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A team of MIT neuroscientists has found that some computer programs can identify the objects in these images just as well as the primate brain. Courtesy of the researchers

Deep Computer Neural Networks Catch Up to Primate Brain

December 18, 2014 4:53 pm | by Anne Trafton, MIT | News | Comments

For decades, neuroscientists have been trying to design computer networks that can mimic visual skills such as recognizing objects. Until now, no computer model has been able to match the primate brain at visual object recognition during a brief glance. However, a new study from MIT neuroscientists has found that one of the latest generation of these so-called “deep neural networks” matches the primate brain.

Deep Learning Reveals Unexpected Genetic Roots of Cancers, Autism and Other Disorders

December 18, 2014 4:23 pm | by The University of Toronto | News | Comments

In the decade since the genome was sequenced, scientists and doctors have struggled to answer an...

Rover Finds Active, Ancient Organic Chemistry on Mars

December 18, 2014 10:48 am | by NASA | News | Comments

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the...

VA Clinical Reasoning System Based on Watson Cognitive Capabilities

December 17, 2014 3:45 pm | News | Comments

IBM announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is using Watson technology in a pilot...

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Big Data and genetic complexity: HotNet2 helps define the terrain for complex genetic associations involved in cancer. “The next step,” says researcher Ben Raphael, “is translating all of this information from cancer sequencing into clinically actionable

Big Data v. Cancer: Algorithm Identifies Genetic Changes across Cancers

December 15, 2014 4:00 pm | by Brown University | News | Comments

Using a computer algorithm that can sift through mounds of genetic data, researchers from Brown University have identified several networks of genes that, when hit by a mutation, could play a role in the development of multiple types of cancer. The algorithm, called Hotnet2, was used to analyze genetic data from 12 different types of cancer assembled as part of the pan-cancer project of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA).

Researchers will track the lives of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) in unprecedented detail in OPTIMISE — a project to improve the evaluation of treatments.

Big Data Project Captures Multiple Sclerosis Patient Experience

December 11, 2014 3:43 pm | by Francesca Davenport, Imperial College London | News | Comments

MS affects more than two million people worldwide. Symptoms are different for everyone but commonly include fatigue, tingling, speech problems and difficulties with walking and balance. To gain a better understanding of MS and its treatments, there is a need for a system to collect comprehensive data that provides an in-depth picture of the experiences of MS patients across a large population.

World Community Grid enables anyone with a computer, smartphone or tablet to donate their unused computing power to advance cutting-edge scientific research on topics related to health, poverty and sustainability.

Donate Processing Time to Fight Ebola

December 10, 2014 3:15 pm | by Brandon Bailey, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Scientists at Scripps Research Institute have teamed with IBM on a project that aims to combine the power of thousands of small computers to help analyze various compounds to see which might be effective in attacking the Ebola virus and also to help with a longer-term effort to understand how Ebola proteins change shape over time.

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Watson's Nobel prize for the discovery of the structure of DNA sold at Christie's in a New York auction for $4.7 million, a world auction record for any Nobel.

Tycoon buys Watson's Nobel Prize, Gives it Back

December 10, 2014 2:25 pm | by AP | News | Comments

Russia's richest man says he has bought James D. Watson's Nobel Prize medal at Christie's in order to return it to the scientist. The 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to Francis Harry Compton Crick, James Dewey Watson and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins "for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material."

This is an early draft of the title page for what would become On the Origin of Species.  Darwin Manuscripts Project

Digitizing Darwin’s Writings: Over 12,000 Pages Released Online

December 9, 2014 1:53 pm | by American Museum of Natural History | News | Comments

Tracing the evolution of Charles Darwin’s thoughts about evolution is becoming an increasingly accessible project, thanks to a growing cache of publicly available digitized Darwin manuscripts on the American Museum of Natural History’s Web site. By June 2015, the Museum will host more than 30,000 digitized documents written by Darwin between 1835 and 1882.

This 6x image of myxomycete sp. (slime mold) received an Image of Distinction   designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition,   which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope. the   photo was taken us

Slime Mold is Not Fungi

December 4, 2014 4:59 pm | News | Comments

This 6x image of myxomycete sp (slime mold) received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope. the photo was taken using episcopic illumination by Philippe Verrees of Knokke-Heist, Belgium.

Geckos have fascinated people for hundreds of years. Scientists have been especially intrigued by these lizards, and have studied a variety of features such as the adhesive toe pads on the underside of gecko feet with which geckos attach to surfaces with

Geckos are Effortlessly Sticky

December 3, 2014 4:07 pm | by Iqbal Pittalwala, University of California, Riverside | News | Comments

Geckos have fascinated people for hundreds of years. Scientists have been especially intrigued by these lizards, and have studied a variety of features such as the adhesive toe pads on the underside of gecko feet with which geckos attach to surfaces with remarkable strength. One question that has captivated researchers is: Is the strength of this adhesion determined by the gecko or is it somehow intrinsic to the adhesive system?

