The grant is one of 14 awarded nationwide to research groups as part a $42 million expansion of the Human Microbiome Project. The human microbiome consists of beneficial and harmful microbes that include bacteria, viruses and fungi. The NIH launched the five-year, $157 million project in 2008 to serve as a research resource and to provide strategies for developing new therapies that manipulate the human microbiome to improve health.
Leading the UChicago-Argonne team will be Rustem Ismagilov, Professor in Chemistry. Joining him on the project are Eugene B. Chang, the Martin Boyer Professor of Medicine; Dionysios Antonopoulos, Assistant Professor of Medicine and biologist at Argonne, and Folker Meyer; associate director of Argonne’s Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology.
Historically, microbes have been studied in the laboratory as cultures of isolated species, but their growth is dependent upon a specific natural environment that is often difficult to duplicate. The NIH now seeks to develop techniques that can both increase the success rate for cultivating microbes and target cultivation efforts toward microbes of high biomedical interest.
The UChicago-Argonne team will use microfluidics to overcome the limitations of traditional cultivation and targeting methods by developing a single-cell confinement technology. Microfluidics is a means of precisely controlling the flow of liquids through channels thinner than a human hair.
The team will use sulfur-reducing bacteria from the human colon as the test system. These poorly understood bacteria are associated with ulcerative colitis and intra-abdominal infections, but the technology will generally apply to the identification and cultivation of all classes of microbes in the human gut microbiome.
Steve Koppes | Newswise Science News
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The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
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Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
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Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...
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