to be fully seen, but it will make its competition tougher moving forward.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW

Then, there’s China. Look at their planned missions for 2020: a sample return mission to the moon, the nation’s first-ever Mars mission, and the launch of the first piece of a new space station. China was the launch leader of the world in 2019 and plans nearly as many as 30 launches in 2020. The United States is second on the list, courtesy in large part to SpaceX’s busy launch cadence.

In the 2010s, SpaceX was at the forefront of a new way of accessing space that reverberated beyond government contracts, investment portfolios, and mannequins in space cars. One visionary company inspired global change, an achievement that deserves naming an entire decade after it.

Where humanity’s space ambitions go from here is anyone’s guess, but thanks to SpaceX, the stage is set for dramatic change.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Gives Update On Starship Launch Vehicle At Texas Launch Facility

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Can Robots Build a Moon Base for Astronauts? Japan Hopes to Find Out.

By Elizabeth Howell April 07, 2019

A moon base could be constructed remotely.

A moon base could be constructed remotely.(Image: © JAXA)

Japan’s space agency wants to create a moon base with the help of robots that can work autonomously, with little human supervision.

The project, which has racked up three years of research so far, is a collaboration between the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the construction company Kajima Corp., and three Japanese universities: Shibaura Institute of Technology, The University of Electro-Communications and Kyoto University.

Recently, the collaboration did an experiment on automated construction at the Kajima Seisho Experiment Site in Odawara (central Japan). 

Related: Moon Base Visions: How to Build a Lunar Colony (Photos)

A moon base could be constructed remotely.
A moon base could be constructed remotely. (Image credit: JAXA)

A 7-ton autonomous backhoe went through its paces at the site, going through procedures such as driving a specified distance and repeating routine operations, JAXA officials said in a statement. Operations that required more fine handling were performed with a human, by remote control. 

“[The backhoe] has been modified with onboard survey instruments and an automatic operation control console. The instruments that the tractor and backhoe are installed with autonomously measure [the backhoe’s] position and direction … making it both remotely and automatically operable,” JAXA officials said. 

“The operational process has shown feasibility of the unmanned technologies to build a lunar base,” they added. Image 1 of 4

autonomous building of lunar base
(Image credit: 2019 Kajima Corporation)

Four steps for moon base construction: Step 1

Site preparation work for the module for human habitation.

autonomous building of lunar base
(Image credit: 2019 Kajima Corporation)

Four steps for moon base construction: Step 2

Excavation that meets the required depth.

autonomous building of lunar base
(Image credit: 2019 Kajima Corporation)

Four steps for moon base construction: Step 3


Installation of the module.

autonomous building of lunar base
(Image credit: 2019 Kajima Corporation)

Four steps for moon base construction: Step 4

Shielding the module with the surface material to protect it from meteoroids and radiation.

The backhoe is equipped with a suite of technologies to help it work on its own at the moon, which is located about 2 seconds’ radio distance away from Earth. In other words, any command sent from Earth would take about 2 seconds to arrive at the moon’s surface. (The average distance between the Earth and the moon is about 239,000 miles, or 384,000 kilometers).

JAXA used this autonomously operated tractor to practice for someday remotely building a moon base.
JAXA used this autonomously operated tractor to practice for someday remotely building a moon base. (Image credit: JAXA)

The backhoe has “operational support,” including remote-control functions, that can help compensate for communication delays, JAXA officials said. It also has motion recognition capabilities adaptable to the lunar environment, and the ability to coordinate its work through multiple machines.

An autonomously operated backhoe, like this one used in a JAXA test, could someday help construct a moon base.
An autonomously operated backhoe, like this one used in a JAXA test, could someday help construct a moon base. (Image credit: JAXA)

Building a base for humans using remote, autonomous control will require site preparation work, excavation, installing the module, and then shielding it with moon dust (regolith) to protect humans from radiation and possible meteoroids, JAXA officials said. Meteoroids are grain-size or larger space rocks that travel through space at high speeds. If meteoroids strike a structure such as a space station or moon base, there’s a risk of the oxygen inside the structure suddenly leaking out into space.

This isn’t Japan’s only futuristic lunar venture. In mid-March, JAXA announced it and vehicle manufacturer Toyota would create a moon rover to transport humans, which could launch by 2029. JAXA hopes to have its astronauts on the moon by 2030, according to Sky News, and its International Space Station partner, the United States, has similar ambitions.

Late last month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence tasked NASA with landing astronauts on the moon by the end of 2024, around the same time the ISS may be retired from government service. NASA is also designing a Lunar Gateway space station for operations in the 2020s. In March, Canada was the first space station partner to commit to joining Gateway; it will construct an autonomous robotic arm called Canadarm3.

The year 2019 marks the 50th year since humans first walked on the moon. The actual date is July 20, 1969, when Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent about 2 hours on foot exploring the moon’s Sea of Tranquility.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook

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THIS WAS THE DECADE THE COMMERCIAL SPACEFLIGHT INDUSTRY LEAPT FORWARD

Led by SpaceX, there’s been a paradigm shift in the business of spaceBy Loren Grush@lorengrush  Dec 11, 2019, 11:00am EST

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TwoTwo years into the decade, on May 25th, 2012, a small teardrop-shaped capsule arrived at the International Space Station, packed with cargo and supplies for the crew living on board. Its resupply mission at the ISS wasn’t remarkable, but the vehicle itself was unique: it was a Dragon cargo capsule, owned and operated by a private company called SpaceX.

