Here is your weekly roundup of Science news from all around the world, and even from outer space!
And as always, you can check out some cutting edge scientific discovery from JoVE’s peer reviewed, PubMed indexed video methods journal.
With so many great video-articles coming out in JoVE each week, it’s hard to make sure you catch all of the interesting science. This week, two of our most innovative articles come from MIT and The Scripps Research Institute. Check them out:
3D Printing from a Digital Projector?
In an article published on November 27, mechanical engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology demonstrate how to make a 3D printer from a commercially available digital projector. Using a few external mirrors and lenses, the engineers project each layer of the structure they are fabricating into a pool of photosensitive resin, which polymerizes into the desired shape. The process is known as projection micro-stereolithography, and is being used to study buckling mechanisms commonly found in nature.
The full title of the article is “Micro 3D Printing Using a Digital Projector and its Application in the Study of Soft Materials Mechanics” and can be found here.
Life from stem cells?
Stem cells have been in the news lately, particularly as The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for their work in stem cells. These Nobel Prize Winners discovered techniques to produce induced pluripotent stem cells from adult cells. This is a significant breakthrough for researchers as stem cells are hard to study in adults or come from embryos, where collection of stem cells have political and ethical implications. In this JoVE article, researchers at The Scripps Research Institute demonstrate how to produce mice from induced pluripotent stem cells, a valuable demonstration of the viability of stem cells to grow into any necessary tissue.
The article, titled “Generation of Mice from Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells,” will be published on November 29, 2012 and can be found here.
Want to check out more JoVE articles? Get a free trial to Journal of Visualized Experiments!
Today, JoVE, Journal of Visualized Experiments starts the first of a four-day showcase at Society for Neuroscience. Come visit us at booth 143 to get a one month-free trial to JoVE and enter to win a free iPad. Our top-notch team will be available to answer any questions you have about video publication and demonstrate the product.
Follow us on twitter @JoVEJournal for a second chance to win an iPad!
Our editors will also be walking around the conference all day, visiting posters. This is a great opportunity for a one on one conversation about the journal.
Interested in video publication but not convinced? Watch this video to see how publishing in JoVE has changed our authors expectations of a scientific journal.
It comes as no surprise that computer software is widely used in scientific experimentation. The power of analysis afforded by computation has revolutionized and accelerated scientific progress to a truly astounding extent over the past 30 years (and even more so in the last 10). While technology pervades most every aspect of our lives, including how we cook, exercise, and relate to others via social media, the changes effected by software and computing power in the sciences (and industrial research and development) for the advancement of scientific endeavors, technological innovation and economic growth are most valuable for humanity, and should be the most well published.
Perhaps it’s just me, but these things may go without saying. More interesting than these broad statements is an understanding of specific ways that software and other computer based technologies are being used in experimentation, scientific visualization and sharing of ideas. This is an ever-expanding quest, as technologic advancement and the semantic web are progressing at a blistering pace. However, to begin to understand one small aspect of how software is used in the sciences, I turned to a JoVE search.
Since it was founded in October of 2006, The Journal of Visualized Experiments, JoVE, has spearheaded a new frontier in peer-reviewed scientific publishing by producing methods papers as methods videos. Our CEO, Moshe Pritsker, founded JoVE with two goals in mind: increase transparency and reproducibility of biological experiments, and streamline the time-intensive process of learning new experimental techniques. With the help of Aaron Kolski-Andreaco, Director of Content, and others JoVE has expanded to a monthly publication with nearly 1700 video articles published and counting.
Today (April 17, 2012 for those of you in the future) JoVE re-launches its website with a brand new design. In the words of Cory Goodale, Chief Technology Officer, “JoVE is excited to bring a new face to our innovative video protocols. We believe these features will make JoVE even more useful for our authors and subscribers.” The new site features:
- A larger video player bringing our articles to more video players on a wider variety of computers and mobile devices.
- Larger previews on the homepage allowing scientists to easier find the articles that will most help them.
- A clear and accessible navigation pane providing a clear, organized platform of our article’s data like PDF’s, and electronic citations.
- Video recommendations to guide scientists to other procedures that may be relevant to their labs.
