Startup incubator aims to spur life-saving innovations

LOWELL, Mass. — A business incubator working to improve the lives of patients with heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders is expanding its reach to the next generation of pioneering biotech and medical-device entrepreneurs. Heart, lung and blood diseases account for 41 percent of deaths in the United States and lead to more than $400…

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Microscopic eye movements vital for 20/20 vision

Visual acuity—the ability to discern letters, numbers, and objects from a distance—is essential for many tasks, from recognizing a friend across a room to driving a car. Researchers previously assumed that visual acuity was primarily determined by the optics of the eye and the anatomy of the retina. Now, researchers from the University of Rochester—including…

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New platform for composing genetic programs in mammalian cells

A new synthetic biology toolkit developed at Northwestern University will help researchers design mammalian cells with new functionalities. The toolkit, called the Composable Mammalian Elements of Transcription (COMET), includes an ensemble of synthetic transcription factors and promoters that enable the design and tuning of gene expression programs in a way not previously possible. The result…

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No clear path for golden rice to reach consumers

Heralded as a genetically modified crop with the potential to save millions of lives, Golden Rice has just been approved as safe for human and animal consumption by regulators in the Philippines. The rice is a beta carotene-enriched crop that is intended to reduce Vitamin A deficiency (VAD), a health problem in very poor areas.…

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New details on how a viral protein puts the brakes on virus replication

An interdisciplinary team of researchers at Colorado State University has used computational chemistry, biochemistry and virology to uncover new information on how viruses such as West Nile, dengue and Zika replicate. Based on their research, the team said these viruses appear to cripple their own genome replication machinery. CSU researchers described the results as «surprising,»…

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Federal grant to fund study of potential imaging biomarker for Alzheimer’s

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Feb. 7, 2020 — Researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine have received a five-year grant worth approximately $2.53 million from the National Institute on Aging to evaluate whether a novel brain-imaging technique can identify Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages. Using an animal model, the researchers will employ a tracer for…

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‘I Keep Hearing Painful Coughs’: Life on Quarantined Cruise Ship

Things were looking up on Thursday for the more than 2,000 passengers quarantined on a cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan: Meals were coming on a more regular schedule. The internet was upgraded to a wider bandwidth. And there was even official approval to breathe some fresh air. Still, on the second day of a planned…

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As Long as There’s Been an Envelope, Oscar Parties Have Pushed It

It all began with a dinner dance. Well, a banquet, really. Long before Swifty Lazar corralled celebrities to join him at Spago or Graydon Carter reigned over Vanity Fair’s soiree, the Academy Awards were a party held on May 16, 1929, in a ballroom at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel. The ceremony lasted barely 15 minutes.…

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Chinese Doctor, Silenced After Warning of Outbreak, Dies From Coronavirus

WUHAN, China — He was the doctor who tried to sound a warning that a troubling cluster of viral infections in a Chinese province could grow out of control — and was then summoned for a middle-of-the-night reprimand over his candor. On Friday, the doctor, Li Wenliang, died after contracting the very illness he had…

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As Coronavirus Spreads, Mask Makers Go Into Overdrive

ANGERS, France — The relentless whir of machines echoing across a cavernous French factory floor this week is an unexpected result of the deadly virus that has nearly paralyzed cities in China and other parts of Asia. The company, Kolmi Hopen, happens to make an item that is suddenly one of the world’s hottest commodities:…

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