Before 2012, only vehicles operated by governments had ever visited the ISS. The Dragon was the first commercial vehicle to dock with the station. The milestone was a crowning achievement for the commercial industry, which has permanently altered the spaceflight sector over the last 10 years.

The highlights of the last ten years, from AirPower to Google Wave

This decade, the space industry has seen a shift in the way it does business, with newer players looking to capitalize on different markets and more ambitious projects. The result has been an explosion of growth within the commercial sector. It’s allowing for easier access to space than ever before, with both positive and negative results. Such growth is providing the commercial space industry with lots of momentum coming into the 2020s, but it’s unclear if this pace is something that can be kept up.

A NEW PARADIGM

Commercial companies have been involved in spaceflight since the dawn of space travel. Private companies built the Saturn V rocket for NASA, which took the first humans to the surface of the Moon. But for much of the 20th century, the companies that built those rockets and spacecraft weren’t purely focused on space travel. Instead, behemoth contractors specialized in space technologies, while also focusing on other areas of tech such as aviation and defense. They pursued purely government contracts — either from NASA or the Department of Defense — and most often the government told them exactly what to do.

“Under the old model, the government would hire a Lockheed or a Boeing or somebody to build one of these rockets,” Brian Weeden, director of program planning for the Secure World Foundation, tells The Verge. “Almost all the money would come from the government, and the government would have almost complete control over what was built.” It’s the way the Space Shuttle was built; the way the International Space Station was built; the way the future James Webb Space Telescope is being built. All of these things are owned and operated by NASA, though they’ve all been built by contractors.

NASA’s Space Shuttle, built by contractors, flew its final flight in 2011

For years, companies with the most spaceflight experience pursued these juicy government gigs, forsaking the private market. The US’s biggest launch provider since 2006, the United Launch Alliance, was mostly established to loft national security satellites for the DoD. “Because our companies became only interested in and focusing on the government customer, by 2010, at the beginning of the decade, we had no market share at all in the commercial space launch industry,” Greg Autry, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California specializing in new space, tells The Verge. “If a private company from Thailand wanted to launch a TV satellite or an Israeli company wanted to launch a communications satellite, an American launch vehicle was not even a consideration.”

But in the 2000s, a new player emerged in the commercial space arena. Space Exploration Technologies Corp., helmed by billionaire Elon Musk, took a different route than the contractors. The company was purely focused on space travel, with a very ambitious long-term goal: start a settlement on Mars someday. First, it had to build actual rockets, and the company had to be profitable doing so. Armed with private investment from Musk and early adopters, SpaceX started developing rockets on its own. And rather than focus entirely on government contracts, SpaceX pursued any customer it could, from NASA and the DoD, to commercial and international satellite operators. If you had something that needed to get to space, SpaceX wanted to fly it for you.“THERE WAS A GUARANTEED MARKET IF YOU COULD GET THERE.”

As SpaceX strived to make a name for itself, NASA started to experiment with a new way of doing business. Known as fixed-price contracting, the idea worked liked this: The space agency would put out a call for a service (for instance, a way to transport cargo to the ISS). Companies would then pitch their own ideas and vehicles to make that happen. If NASA liked the pitch, it would hand over a lump sum of money as investment, and the company would go into development. Once the vehicle was complete, NASA would pay for the use of it. It was meant to be a win-win. NASA would pay less money up front for a service, and private companies would own and operate their final creations.

This model was perfect for a company like SpaceX. It could use the investment from the government to supplement the development of its rockets, and then ultimately use the rockets to make money once development was complete. “That caused them to think creatively,” Lori Garver, the former deputy administrator of NASA under the Obama administration, tells The Verge. “There was a guaranteed market if you could get there.” That’s exactly what happened after SpaceX was tasked by NASA to start servicing the International Space Station. Once the company had developed its Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX tried to put as many satellites on top of the vehicle as possible.

SpaceX’s Dragon, captured by the robotic arm on the International Space Station, in May 2012

To capture more customers, SpaceX strove to bring down launch costs through new methods of manufacturing and a vertically integrated business. Famously, SpaceX relentlessly pursued making its rockets reusable, by landing them after each flight — a feat that’s meant to save the company on manufacturing costs. SpaceX has reaped the benefits of its affordable launches, too. Despite a few notable rocket failures, the company is still the most prolific launch provider in the US at the moment, and holds contracts with numerous customers from around the world. “They want to pursue private markets,” Jim Muncy, founder of PoliSpace, a space policy consulting agency, tells The Verge. “And they want to stimulate private markets.”

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE

Capitalism finally infiltrated spaceflight in the 2010s, and that meant competition was in full swing. Other launch providers looked at ways to also bring down costs over the last decade, with some pursuing reusability as well. New players are coming onto the scene: Blue Origin, Virgin Orbit, Rocket Lab, and more. As launch costs have come down, space has become more accessible than ever.

Over the last decade, Moore’s law has also finally taken hold of spaceflight, with satellites and vehicles being built smaller. These cereal box-sized satellites are easier and cheaper to make than their bus-sized predecessors, and they’re much cheaper to launch, requiring less overall room on a rocket. As a result, companies focused solely on building small satellites have seen enormous success. Research organizations and universities looking to put something into orbit have an easier time of making that happen. This trend, combined with more launch vehicles, has resulted in an explosion of new vehicles and satellite constellations from commercial companies.