JoVE is excited about the new site and proud of the fruit of our hard working IT team’s labor:
Cory Goodale, Director of Information Technology
Chris Macdonald, Deputy Director of Information Technology
Chuck McCallum, Software Engineer
Andres Alfonso, Graphic Design and Web Design
Jack Payette, Assistant Developer
Approximately 71,500 women in the United States are diagnosed with gynecological cancer every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Researchers from University Hospitals Case Medical Center have developed a more effective way to treat gynecological cancers, shortening radiation treatment time from five weeks to three days.
The new method, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) has been used on other types of cancer, but Case Medical Center is the first treatment facility to apply it to gynecological cancers. Dr. Charles Kunos, who co-authored the article, said the radiation therapy machine “looks like a robot you would make cars with, and targets specific cancer cells.”
Unlike traditional radiation therapy, SBRT uses focused radiation beams and targets well-defined tumors. In order to focus in on the region, the tumors need to be imaged and marked (using fiduciary markers) in advance. During treatment with the Cyberknife system (from Accuray), patients need to be immobilized, and even the patient’s breathing needs to be taken into account.
The highly specific nature of the procedure not only shortens treatment time, it limits the effect of the radiation on healthy tissues.
“SBRT holds great promise for treating persistent or recurrent gynecological cancers,” said JoVE Science Editor, Dr. Nandita Singh. “SBRT can deliver radiation with high precision and is particularly effective in delivering reduced radiation to cancer targets that are refractory to chemotherapy and conventional radiation.”
Dr. Kunos said he is very pleased with his article, and felt that it was critical to high-quality video of the protocol for people to see when he and his team launch a nationwide clinical trial. To learn more about how a video in JoVE Medicine can help you, please click here.
Up to 30 percent of the world’s population is infected with Tuberculosis (TB), but in many areas of the world, TB diagnosis still relies on insensitive, poorly standardized, and time-consuming methods. A new diagnostic tool, endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), may change that. Dr. Thomas Bodmer from the University of Bern, Switzerland, shows how it’s done in the April issue of JoVE.
Currently, TB is diagnosed through either a skin test, which produces a small bump on the patient’s arm when administered and needs to be checked after 72 hours, and through smear microscopy, a method that was developed over a century ago. The new test is fully automated and takes about an hour and a half to give results. It is also able to determine if the patient is infected with a multidrug-resistant strain of the bacteria.
“The Xpert MTB/RIF assay is intended for use with specimens from patients for whom there is suspicion of pulmonary tuberculosis and who fulfill the criteria outlined in the accompanied text,” said Dr. Bodmer, who co-authored the article.
WHO endorsed the test in 2010, and is working to roll it out across tuberculosis-affected countries. An important aspect of this is training people to use the device, and the JoVE video-article will help with standardization.
“TB is one of the most deadly infectious diseases worldwide and accurate and rapid diagnosis is essential for timely and proper treatment. This test is expected to dramatically improve the diagnosis of TB,” said JoVE Science Editor, Dr. Charlotte Frank Sage. “Publication of the protocol in JoVE allows researchers around the world to see a detailed demonstration of this diagnostic tool and will aid in establishing this technology in their laboratories and clinics.”
To see the full video-article, please click here.
Researchers are increasingly aware that fat in some parts of the body is more harmful than fat in other places. To help determine how obesity works, scientists turn to animal models and now, they are able to visualize how much fat their lab rats are carrying and where it is stored.
“One of the key benefits of this technique versus existing methods, like ex vivo analysis, is that this technique allows for non-invasive and longitudinal assessment of fat in small animal disease models,” said paper-author Dr. Todd Sasser.
Traditionally, researchers have had to use either invasive techniques, which provide more insight into where fat is being stored specifically but result in the death of the mouse, or less specific, non-invasive imaging techniques. Here, they use dedicated small animal X-ray computed tomography (CT) and customized analytics to see how the fat is distributed inside the animal.
The process is highly visual, resulting in three-dimensional images of the fat within the mouse, which is why the researchers chose to publish their method in JoVE, the only peer reviewed, PubMed-indexed science journal to publish all of its content in both text and video format.
“Generally, individuals new to this method will struggle, because the segmentation and visualization protocol includes several steps that must be completed in succession,” said co-author Sarah Chapman, from the University of Notre Dame.
To see the full video-article, please click here.
This month, JoVE heads to Antarctica to study the protists that live in a permanently ice-covered lake. What is it like to do research in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet? Tune in to find out!