Friday, October 24, 2014

This Week's Sci-light!

I'm blogging!  For those of you who read last week's blog, my microchange is working (confused...last weeks blog will clarify!).

Today's post features Science 360, a site showing funded National Science Foundation research that will be sure to engage the Sci-Curious!  The site is packed with information and contagious excitement.  The daily highlights include a video, a news story, a picture of the day, science radio, headlines, and featured articles from journals like Science.

I'm going to pick my personal favorite for today that features a brain in a dish (their words, not mine) as it is an example of how knowledge from one discipline in science is creatively applied in another.  First, skin cells from an individual are taken and chemically coaxed into stem cells that another set of chemicals develop into neurons.  As if this were not imaginative enough, the scientists wanted to "watch" the brain cells fire. 

Can you think of how this was done?  Environmental microbiology is key to this process.  A gene from bacteria that makes a light-sensitive protein is given to the neurons so that when the cells fire, they fluoresce.  Scientists such as Dr. Adam Cohen of Harvard University can film the neurons at up to 100,000 frames a second and distill their patterns and pathways.

If nothing I've said so far has made you curious, allow me to close with some topics from today's home page that may catch your attention:  Can general anesthesia trigger dementia?  Peering through the sun at the Halloween monster sun spot.  Researchers break through nano barrier to engineer the first protein microfiber.  And the picture of the day--Blue footed boobies. 

It seems I've found a great place to remain Sci-Curious!

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