With all this progress does come unintended consequences. The rise of SpaceX has also seen the rise of the SpaceX fans. Unlike other CEOs, Musk’s fans revere him as an almost godlike figure, a savior for humanity who will lead us to a utopia on Mars. Criticizing him and SpaceX for any reason comes with major risk, as you will likely be perceived as tearing down progress. That’s unfortunate, because healthy skepticism is warranted these days, as SpaceX’s claims and ambitions have grown loftier than ever. The latest claim is that the company will be landing a giant new vehicle on the Moon by 2022 — but that vehicle hasn’t yet been built, and it certainly hasn’t flown. “Every pronouncement that they make, no matter how wacky it is, is reported without critique, largely,” Linda Billings, a current consultant to NASA’s astrobiology and planetary defense programs, tells The Verge.“EVERY PRONOUNCEMENT THAT THEY MAKE, NO MATTER HOW WACKY IT IS, IS REPORTED WITHOUT CRITIQUE.”

Some of the more formidable projects these companies want to undertake could also be detrimental down the road. Notably, SpaceX, OneWeb, and other companies have all been eyeing a new spaceflight market: filling low Earth orbit with tens of thousands of satellites, in order to beam internet coverage to the surface below. In an effort to bolster the progress of the commercial space industry, the government has taken a light touch approach to regulating these more entrepreneurial companies. The Federal Communications Commission, which provides licenses for launches, has been very lax in its approvals, giving SpaceX and OneWeb the go-ahead for their massive satellite initiatives. Now, there’s not much stopping them from increasing the amount of satellites in orbit by several orders of magnitude.

SpaceX’s first batch of Starlink satellites, just before being deployed

It’s unclear what that will do to the space around Earth. Already, there’s concern that so many satellites will transform the night sky, making it difficult for astronomers to make detailed observations of the Universe when so many vehicles are whizzing overhead. But even more concerning is how all these satellites will add to an already congested region of space. Injecting thousands of satellites into orbit over the next few years may drastically increase the chances of things colliding. The end result could be that low Earth orbit becomes too crowded, and essentially unusable.

While this decade saw ambitions grow along with enormous progress within the commercial space sector, many things that had been promised didn’t pan out. Most notably, human spaceflight on commercial vehicles has yet to fully mature. Space tourism ventures Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic argued that customers could be flying this decade. That dream will have to wait until the 2020s. “Branson was saying we were going to start flying tourists in 2008,” says Billings. “And where are we now?” Meanwhile, SpaceX and Boeing have been developing new vehicles to carry humans to the International Space Station, under the new contracting model that NASA used to resupply the ISS. While the process may be less expensive than other contracting methods, the development has still been fraught with delays and setbacks — whether that be from stringent oversight, low budgets, or just plain engineering problems. The first crews were supposed to fly in 2017. Now they will likely fly for the first time in 2020. Creating new passenger spacecraft that keep people alive and safe still takes a lot of time, no matter what contracting method you use.

WHAT’S NEXT?

As the 2020s get underway, the commercial space industry will have a lot to prove, especially since many have their sights set much higher than low Earth orbit. Numerous private companies are aiming to send robotic landers to the Moon in the next few years, while SpaceX, Blue Origin, and more all vow to send people to the Moon someday. It’s unclear how long it will take them to get there, if they can make it at all. The first private company, an Israeli nonprofit, attempted to land on the Moon this year and didn’t stick the landing.IT’S UNCERTAIN IF THERE IS A SOLID MARKET FOR MORE AMBITIOUS FORMS OF SPACE TRAVEL

Ultimately, it’s uncertain if there is a solid market for more ambitious forms of space travel. Even the satellite market has softened in recent years, which may explain why SpaceX has tried to turn itself into a consumer-facing business through its satellite constellation. It needs money to stay afloat. The scary thought is: what if there’s not much more money to squeeze out of space? Experts have long been forecasting days where private space stations will dominate low Earth orbit, frequented by tourists on vacation or their honeymoons. Eventually, private companies hope to scour the Moon’s surface for water ice, which they could turn into drinking water or rocket fuel for lunar bases. It all sounds like a great future. “Commercializing the lunar stuff, honestly, is not going to happen as fast, because there isn’t a market for it anytime soon,” says Garver. “But anyone could have told you there was a market for launch outside of NASA.”

The next decade will show us if the commercial spaceflight industry can match the progress it’s seen these last 10 years. Maybe these companies will finally take us beyond Earth orbit, with people along for the ride. Or it may reveal that the market for space is staying close to home for the foreseeable future.  TOP ARTICLES1/5READ MOREJ.J. Abrams shows off Star Wars clip inside Fortnite, andnow lightsabers are in the gameSCIENCE

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DECEMBER 11, 2019

Heat energy leaps through empty space, thanks to quantum weirdness

by Kara Manke, University of California – Berkeley

Heat energy leaps through empty space, thanks to quantum weirdness
In a new study, University of California, Berkeley, researchers show that heat energy can travel through a complete vacuum thanks to invisible quantum fluctuations. In the experiment, the team placed two gold-coated silicon nitride membranes a few hundred nanometers apart inside a vacuum chamber. When they heated up one of the membranes, the other warmed up, too, even though there was nothing connecting the two membranes and negligible light energy passing between them. Credit: Zhang Lab, UC Berkeley

If you use a vacuum-insulated thermos to help keep your coffee hot, you may know it’s a good insulator because heat energy has a hard time moving through empty space. Vibrations of atoms or molecules, which carry thermal energy, simply can’t travel if there are no atoms or molecules around.

