Research highlights in the June issue of the Okayama University e-Bulletin include innovative pendulum dynamo for converting tidal energy to electricity; models for breeding plants; unique insights into photosynthesis and Photosystem II; repairing DNA; and developing lithium-ion baterries with help from bacteria.
Okayama University's Shinji Hiejima is looking for industrial partners to commercialize his experimentally proven and patented concept of the Hydro-VENUS system for converting tidal energy into electrical power. Research on converting tidal energy into electricity energy has a long history with the European Marine Energy Centre, in Scotland being one of the major international hubs for testing ideas on extracting energy from the motion of seas and tidal currents.
In Japan the search for energy resources is a high priority with research on exploiting the power of the seas surrounding the Japanese archipelago being actively pursued. Notably, a report published by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) in 2010 states that the potential of tidal energy in Japan is equivalent to 20 nuclear power plants. Furthermore, the Seto Inland Sea—where Okayama University is located—has been assessed as being a site with especially high potential.
Plant science: Plant models for crop breeding of the future
This review article summarizes the structure and stability of all the minichromosomes that Minoru Murata and colleagues at Okayama University have isolated since 2006, and describes their interesting features.
Photosynthesis: New model of the quality control of Photosystem II
M. Y.-Nishimura and Y. Yamamoto at Okayama University proposed the new model of the quality control of PSII focused on the structure of thylakoid membranes.
Repairing DNA lesion
Repair of DNA lesion is essential for mammalian development. Notably, DNA lesions in cells caused by genotoxic agents results in arrest of cell cycle and ultimately in cell death. In response, DNA polymerase ζ (Polζ) is a translesion DNA polymerases that repair DNA damage and relieve cell cycle arrest.
Bacterial Nanometric Amorphous Fe-Based Oxide: Potential of Lithium-Ion Battery Anode Material
Leptothrix ochracea is a species of iron-oxidizing bacteria that exists in natural hydrospheres where groundwater outwells worldwide. Intriguingly, the bacterium produces Fe3+-based amorphous oxide particles that readily assemble into microtubular sheaths encompassing the bacterial cell. The mass of such sheaths (named L-BIOX : Biogenous Iron Oxide produced by Leptothrix) has been usually regarded as useless waste, but Jun Takada and colleagues at Okayama University discovered unexpected industrial functions of L-BIOX such as a great potential as an anode material in lithium-ion battery.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND ENTERPRISE
Synthesis of novel homeostasis modulators by "Westernized Kampo Medicine"
—Retinoid X Receptor Partial-Agonists Exert Anti-type 2 Diabetes Effects with Less Adverse Effects than Full-Agonists—
"Westernized Kampo Medicine" is a novel approach in modern medicine, defined by Dr. Hiroki Kakuta, that intends to exhibit the effects of Japanese Kampo Medicine with small molecules (Ref. 1). Japanese Kampo Medicine was developed in Japan, branching from traditional Chinese Medicine (Oriental Medicine). In contrast to Western Medicine, which has a well-regarded therapeutic method of treating diseases by using drugs focused on target molecules such as receptors or enzymes specifically related to each disease, Oriental Medicine is a systematic treatment based on consideration of a patient's homeostatic condition and environmental factors to determine a patient's well-being. In particular, Chinese herbs are one of the tools used for treatments in Oriental Medicine. Recent common diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's Disease, and cancer are considered to be closely related to patients' life styles, and are expected to be diagnosed and be treated by "Westernized Kampo Medicine".
1-1-1 Tsushima-naka , Kita-ku ,
Okayama 700-8530, Japan
Planning and Public Information Division, Okayama University
About Okayama University
Okayama University is one of the largest comprehensive universities in Japan with roots going back to the Medical Training Place sponsored by the Lord of Okayama and established in 1870. Now with 1,300 faculty and 14,000 students, the University offers courses in specialties ranging from medicine and pharmacy to humanities and physical sciences. Okayama University is located in the heart of Japan approximately 3 hours west of Tokyo by Shinkansen.
This research is featured in the June 2014 issue of the Okayama University eBulletin: http://www.okayama-u.ac.jp/user/kouhou/ebulletin/
Source: Okayama University, Planning and Public Information Division
Producing electricity during flight
20.09.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Solar-to-fuel system recycles CO2 to make ethanol and ethylene
19.09.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
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