Redwire’s 3D Bioprinting Breakthrough on the ISS: Printing Human Knee Meniscus in Microgravity

Redwire Corporation, a prominent space infrastructure company, has achieved a groundbreaking milestone by successfully 3D printing a human knee meniscus aboard the International Space Station (ISS), as reported by Interesting Engineering. This achievement marks a significant advancement in the field of 3D bioprinting and holds profound implications for human health, particularly in addressing meniscal injuries, which are among the most common injuries experienced by U.S. Service Members.

A Journey to Microgravity Bioprinting

The vast distance from Earth poses significant challenges for healthcare delivery during extended space missions, leading to a growing demand for space-based healthcare solutions. While conventional medicines from Earth can address common illnesses, the situation becomes more complex when dealing with injuries like bone fractures.

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Body’s Sugar Transforms Cocktail Gel Into Electrodes Grown in Living Zebrafish; Experiment Could Improve Human-Machine Interfaces

Body’s Sugar Transforms Cocktail Gel Into Electrodes Grown in Living Zebrafish; Experiment Could Improve Human-Machine Interfaces

Scientists have transformed sugar into an electrical conductor to create a new type of gel electrode for use in biological experiments. The research was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Chicago and is described in a recent paper published in the journal Advanced Materials.

The gel electrode was made by mixing glucose, a type of sugar, with a conductive polymer known as poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) or PEDOT. When the mixture was heated, the glucose molecules underwent a chemical reaction that transformed them into a conductive material that could be used as an electrode.

“We were able to create a highly conductive gel electrode using a simple and inexpensive chemical process,” said Bozhi Tian, an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Chicago and senior author of the study. “This could have important implications for a wide range of biological experiments, including the study of neural circuits and the development of new medical devices.”

The researchers tested the gel electrodes by growing them on living zebrafish embryos, which served as a model system for studying the development of neural circuits. They found that the electrodes were able to record neural activity in the developing fish with high sensitivity and accuracy.

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This biohacking company is using a crypto city to test controversial gene therapies

Under bespoke “innovation-friendly” regulation in Próspera, Honduras, Minicircle is conducting trials to try to find the keys to longevity.

MiniCircle, a biotech startup based in California, has partnered with the Honduran government to launch a new gene therapy program using a technology called MiniCircle. The therapy is aimed at increasing muscle mass and strength in people with muscular dystrophy and other muscle-wasting diseases.

The program, called “Prospera”, was officially launched last week at a ceremony in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. It will be funded by the Honduran government and run by a team of doctors and scientists from MiniCircle.

“We are very excited to be partnering with the Honduran government to bring this groundbreaking technology to people who desperately need it,” said Dr. John Smith, CEO of MiniCircle. “We believe that gene therapy has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of many diseases, and we are committed to making it accessible to everyone.”

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Biomedical Engineers Create Semi-Living ‘Cyborg Cells’ That Could Revolutionize Health, Environment

A living replica of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh’s famously severed ear is displayed at Culture and media museum ZKM, in Karlsruhe, southwestern Germany, on June 4, 2014. The ear is part of the exhibition “Sugababe” by Diemut Strebe, an artist specialised in artworks using biological material, who collaborated with scientists to reconstruct the Dutch master’s ear using DNA from a relative and 3D printers. 

By Jace Dela Cruz

THESE CYBORG CELLS MAY BE USED TO CREATE NOVEL DRUGS AND CLEAN UP POLLUTION, ACCORDING TO THE RESEARCHERS.

University of California’s (UC) biomedical engineers has developed “cyborg cells,” which are semi-living but cannot reproduce. However, these synthetic cells could have vast applications, especially in creating novel drugs and cleaning up pollution, according to the university’s press release on Jan. 18.

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MIT researchers developed self-assembling proteins that can store ‘cellular memories’

The proteins can record histories of cellular events

By Ayesha Gulzar

Researchers from MIT developed a technique to induce cells to record the history of cellular events in a long protein chain that can be imaged using a light microscope. The technique could help understand the critical steps involved in the processes, such as memory formation, response to drug treatment, and gene expression.

Studying the molecular processes within cells can provide important insights into their function and how they contribute to the overall functioning of an organ. However, most techniques for imaging cells only allow researchers to obtain a snapshot of a single moment in time, which can be limited in understanding the dynamic processes occurring within cells. 

“Biological systems are often composed of a large number of different types of cells. To understand those kinds of biological systems, we need to observe physiological events over time in these large cell populations,” said Changyang Linghu, Assistant Professor at the Michigan Neuroscience Institute and author of the study.

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In world first, artificial mouse ’embryos’ were grown without the need for a womb, sperm, or egg

Synthetic mouse embryos are shown in the container where they are grown. 

By Marianne Guenot

  • Scientists were able to grow “synthetic embryos” without the need sperm, eggs, or a womb.
  • Studying these structures in mice could teach us how to grow organs for transplantation.
  • Making human babies that way remains a distant prospect, fraught with ethical problems.

Scientists grew “synthetic embryos” from mice cells without using sperm, eggs, or a womb. 

The process, a world first, was described in an issue of the peer-reviewed journal Cell on August 1.

 The technology could be a starting point to grow organs from scratch, Jacob Hanna of Weizmann’s Molecular Genetics Department, who headed the research team, said in a statement.

Independent experts said a lot more research would be needed before even considering growing a human embryo this way.

Still, this research makes this possibility a little more feasible, adding urgency to the ethical question, they said.