But a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, shows how the weirdness of quantum mechanics can turn even this basic tenet of classical physics on its head.

The study, appearing this week in the journal Nature, shows that heat energy can leap across a few hundred nanometers of a complete vacuum, thanks to a quantum mechanical phenomenon called the Casimir interaction.

Though this interaction is only significant on very short length scales, it could have profound implications for the design of computer chips and other nanoscale electronic components where heat dissipation is key. It also upends what many of us learned about heat transfer in high school physics.

“Heat is usually conducted in a solid through the vibrations of atoms or molecules, or so-called phonons—but in a vacuum, there is no physical medium. So, for many years, textbooks told us that phonons cannot travel through a vacuum,” said Xiang Zhang, the professor of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley who guided the study. “What we discovered, surprisingly, is that phonons can indeed be transferred across a vacuum by invisible quantum fluctuations.”

Heat energy leaps through empty space, thanks to quantum weirdness
In a new study, University of California, Berkeley, researchers show that heat energy can travel through a complete vacuum thanks to invisible quantum fluctuations. To conduct the challenging experiment, the team engineered extremely thin silicon nitride membranes, which they fabricated in a dust-free clean room, and then used optic and electronic components to precisely control and monitor the temperature of the membranes when they were locked inside a vacuum chamber. Credit: Violet Carter, UC Berkeley

In the experiment, Zhang’s team placed two gold-coated silicon nitride membranes a few hundred nanometers apart inside a vacuum chamber. When they heated up one of the membranes, the other warmed up, too—even though there was nothing connecting the two membranes and negligible light energy passing between them.

“This discovery of a new mechanism of heat transfer opens up unprecedented opportunities for thermal management at the nanoscale, which is important for high-speed computation and data storage,” said Hao-Kun Li, a former Ph.D. student in Zhang’s group and co-first author of the study. “Now, we can engineer the quantum vacuum to extract heat in integrated circuits.”

No such thing as empty space

The seemingly impossible feat of moving molecular vibrations across a vacuum can be accomplished because, according to quantum mechanics, there is no such thing as truly empty space, said King Yan Fong, a postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley and the study’s other first author.

“Even if you have empty space—no matter, no light—quantum mechanics says it cannot be truly empty. There are still some quantum field fluctuations in a vacuum,” Fong said. “These fluctuations give rise to a force that connects two objects, which is called the Casimir interaction. So, when one object heats up and starts shaking and oscillating, that motion can actually be transmitted to the other object across the vacuum because of these quantum fluctuations.”

Heat energy leaps through empty space, thanks to quantum weirdness
In a surprising new study, University of California, Berkeley, researchers show that heat energy can travel through a complete vacuum thanks to invisible quantum fluctuations. Credit: Violet Carter, UC Berkeley

Though theorists have long speculated that the Casimir interaction could help molecular vibrations travel through empty space, proving it experimentally has been a major challenge. To do so, the team engineered extremely thin silicon nitride membranes, which they fabricated in a dust-free clean room, and then devised a way to precisely control and monitor their temperature.

They found that, by carefully selecting the size and design of the membranes, they could transfer the heat energy over a few hundred nanometers of vacuum. This distance was far enough that other possible modes of heat transfer were negligible—such as energy carried by electromagnetic radiation, which is how energy from the sun heats up Earth.

Because molecular vibrations are also the basis of the sounds that we hear, this discovery hints that sounds can also travel through a vacuum, Zhang said.

“Twenty-five years ago, during my Ph.D. qualifying exam at Berkeley, one professor asked me ‘Why can you hear my voice across this table?’ I answered that, ‘It is because your sound travels by vibrating molecules in the air.’ He further asked, ‘What if we suck all air molecules out of this room? Can you still hear me?’ I said, ‘No, because there is no medium to vibrate,'” Zhang said. “Today, what we discovered is a surprising new mode of heat conduction across a vacuum without a medium, which is achieved by the intriguing quantum vacuum fluctuations. So, I was wrong in my 1994 exam. Now, you can shout through a vacuum.”


Explore furtherFluc­tu­a­tions in the void


More information: Phonon heat transfer across a vacuum through quantum fluctuations, Nature (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1800-4 , https://nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1800-4Journal information:NatureProvided by University of California – Berkeley4577 shares

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Quantum computer sets new record for finding prime number factors

PHYSICS 13 December 2019

By Leah Crane

Prime numbers
All numbers can be broken down into their prime factors

Quantum computers could one day threaten the safety of the internet by breaking encryption – and now they are a step closer.

A quantum computing start-up company called Zapata has worked with IBM to develop a new way to factor large numbers, using it on the largest number that has been factored with a quantum computer so far. The team found that 1,099,551,473,989 is equal to 1,048,589 multiplied by 1,048,601.

