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Seeing is believing: secrets of cells revealed

18.07.2006
With the advancement of technology we are managing to see ever smaller and smaller pieces of the puzzle that is life. The August 2006 issue of Microbiology Today, the quarterly magazine of the Society for General Microbiology, looks at vital role that microscopy plays to advance our understanding of the lives of some fascinating micro-organisms.
Fluorescence microscopy as a research tool in bacterial cell biology
Jeff Errington takes a look at the revolutionary new views of the subcellular organization of bacteria provided by immunofluorescence, GFP and digital imaging.

Investigating a bacterial killer using atomic force microscopy

Atomic force microscopy is a powerful technique for studying biological surfaces and molecular structure. In their article, Megan Núñez and Eileen Spain tell us how they have applied AFM to study the secret life of the predatory killer, Bdellovibrio.

Viruses and intracellular movement

As we’ve seen with SARS and bird ‘flu, viruses seem to have few problems travelling across continents – they use their hosts! But how do viruses, which have no independent means of locomotion, manage to move within and between the cells of their host? Tom Wileman uses fluorescence microscopy to find out.

Studying single molecules in microbial systems

Recent advances in imaging technologies have enabled researchers to pinpoint individual molecules in living cells. Christoph Baumann describes two key bacterial enzyme complexes that have advanced our understanding of ‘nanoscopic’ motion.

Can you see the light?

Recent advances in fluorescence imaging have lead to some amazing findings, but the technical challenges and baffling array of options have tended to restrict new technologies to a limited few. Iain Hagan and colleagues look at simple and affordable steps to exploit these developments.

These are just some of the articles that appear, together with all the regular features and reports of Society activities.

Faye Stokes | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sgm.ac.uk/

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Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

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Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

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Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

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Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

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