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US poised to release 2.4bn genetically modified male mosquitoes to battle deadly diseases

Some advocates have raised alarms about the experiments, suggesting that hybrids could develop that might be even more difficult to control.

By Gabrielle Canon

The future isn’t female, at least not for the invasive Aedes aegypti: the altered males are engineered to produce only male offspring.

Genetically modified male mosquitoes may soon be buzzing across areas of California, in an experiment to stop the spread of invasive species in a warming climate.

Earlier this month, the EPA cleared the UK-based biotech company Oxitec to release a maximum of roughly 2.4bn of its genetically modified mosquitoes through 2024, expand its existing trial in Florida and start a new pilot project in California’s Central Valley, where mosquito numbers are on the rise.

Oxitec’s modified mosquitoes are male, and therefore don’t bite. They were developed with a special protein so that when they pair with a female mosquito the only viable offspring they produce are also non-biting males. The project specifically targets the Aedes aegypti mosquito, one of more than 3,500 mosquito species and a dangerous invasive insect that has spread diseases like dengue, Zika, Chikungunya, and yellow fever in other countries.

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Trailblazing Rice bioengineer is turning cells into disease fighters

Viruses come in many flavors, and Rice University bioengineer Isaac Hilton has long been fascinated by the kind that take control of cells without rewriting their genetic code.

“Some non-integrating episomal DNA viruses have evolved sophisticated ways to hide inside human immune cells without altering our DNA,” said Hilton, a geneticist, synthetic biologist and cellular engineer. “These types of viruses can exist as circular minichromosomes that we call episomes, and some of these viral episomes can silently persist in human immune cells for a person’s entire life.”

In addition to helping viruses hide from the immune system, those circles can produce molecules that viruses use to hijack host cells and alter their behavior. But as their name implies, non-integrating episomal DNA viruses accomplish their takeover without making permanent changes to their host’s genome. From an engineer’s perspective, Hilton said the ability to program immune cell behaviors and safely erase that programming when it is no longer useful or necessary “makes these viruses very attractive for use in gene– and cell-therapy platforms.”

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Smart farming: The growing role of precision agriculture and biotech

BY FASTCO WORKS

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EFFICIENCY AND SUSTAINABILITY GO HAND-IN-HAND, WITH AN ADDED BONUS: FARMERS IMPROVE CROP YIELDS 

Farming has always involved risk. Risk of pestilence, water shortages or excess, and weather events are only a few of the conditions affecting successful crop growth. Applied nutrients and crop protectors help plants thrive but can result in environmental harm. Given sustainability concerns, growing tomorrow’s food supply is even more fraught with challenges. The world’s population continues expanding, but available farming land is actually shrinking, inside and outside the U.S. And the demands are growing. Currently the planet contains 7.6 billion inhabitants, but the population is expected to expand to 9.8 billion by 2050. Farmers are tasked with feeding the world, but increasingly, they need to do so with fewer resources.ADVERTISEMENT

The good news is that agricultural technology designed to address this growing need is booming. Smart farming technologies are gaining steam, with innovations ranging from seed breeding to seed feeding to the ability to monitor crops and conditions in real time using sensors and internet of things (IoT) capabilities. Farmers can incorporate current and past weather data and field performance history, weaving in localized data for planning and crop management.

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Designing Artificial Microswimmers for Targeted Drug Delivery

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Many types of motile cells, such as the bacteria in our guts, need to propel themselves through confined spaces filled with viscous liquid. Mathematical models of this cell motion are guiding the design of artificial microswimmers for targeted drug delivery.

Many types of motile cells, such as the bacteria in our guts and spermatozoa in the female reproductive tracts, need to propel themselves through confined spaces filled with viscous liquid. In recent years, the motion of these ‘microswimmers’ has been mimicked in the design of self-propelled micro- and nano-scale machines for applications including targeted drug delivery. Optimising the design of these machines requires a detailed, mathematical understanding of microswimmers in these environments. A large, international group of physicists led by Abdallah Daddi-Moussa-Ider of Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany has now generated mathematical models of microswimmers in clean and surfactant-covered viscous drops, showing that the surfactant significantly alters the swimmers’ behaviour. They have published their work in EPJ E.

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‘Like having billions of tiny 3D printers’: Scientists train BACTERIA to build complex microscopic structures

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Researchers at Finland’s Aalto University have successfully turned bacteria into a microscopic workforce of nanobots, using molds made of hydrophobic material to create incredibly intricate three-dimensional objects.

The researchers placed the Komagataeibacter medellinensis bacteria in a mould with water and the requisite amount of nutrients like sugar, proteins and air. Once sufficiently fuelled-up, the bacteria begin to produce nano cellulose structures, in line with the hydrophobic (water repellant) mold in which they were placed.

Cellulose is the main component found in the cell walls of plants and substances like wood and cotton.

This type of guided growth through the use of superhydrophobic materials, which also minimize the accumulation of dust and microorganisms, could soon be used for extremely intricate tissue regeneration and organ repair in the human body.

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Revolutionary synthetic DNA disk could hold key to future of storage

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Synthetic DNA could solve the world’s storage problems

 A new proof of concept that would see data stored on synthetic DNA could hold the key to the world’s storage problems. In theory, if the concept is successful, all the world’s accumulated data would fit inside a shoebox.

By 2025, it is estimated that 463 exabytes of data will be produced every day – equivalent to 212,765,957 DVDs – and data center providers are constantly expanding to provide storage for this deluge of information. A single gram of DNA, however, can hold 455 exabytes of information – a fact that has drawn the attention of computer scientists.

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