The future success of the algorithm used could have big implications …

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Statue to be erected in Ramelton to honour Nobel Laureate, Professor William C Campbell

Plans to coincide with Nobel winner’s 90th birthday next year

Statue to be erected in Ramelton to honour Nobel Laureate, Professor William C Campbell

Minister McHugh meeting Jean and Brian Winston, Anne Campbell and RCSI’s Professor Cathal Kelly in Dublin

Staff Reporter

18:09:11 15 Dec 2019

Plans to honour Nobel Laureate, Professor William C Campbell with a statue in Ramelton have been revealed by Minister Joe McHugh. 
 
The bronze statue is being designed with the aim of being erected in Ramelton, where he was born, in time for his 90th birthday next June.

Professor William C Campbell

The plan for professor Campbell’s birthday is being developed under the Bill Campbell Legacy Project spearheaded by the Ramelton Town Hall Development Company.  The plan has the backing of leading academic institutions, including the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI), Letterkenny IT and other universities, Donegal County Council and businesses.

Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh said: “For people who aren’t familiar with Professor Campbell, his life’s work is a truly remarkable story. We are talking about one of the most inspirational people on the planet. He has arguably done more for humanity than any other Irish person.

“When we think of the Irish diaspora, and the mark that our country has left around the world, Professor Campbell is up there with the best of them. His childhood on the farm in Ramelton, his education and passion for science and his commitment to research, led to hundreds of millions of people being saved from the horrific disease that is River Blindness,” he said.

Minister McHugh added: “I was delighted to row in behind the Ramelton committee, led by Jean Winston, and their idea for a statue and then to facilitate work to galvanise backing for the plan. That has led to great support from Professor Cathal Kelly, head of RCSI, as well as Professor Campbell’s sister-in-law Ann, who lives in Ramelton, and many others.

“A meeting in the Dublin earlier this month with Jean and Brian Winston, Anne, Cathal really set the wheels in motion. The idea builds on the scholarship I developed in Bill Campbell’s name after being appointed Minister for Education and Skills. The first person awarded with the bursary is Syrian refugee Suaad Alshleh, for her medical studies in RCSI.

“I want to do more to honour the professor. I have worked with the Ramelton group for some time, and now we are at the stage where a sculptor is preparing for the statue to coincide with the Professor’s birthday next year. It is great news.”

Minister McHugh will confirm further details on the project in coming weeks.

About Bill Campbell

Born in Ramelton in 1930, Bill Campbell was educated in Campbell College, Belfast and Trinity College, Dublin where he studied Zoology. His passion for science was said to have been sparked by a fascination with worms on his family farm in Donegal.

He went on to the University of Wisconsin on a Fulbright Scholarship, earning his PhD degree in 1957 for work on the liver fluke, a parasite affecting sheep, cattle and also human populations.

From 1957 to 1990 Professor Campbell worked at Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research, specialising mostly in parasitic diseases, including on the development of the drug ivermectin for the control of parasitic infections in veterinary medicine. 

He had the vision to realise that it could control parasitic disease in humans. It was ground-breaking. Merck began successful trials in 1981 on River Blindness in Senegal and France. The research had created a new class of drugs for the treatment of parasites.

With the unwavering support of Professor Campbell and his colleagues, Merck and the World Health Organization created an unprecedented drug donation programme, providing Mectizan to developing countries and in doing so eradicated River Blindness in parts of the world. It went on to be used to treat millions of people in 33 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. 

As of 2013, the Carter Center independently verified that the disease had been eradicated in Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.

In 2015, Professor Campbell and his co-discoverer, Professor Satoshi Ōmura, shared the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their research on therapies against infections caused by roundworm parasites.

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  • Li-Huei Tsai, left, is the Picower Professor of Neuroscience and director of The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and Christopher Schuh, is department head and the Danae and Vasilis Salapatas Professor of Metallurgy in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.Photos courtesy of the Picower Institute and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering
  • Li-Huei Tsai, left, is the Picower Professor of Neuroscience and director of The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and Christopher Schuh, is department head and the Danae and Vasilis Salapatas Professor of Metallurgy in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.Photos courtesy of the Picower Institute and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering
  • Li-Huei Tsai, left, is the Picower Professor of Neuroscience and director of The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and Christopher Schuh, is department head and the Danae and Vasilis Salapatas Professor of Metallurgy in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.Photos courtesy of the Picower Institute and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Two MIT professors named 2019 fellows of the National Academy of Inventors

Li-Huei Tsai and Christopher Schuh recognized for research innovations addressing Alzheimer’s disease and metal mechanics.

David Orenstein | Picower Institute
December 3, 2019Press Inquiries

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The National Academy of Inventors has selected two MIT faculty members, neuroscientist Li-Huei Tsai and materials scientist Christopher Schuh, as members of its 2019 class of new fellows.

NAI fellows “have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development and welfare of society,” the organization stated in its announcement.

Schuh is the department head and the Danae and Vasilis Salapatas Professor of Metallurgy in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. His research is focused on structural metallurgy and seeks to control disorder in metallic microstructures for the purpose of optimizing mechanical properties; much of his work is on the design and control of grain boundary structure and chemistry.

Schuh has published dozens of patents and co-founded a number of metallurgical companies. His first MIT spinout company, Xtalic Corporation, commercialized a process from his MIT laboratory to produce stable nanocrystalline coatings, which have now been deployed in over 10 billion individual components in use worldwide. Schuh’s startup Desktop Metal is a metal additive manufacturing company developing 3D metal printers that are sufficiently simpler and lower-cost than current options to enable broad use across many industries. Recently, Schuh co-founded Veloxint Corporation, which is commercializing machine components made from custom stable nanocrystalline alloys designed in his MIT laboratory.

