Scientists aim to grow billions of stem cells aboard the International Space Station

This is the latest effort to overcome one of the key hurdles for widespread stem cell therapies.

By Chris Young

Scientists from Cedars-Sinai Medical in Los Angeles are investigating how to grow large batches of a specific type of stem cell.

Their mission has taken them orbital — to the International Space Station — and it could help unlock a whole host of stem cell therapies to combat deadly diseases.

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One of the researchers, Dhruv Sareen, even donated his own stem cells for the experiment, a press statement reveals. If all goes to plan, the scientists hope to eventually grow billions of stem cells in space.

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Dubai is now home to the largest vertical farm in the world

The building will produce 2 million pounds of greens per year, in a country that currently imports nearly all of its food.

BY ADELE PETERS

If you walk into a grocery store in Dubai, the spinach on the shelves will probably be from Europe—or even from as far away as the United States. Because of limited arable land and water, the United Arab Emirates imports about 90% of its food. But inside a warehouse-like building near the Dubai airport, a new vertical farm is now beginning to grow more than 2 million pounds of local leafy greens per year.

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Time-Lapse Footage Shows Neural Stem Cells Grow in 3D Scaffolds

Watch as primordial neural cells dance across, grow into, and even move 3D scaffolds engineered to heal brain injury from stroke and other trauma. Decorating the scaffold with various nutrients and biochemical signals allow researchers to control what types of brain tissues they become. Credit: Katrina Wilson and Ken Kingery, Duke University.


Researchers at Duke University have captured days-long time-lapse videos of young neural cells moving and growing within a novel 3D synthetic biocompatible structure. By literally watching how the cells respond to natural biochemical signals embedded within the material, biomedical engineers hope to develop biogels that can repair and regrow brain tissue after a stroke or other trauma.

The results appear online June 22 in the journal Advanced Materials.

Repairing and regrowing brain tissue is a difficult task. Left to its own devices, the brain does not regenerate lost synapses, blood vessels or other structures after suffering an injury, such as from a stroke. Dead brain tissue is instead absorbed, leaving behind a cavity devoid of anything recognizable as healthy brain tissue.

But that hasn’t stopped researchers from trying to regenerate damaged brains anyway. One common approach used by biomedical engineers is to provide a new medium for the diverse pieces of brain tissue to move into, loaded with various nutrients and biological instructions to encourage growth.

While scientists in the field have historically reached for a homogenous, gelatinous biomaterial to support neural regrowth, Tatiana Segura, professor of biomedical engineering at Duke University, has developed a different approach. Her biomaterial built to encourage all types of healing and growth is made of millions of tiny gelatinous spheres packed together to form a stable scaffold.

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Photonic Link Could Spark an All-Silicon Quantum Internet, Scalable Quantum Devices

BY MATT SWAYNE

UNIVERSITY RESEARCH NEWS — Researchers at the Simon Fraser University report on research, published in Nature today, that they say could pave the way toward an all-silicon quantum internet and quantum computers that can tackle real-world computational challenges. That internet theoretically will be much more secure and much more powerful than today’s version.

In the study, the scientists describe their observations of silicon ‘T centre’ photon-spin qubits, an important milestone that unlocks immediate opportunities to construct massively scalable quantum computers and the quantum internet that will connect them.

Quantum computing has enormous potential to provide computing power well beyond the capabilities of today’s supercomputers, which could enable advances in many other fields, including chemistry, materials science, medicine and cybersecurity. In order to make this a reality, it is necessary to produce both stable, long-lived qubits that provide processing power, as well as the communications technology that enables these qubits to link together at scale.

Past research has indicated that silicon can produce some of the most stable and long-lived qubits in the industry. Now the research published by Daniel Higginbottom, Alex Kurkjian, and co-authors provides proof of principle that T centres, a specific luminescent defect in silicon, can provide a ‘photonic link’ between qubits.

This comes out of the SFU Silicon Quantum Technology Lab in SFU’s Physics Department, co-led by Stephanie Simmons, Canada Research Chair in Silicon Quantum Technologies and Michael Thewalt, Professor Emeritus.  “This work is the first measurement of single T centres in isolation, and actually, the first measurement of any single spin in silicon to be performed with only optical measurements,” says Stephanie Simmons.

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Smart Beehives Will Monitor their Colonies with AI

A single colony of bees can pollinate up to 300 million flowers daily. And that includes human-managed honeybees. That means that, unlike some livestock or agricultural practices, this is a human activity that is beneficial to the environment and key to the food system’s sustainability. Now, robotics, artificial intelligence, and big data will bolster the collaboration between humans and bees. That is the proposal of an Israeli startup.

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AR-Powered Hotels Have Officially Arrived

Immersive technology could change the hospitality industry forever.

by Kyle Melnick

Moxy Hotels, a chain of stylish hotels owned by Marriot, today announced the Moxy Universe, Play Beyond, an augmented reality (AR) experience that allows guests to interact with the hotel in a variety of unique ways.

