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
New polymer creates safer fuels
02.10.2015 | California Institute of Technology
Making batteries with portabella mushrooms
30.09.2015 | University of California - Riverside
Self-driving cars will be on our streets in the foreseeable future. In Graz, research is currently dedicated to an innovative driver assistance system that takes over control if there is a danger of collision. It was nature that inspired Dr Manfred Hartbauer from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Graz: in dangerous traffic situations, migratory locusts react around ten times faster than humans. Working together with an interdisciplinary team, Hartbauer is investigating an affordable collision detector that is equipped with artificial locust eyes and can recognise potential crashes in time, during both day and night.
Inspired by insects
An interdisciplinary team of researchers has built the first prototype of a miniature particle accelerator that uses terahertz radiation instead of radio...
At present, tiny magnetic whirls – so called skyrmions – are discussed as promising candidates for bits in future robust and compact data storage devices. At...
In cooperation with the Center for Nano-Optics of Georgia State University in Atlanta (USA), scientists of the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität have made simulations of the processes that happen when a layer of carbon atoms is irradiated with strong laser light.
Electrons hit by strong laser pulses change their location on ultrashort timescales, i.e. within a couple of attoseconds (1 as = 10 to the minus 18 sec). In...
At the exhibition BATTERY + STORAGE as part of WORLD OF ENERGY SOLUTIONS 2015 in Stuttgart, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT and for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS will be showing how laser technology can be used to manufacture batteries both cost- and energy-efficiently.
In the truest sense, it’s all about watts at the Dresden-based Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS and the Aachen-based Fraunhofer...
01.10.2015 | Event News
30.09.2015 | Event News
17.09.2015 | Event News
07.10.2015 | Life Sciences
07.10.2015 | Machine Engineering
06.10.2015 | Information Technology