Tsai, the Picower Professor of Neuroscience and director of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, focuses on neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Her work has generated a dozen patents, many of which have been licensed by biomedical companies including two startups, Cognito Therapeutics and Souvien Bio Ltd., that have spun out from her and collaborator’s labs.

Her team’s innovations include inhibiting an enzyme that affects the chromatin structure of DNA to rescue gene expression and restore learning and memory, and using light and sound stimulation to enhance the power and synchrony of 40-hertz gamma rhythms in the brain to reduce Alzheimer’s pathology, prevent neuron death, and preserve learning and memory. Each of these promising sets of findings in mice are now being tested in human trials.

Tsai and Schuh join 21 colleagues from MIT who have previously been elected NAI fellows.


Topics:DMSEPicower InstituteSchool of EngineeringSchool of ScienceAwards, honors and fellowshipsFacultyBrain and cognitive sciencesInnovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E)Alzheimer’sNeuroscienceMaterials Science and Engineering

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How to integrate AI into the cardiac imaging pipelineAnicka Slachta | December 05, 2019 | Cardiovascular Imaging

Artificial intelligence may be perceived as a threat to some physicians, but, according to research presented at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting in Chicago, it could have some real use for cardiologists.

Albert Hsiao, MD, PhD, a radiologist and professor at the University of California, San Diego, said that when the “new wave” of artificial intelligence hit the medical field a few years ago, it came with an onslaught of articles about how robots were going to take over his job. The idea of technology displacing radiologists has been a major point of contention in the field—and it remains an active debate—but, like many, Hsiao is embracing AI as a means to enhance his work, not replace it.

“You’ll see AI applications across the whole spectrum, from imaging acquisition on CT and MR to image reconstruction, applications in the data center…and analysis of any kind of image,” he said, noting AI is also being leveraged to simplify interactive image analysis and radiology reporting.

Hsiao said he sees the greatest potential for AI in the places where researchers are spending a lot of time, but not a lot of money. He cited cardiac MRI as an example, since hospitals spend up to two years training technicians who will likely leave to do something else in another couple of years. Trainees also need continuous supervision and feedback, he said—supervision that AI wouldn’t need.

Hsiao said cardiac MRI itself, a complex, multiplanar exam, is also “ripe for innovation.” Double oblique imaging planes, myocardial inversion time and phase-contrast for flow are all areas he said could be optimized with new technology. At his own UCSD lab, he and his colleagues have developed a strategy for automated acquisition of MRI using deep learning for serial prescription of imaging planes.

The team’s model reportedly prescribes planes from axial images to long axis images, recognizing landmarks along the way to prescribe each subsequent set of images. Hsiao said that by “stitching all that together, you can get a full exam of all the imaging planes.”

The researchers tested the analytical validity of their AI by collecting data on the accuracy of localization. They looked at the location of inference of their deep neural network and the location of the ground truth where radiologists might place a landmark for the apex, and calculated that distance over a series of multiple images. To train and test the model, they would take around 500 cases, use 80% to train the AI and use the other 20% to test it.

“You can arbitrarily select a different 80% and a different 20% for multiple folds of cross-validation,” Hsiao said. “If you do that, you can prove a particular architecture of neural network is sufficient to perform a particular task. That it wasn’t dependent on which 80% you chose for your training data.”

He said his team employed the same approach for a more complex problem, taking a stack of short axis images and marking valves to plan two-, three- and four-chamber images. To do that, they created a series of cascaded neural networks, each of which was responsible for a different problem. Those models could be cross-validated, too.

Hsiao said physicians can expect “a little bit of generalization” from neural networks, meaning they’ll work okay on data that they’ve never seen, but they’re not going to produce perfect results the first time around. If a model was trained on 3T MRI data, for example, and someone inputs 1.5T MRI data, it might not be able to analyze that information comprehensively. If some 1.5T data were fed into the model’s training algorithm, though, that could change.

According to Hsiao, all of this knowledge means little without clinical validation. He said he and his colleagues are working to integrate algorithms into the clinical environment such that a radiologist could hit a button and AI could auto-prescribe a set of images. Even better, he said, would be the ability to open up a series and have it auto-prescribe itself.

“That’s where we’re moving next, so you don’t have to hit any buttons at all,” he said.

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FDA testing metformin for carcinogensAnicka Slachta | December 05, 2019 | Lipids & Metabolic

The FDA is testing metformin, a popular drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, for carcinogenic impurities.

Bloomberg was the first to report the news, writing on Dec. 4 that the federal agency, alongside other health regulators around the world, is testing the medication for the probable human carcinogen N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). It’s the latest in a long list of CV drugs that have been thrust under the microscope in the past year, including three popular blood pressure medications.

Zantac, an over-the-counter histamine-2 blocker that’s prescribed to relieve heartburn and acid reflux, and its generic counterparts were also recently pulled from pharmacy shelves after a federal investigation revealed unsafe levels of NDMA in the drugs.

“The agency is in the beginning stages of testing metformin,” an FDA spokesperson told Bloomberg. “However, the agency has not confirmed if NDMA in metformin is above the acceptable daily intake limit of 96 nanograms in the U.S.”