Left to right: Ron Weiss, professor of biological engineering; Domitilla Del Vecchio, associate professor of mechanical engineering; and Deepak Mishra, MIT graduate student in biological engineering. Courtesy of Brian Teague

New Device Could Make Large Biological Circuits Practical

November 26, 2014 1:49 pm | by David L. Chandler, MIT | News | Comments

Researchers have made great progress in recent years in the design and creation of biological circuits — systems that, like electronic circuits, can take a number of different inputs and deliver a particular kind of output. But, while individual components of such biological circuits can have precise and predictable responses, those outcomes become less predictable as more such elements are combined.

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The National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation medals ready to be presented to awardees. Courtesy of Sandy Schaeffer, NSF

National Medals of Science, Technology and Innovation Presented

November 25, 2014 12:00 pm | by NSF | News | Comments

At a White House ceremony on November 20, 2014, President Obama presented the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. The awards are the nation's highest honors for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology.

Schematic of nanoparticle construction. Courtesy of Andrew Dunn

Inside job: Designer Nanoparticles Infiltrate Cancer Cells from Within

November 25, 2014 10:34 am | by Melanie Titanic-Schefft, University of Cincinnati | News | Comments

Conventional treatment seeks to eradicate cancer cells by drugs and therapy delivered from outside the cell, which may also affect — and potentially harm — nearby normal cells. In contrast, a research team has developed several novel designs for iron-oxide based nanoparticles that detect, diagnose and destroy cancer cells using photo-thermal therapy, using nanoparticles to focus light-induced heat energy only within the tumor

This 4x image of Aphaenogaster senilis (ant worker) received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope. The photo was compose

Ant at Work

November 18, 2014 3:33 pm | News | Comments

This 4x image of Aphaenogaster senilis (ant worker) received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope. The photo was composed using image stacking by Dimitri Seeboruth of Paris, France.

This 100x image of Polypodium virginianum (fern) sorus received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope. The confocal image

What’s On a Fern

November 17, 2014 3:46 pm | News | Comments

This 100x image of Polypodium virginianum (fern) sorus received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope. The confocal image was taken by Dr. Igor Siwanowicz of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia.

Black pine (Pinus nigra), one of the species whose life history data is part of the database, is seen against a stunning backdrop of New Zealand. Courtesy of Yvonne Buckley

Big Data Takes Root in the World of Plant Research

November 12, 2014 3:47 pm | by Trinity College Dublin | News | Comments

Botanists have launched a database with information that documents significant ‘life events’ for nearly 600 plant species across the globe. They clubbed together with like-minded individuals working across five different continents to compile the huge database of plant life histories, for which data have been gathered over a near 50-year span.

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Symbion QT 2.5 Chemometrics Software

November 6, 2014 3:27 pm | Symbion Systems | Product Releases | Comments

Symbion QT 2.5. chemometrics software provides Parametric Data Cleaning, a technique that automates the handling of data compromised by excessive noise or other artifacts. Key cleaning parameters are under the control of the analyst, allowing chemometric optimization under a wide range of analytical situations.

Professor Robert Sinclair illustrates one of his examples of a biological system (the fruit fly eye) which exhibits tendencies towards both deterministic and stochastic development, where the number of cells is uniform, but the way in which they determine

Back to Basics: Where Supercomputers Dominate Analysis, Classical Thinking Still Holds Relevance

November 5, 2014 4:25 pm | by Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology | News | Comments

Sinclair suggests that there still is a place in science in modern times for the interpretation of results using rational numbers or simple ratios. In a time where supercomputers dominate analysis, he argues that there is not enough attention being paid to the basic approaches to science of the past, which were able to profoundly illuminate our understanding of the natural world through the simplification of very complex topics and systems.

Understanding cell transformation can help clinical researchers tackle medical problems. The images show how a growth factor caused cells to change forms and regroup from tight packs of epithelial cells to more mobile, loose arrays of mesenchymal cells —

Modeling Cancer: Researchers Prove Mathematical Models Can Predict Cellular Processes

October 30, 2014 5:08 pm | by Virginia Tech | News | Comments

How does a normal cellular process derail and become unhealthy? A multi-institutional, international team led by Virginia Tech researchers studied cells found in breast and other types of connective tissue and discovered new information about cell transitions that take place during wound healing and cancer.