Starting now until the end of the year, visitors can use their mobile devices to explore 12 Moxy Hotels from Shanghai to Tokyo using a virtual avatar. Ahead of their stay, guests can use the Moxy mobile app to begin customizing their digital persona with different outfits, accessories, and hairstyles.

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UK to have the world’s biggest automated drone superhighway

UK to plan world’s biggest automated drone superhighway connecting cities and towns for mail package delivery

The UK is setting up the world’s biggest automated drone superhighway within two years, which will be used on a 164-mile Skyway project that will connect towns and cities.

The project, according to BBC, is part of a £273 million funding package for the aerospace sector.

Drone mail delivery to the Isles of Scilly and across Scotland is also part of other projects being planned, which will include delivering medicines to patients in remote regions.

The chief operating officer of the aviation technology company Altitude Angel, Chris Forster, said that the drone superhighway will not only be used for business logistics but will also help “police and medical deliveries of vaccines and blood samples”.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will officially make the announcement of the project at the Farnborough International Airshow. He believes the funding will “help the sector seize on the enormous opportunities for growth that exist as the world transitions to cleaner forms of flight”.

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Scientists create a nearly invisible solar cell with up to 79% transparency

Here come windows that can generate power from the sun.

By Derya Ozdemir

Transparent solar cells, which have the potential to convert windows, greenhouses, glass panels of smart devices, and more into energy harvesting devices, have taken another step toward becoming a reality.

A team of scientists from the Tohoku University in Japan has created a near-invisible solar cell using indium tin oxide (ITO) as a transparent electrode and tungsten disulfide (WS2) as a photoactive layer.

Remarkably, the cell has the potential to achieve a transparency of 79 percent and can help take the TMD-based near-invisible solar cells from the basics to truly industrialized stages, according to the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Drug that increases human lifespan to 200 years is in the works

Taken in pill form, the drug would eliminate cells in the human body that are responsible for advancing the ageing process – potentially doubling our lifespan. But is this desirable?

By Jessica Byrne

Are you ready to live an additional hundred years?

British computational biologist Dr Andrew Steele has published a new book on the longevity of human life, arguing it is entirely feasible for us to live well beyond a single century with the help of a certain kind of drug.

In the book, he states that research in the field of senolytics – drugs that work to eliminate cells that degrade tissue function – are already showing promising results and could become available on the market within the next decade.

‘I don’t think there is any kind of absolute cap on how long we can live,’ said Dr Steele. ‘I can’t see a physical or biological reason why people couldn’t live to 200 — the challenge is whether we can develop the biomedical science to make it possible.’

Once perfected, the drug would destroy ‘zombie cells’, scientifically known as senescent cells. These cells stop dividing over our lifespan, accumulate inside our bodies, and eventually release compounds that speed up processes of ageing.

In a 2020 trial, mice who were administered the drug showed improved physical function and extended health and lifespan. Given that gene functions in humans and mice are almost identical, many believe we could reap the same benefits.

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Proton beam therapy for bone cancer spares surrounding tissue

By Rhoda Madson,  Mayo Clinic

July is Sarcoma Awareness Month, bringing attention to a group of cancers that begin in the bones or soft tissues of the body. There are more than 70 types of sarcoma, including bone cancer. Treatments for bone cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or proton beam therapy that targets the cancer.

Proton beam therapy is a type of radiation therapy that is more precise than traditional X-ray treatment that delivers radiation to everything in its path. Proton beam therapy uses charged particles in an atom—protons—that release their energy within the tumor. Because proton beams can be much more finely controlled, specialists can use proton beam therapy to safely deliver higher doses of radiation to tumors. This is especially important for bone cancers.

“Bone tumors need much higher doses of radiation than a sarcoma that arises purely in the muscle, which we call a soft tissue sarcoma,” says Safia Ahmed, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Mayo Clinic. “These high doses of radiation often exceed what the normal tissues around the area can tolerate. Proton therapy allows us to give this high dose of radiation while protecting the normal tissues.”

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Robots could ‘see’ using new electronic skin tech

Researchers believe mechanical arms in light-sensitive manufacturing environments could become capable of detecting when conditions change, thanks to the new technology

A new form of flexible photodetector could provide future robots with an electronic skin capable of ‘seeing’ light beyond the range of human vision.

Engineers at Glasgow University announced their breakthrough development, involving a new method of printing microscale semiconductors made from gallium arsenide onto a flexible plastic surface.

According to the team, their material provides performance equivalent to the best conventional photodetectors on the market, and is capable of withstanding hundreds of cycles of bending and flexing.

In a paper published in Advanced Materials Technology, researchers outlined how they developed the technology, which allows the skin to detect light from a broad range of the electromagnetic spectrum.

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