Bloomberg also reported that another major group, the European Medicines Agency, is urging companies to test for high levels of NDMA in metformin. In Singapore, officials have recalled three of 46 locally marketed metformin medicines, citing nitrosamine impurities.

In a statement to Axios, though, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the news isn’t all bad.

“There’s likely to be more reports of regulatory efforts to look for these risks, and perhaps additional findings,” he said. “Because we’re now more focused on mitigating these theoretical risks. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Our expectation of safety and our ability to control for it has increased.”

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CRISPR start-ups turn attention toward delivery

Feldan Therapeutics, GenEdit, and Hunterian Medicine are tinkering with molecular packaging to help get the gene-editing system into the body

by Ryan Cross
DECEMBER 12, 2018
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20181212lnp2-crisprgold.jpg

Credit: University of Texas Health Science Center at San AntonioKunwoo Lee and colleagues at UC Berkeley teamed up with researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio to test their CRISPR-Gold system to deliver the gene-editing tool into the brain. In this conceptual illustration, the dark circle represents the gold core, the blue swirls represent the DNA and CRISPR, and the white lines represent the polymer encapsulation.

CRISPR has had a wild year. The gene-editing tool has been the subject of increasing scrutiny as the first clinical trial using it to treat a genetic disease begins. Scientific controversies about the safety and accuracy of CRISPR gene editing have leapt from the pages of academic journals into the news headlines. And in the biggest bombshell of all, last month a Chinese scientist claimed to create the first two CRISPR-edited embryos born as babies.

With all the drama, it’s easy to overlook a detail that could make or break the gene editor’s future as a therapy: the delivery challenge.

Editing a person’s DNA to treat disease requires moving CRISPR’s two components—a large Cas9 enzyme that cuts DNA and a strand of guide RNA that directs the cutting—across cell membranes. Neither component can easily slip into cells like many small-molecule drugs do. Getting CRISPR into cells of a particular organ while avoiding other organs can pose an even bigger challenge.

“Delivery is really the major barrier,” says Vinod Jaskula-Ranga, CEO of Hunterian Medicine. “In my mind, that’s the thing that keeps CRISPR from flourishing.”

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That’s why Hunterian and a handful of other start-ups are positioning themselves as CRISPR delivery specialists rather than CRISPR therapy firms.

Hunterian, which is developing a new, virus-based approach to CRISPR delivery, says it has raised $2.7 million in seed financing. It has plans for a bigger series A round next year.

Last month, Feldan Therapeutics announced raising $13.8 million in series A financing to develop a peptide system to get CRISPR and other protein-based therapies into cells. And on Dec. 11, GenEdit announced raising $8.5 million in seed financing for its polymer nanoparticle approach to CRISPR delivery.

Right now, CRISPR therapy firms are repurposing old techniques and delivery vehicles to get the gene editor into cells—and it’s easier for some diseases than others. For instance, Crispr Therapeutics is launching clinical trials for sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia. It removes blood stem cells from the body and sends them to a lab where scientists zap them with an electric shock to loosen their membranes. That technique, called electroporation, allows CRISPR to slip in and do its editing.

To treat diseases affecting parts of the body that can’t be removed and zapped in a dish, scientists must wrap CRISPR in a package to make it palatable to cells. This in vivo gene editing is much trickier. Intellia Therapeutics is using lipid nanoparticles to get CRISPR into the liver, and Editas Medicine is using adeno-associated viruses to get CRISPR into the eye.

But in these approaches, Editas and Intellia aren’t delivering the actual Cas9 protein of CRISPR. The viral method delivers DNA instructions for making Cas9, and the lipid nanoparticle strategy delivers messenger RNA instructions for making Cas9. That creates a potential problem, because cells will use instructions to continue generating CRISPR after the edits have been made—a scenario that increases the chance of CRISPR making a mistake and introducing a mutation in the DNA.

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Feldan, GenEdit, and Hunterian are all crafting systems to improve upon these existing approaches to delivery.

Feldan was founded in 2007 to develop molecules called Feldan shuttles that can nonpermanently coat protein therapies to help them cross cell membranes—something that proteins can’t do on their own. Recently, the company garnered attention and money for using the shuttles to get CRISPR into cells without electroporation. Since electroporation can damage some cells, and other cells appear to resist it altogether, the strategy could provide a promising alternative for CRISPR delivery.

The Feldan shuttle is inspired by an old trick: fuse a positively charged, naturally-occurring molecule called a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) to proteins to help them cross cell membranes. But so far, CPPs haven’t proven very useful for drug delivery because they tend to get trapped in lipid membrane structures called endosomes as they enter cells. If the CPP-protein pair can’t escape the endosome and enter the cytosol—the cell’s main compartment—the scheme is useless.

During Feldan’s long incubation, CEO Francois-Thomas Michaud developed a solution to the problem. Michaud and his team showed that when a peptide known to destabilize endosome membranes was attached to the CPP, the resulting fusion of peptides—the Feldan shuttle—could help proteins bust out of the endosome.

“It’s way more efficient than the two natural peptides alone,” Michaud says. “It’s a completely new and unnatural peptide.”