Indiana University received one of the largest individual awards from the NSF’s $31 million Data Infrastructure Building Blocks program this year. Researchers will use the $5 million in funding to help boost the nation’s big data efforts. Courtesy of NSF

NSF Awards $5M to Empower Researchers with New Data Analysis Tools

October 29, 2014 10:15 am | by Indiana University Bloomington | News | Comments

A team of computer scientists working to improve how researchers across the sciences empower big data to solve problems have been awarded $5 million by the National Science Foundation. The team will address one of the leading challenges in tackling some of the world’s most pressing issues in science: the ability to analyze and compute large amounts of data.

High in the atmosphere of Titan, large patches of two trace gases glow near the north pole, on the dusk side of the moon, and near the south pole, on the dawn side. Brighter colors indicate stronger signals from the two gases, HNC (left) and HC3N (right);

Astrochemists Discover Titan Glows at Dusk and Dawn

October 24, 2014 3:49 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

New maps of Saturn’s moon Titan reveal large patches of trace gases shining brightly near the north and south poles. These regions are curiously shifted off the poles, to the east or west, so that dawn is breaking over the southern region while dusk is falling over the northern one.

Researchers are expanding the applicability of biological circuits. Background: Microscopic image of human kidney cells with fluorescent proteins in cell culture.

Constructing Precisely Functioning, Programmable Bio-computers

October 23, 2014 3:40 pm | by Fabio Bergamin, ETH | News | Comments

Bio-engineers are working on the development of biological computers with the aim of designing small circuits made from biological material that can be integrated into cells to change their functions. In the future, such developments could enable cancer cells to be reprogrammed, thereby preventing them from dividing at an uncontrollable rate. Stem cells could likewise be reprogrammed into differentiated organ cells.

A carbapenem molecule, a last resort antibiotic, enters the carbapenemase enzyme (blue arrow), where the crucial beta-lactam structure gets broken down. The ineffective molecule then leaves (orange arrow)

Nobel Prize-winning Technique Helps Design Antibiotics of Future

October 17, 2014 11:52 am | by Bristol University | News | Comments

Scientists have used computer simulations to show how bacteria are able to destroy antibiotics — a breakthrough that will help develop drugs which can effectively tackle infections in the future. Researchers at the University of Bristol focused on the role of enzymes in the bacteria, which split the structure of the antibiotic and stop it from working, making the bacteria resistant.

This image provided by Oculus shows a new prototype of its virtual reality headset. The hew headset features a higher resolution and refresh rate, 360-degree head tracking and integrated headphones. (AP Photo/Oculus)

Smithsonian Honors Founder of Virtual Reality Firm Oculus

October 17, 2014 11:03 am | by AP | News | Comments

The founder of virtual reality firm Oculus and singer Rosanne Cash and are among those who were honored with American Ingenuity Awards at the Smithsonian Institution, along with eight other scientists and scholars for their groundbreaking work. Washingtonian magazine has described the event as the “Golden Globes of Intellect.”

“The collective expertise of NeuroLINCS investigators provides a unique opportunity to increase our knowledge of what makes brain cells unique and what happens during neurodegenerative diseases," said UC Irvine's Leslie M. Thompson.

Novel NIH Program will Create Database of Human Brain Cell Activity

October 10, 2014 12:08 pm | by UC Irvine | News | Comments

UC Irvine will receive $8 million from the NIH to establish one of six national centers dedicated to creating a database of human cellular responses that will accelerate efforts to develop new therapies for many diseases. The center will partner with researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Regenerative Medicine Institute, the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, UC San Francisco, Johns Hopkins University and MIT.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2014 was awarded jointly to Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner "for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy."

Americans, German Awarded 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

October 8, 2014 9:43 am | by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences | News | Comments

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Eric Betzig of Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stefan W. Hell of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen and German Cancer Research Center, and William E. Moerner of Stanford University “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy.”

The big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala) is considered one of the world’s worst invasive ant species. Their giant, muscle-bound noggins power their biting parts, the mandibles, which they use to attack other ants and cut up prey. In a new study, research

Big-headed Ants Grow Bigger when Faced with Fierce Competitors

October 2, 2014 4:26 pm | by Diana Yates, University of Illinois | News | Comments

The big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala) is considered one of the world’s worst invasive ant species. Their giant, muscle-bound noggins power their biting parts, the mandibles, which they use to attack other ants and cut up prey. In a new study, researchers report that big-headed ant colonies produce larger soldiers when they encounter other ants that know how to fight back.

Researchers have brought ultra-fast, nano-scale data storage within striking reach, using technology that mimics the human brain. They have built a novel nano-structure that offers a new platform for the development of highly stable and reliable nanoscale

Nano-scale Data Storage Mimics Brain Cells to Boost Memory Power

October 1, 2014 3:56 pm | by RMIT University | News | Comments

Researchers have brought ultra-fast, nano-scale data storage within striking reach, using technology that mimics the human brain. They have built a novel nano-structure that offers a new platform for the development of highly stable and reliable nanoscale memory devices.

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