In a paper published in April, Feldan showed that creating nonpermanent, or noncovalent, mixtures of the Feldan shuttle and CRISPR helped get the gene-editing complex into the cytosol of several kinds of cells (PLOS One 2018, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0195558). Michaud says the technique is also working well as an injection for in vivo gene editing in mice.

So far, the response to Feldan’s work has been mostly positive. “They have provided a massive and convincing set of data,” says Javier Montenegro, a chemist developing CRISPR delivery methods at the University of Santiago de Compostela. Using the Feldan shuttle to escape the endosome “could represent a huge step ahead for protein-based therapies,” he adds.

Ross Wilson, a CRISPR scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, also applauds Feldan’s alternative to electroporation. But since the Feldan shuttles are not covalently attached to CRISPR, it’s unclear how well the pair will stay together when injected into the body, especially the bloodstream, Wilson says. “It will be interesting to see what new applications can be improved or conceived thanks to this technology.”

Feldan’s first tests in humans won’t involve CRISPR, Michaud says. Instead, the firm plans to test the ability of the shuttle to deliver therapeutic proteins for diseases of the skin and eye. CRISPR programs will come later, but Feldan is already off to a start with a $2 million National Institutes of Health grant it is sharing with the University of Iowa to develop CRISPR therapies that can treat respiratory diseases like cystic fibrosis or asthma. Michaud also says the company is in discussions with potential drug industry partners.

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Feldan’s approach has the advantage of delivering the ready-to-edit Cas9 protein without the potential for CRISPR to linger in cells for too long as it does in the viral delivery approach. GenEdit is also working on a different way to directly deliver CRISPR: wrap it in polymer nanoparticles.

GenEdit was cofounded by UC Berkeley professor Niren Murthy and former graduate students Kunwoo Lee and Hyo Min Park. At Berkeley, the trio created a delivery system called CRISPR-Gold that uses a gold nanoparticle core to help get CRISPR into cells.

Murthy’s team collaborated with the lab of Jennifer Doudna, one of CRISPR’s inventors, to test CRISPR-Gold in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, showing that the system could fix genetic mutations in muscle cells (Nat. Biomed. Eng. 2017, DOI: 10.1038/s41551-017-0137-2). In a separate project, Murthy’s group demonstrated that CRISPR-Gold could even be used to treat genetic diseases of the brain in mice (Nat. Biomed. Eng. 2018, DOI: 10.1038/s41551-018-0252-8)

Lee says he was shocked at how well the teams were able to get CRISPR to work in the muscle and brain. But since gold nanoparticles carry the risk of potentially damaging DNA, Lee says GenEdit doesn’t have any plans to test CRISPR-Gold in humans.

“It’s really the first great demonstration that polymer nanoparticles can deliver Cas9, and it works beautifully,” he says. GenEdit is now focused on designing peptidelike polymers to make nanoparticles that can deliver CRISPR without the potentially toxic gold core.

“We’ve made huge progress in building a polymer library,” Lee says. The company’s scientists screen it to find low-toxicity formulas specific for delivery to tissues like the brain, liver, and muscle.

Perhaps the most tried-and-true method for getting CRISPR into the body is to encode instructions for making the Cas9 protein and guide RNA in an adeno-associated virus (AAV). But this approach, borrowed from gene therapy, comes with the complication of getting the large genetic instructions for CRISPR to fit inside the constrained size of the AAV shells, called capsids.

In fact, the genetic code for one of the most commonly used versions of Cas9 is so big that there’s no room left for the guide RNA in the same capsid. It’s the molecular equivalent of packing a suitcase so full that it won’t close.

Some scientists are using two AAVs to get the Cas9 and guide RNA of CRISPR into cells, but this reduces the rate of successful editing. Jaskula-Ranga founded Hunterian based on technology he developed at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine that allows instructions for Cas9 and guide RNA to fit into the same capsid.

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Jaskula-Ranga hopes that putting Cas9 and the guide RNA in the same AAV will make CRISPR therapies more efficient and also less toxic. Viral capsids have a history of eliciting immune reactions when given at high levels, so companies are looking to reducing the number of AAVs needed for a successful treatment whenever possible.Delivery is really the major barrier. In my mind, that’s the thing that keeps CRISPR from flourishing.”Vinod Jaskula-Ranga, CEO, Hunterian Medicine

AAVs are the oldest, most proven delivery shuttles, but the drawback of longevity remains. Since AAVs deliver the DNA instructions for making CRISPR, the gene editing system could theoretically remain in cells forever. “The best thing that we have right now are the viral vectors, and it’s just terrible,” UC Berkeley’s Wilson says.

Even though the sums that Feldan, GenEdit, and Hunterian have raised from investors so far aren’t particularly noteworthy by biotech standards, the problems they are trying to solve could be crucial to CRISPR’s success as a therapy. Similar delivery challenges have stymied other promising treatments until scientists discovered how to properly package the therapies for shipping in the body.

Alnylam, a company that develops RNA interference therapies, was founded in 2002 and didn’t earn its first drug approval until this fall. Its initial programs were vexed by ineffective and toxic delivery formulations. It was the drug-delivery designers who carried the company through its dark days and to success by finally crafting lipid nanoparticle formulations that safely and effectively get its RNA drugs into the liver.

“We know the history,” GenEdit’s Lee says. “That is the reason we started this company.”Chemical & Engineering NewsISSN 0009-2347Copyright © 2019 American Chemical Society

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