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  • Science Visualized

    See these dazzling images of a growing mouse embryo

    A new microscope is giving researchers an unprecedented view of how mammals are built, cell by cell.

    Light sheet microscopes use ultrathin laser beams to illuminate sections of a specimen while cameras record those lit-up sections. Previous iterations of the device have captured detailed portraits of living zebra fish and fruit fly embryos as they develop. Kate McDole, a developmental...

    10/11/2018 - 11:00 Cells, Development, Animals
  • Feature

    Ibrahim Cissé unlocks cells’ secrets using physics

    Ibrahim Cissé, 35Physics and biophysicsMIT

    Ibrahim Cissé expected to join his father’s law firm one day. “There were no scientists where I grew up in Niger,” says the MIT biophysicist. “I certainly didn’t know [science] was a profession one could do.”  

    But Cissé’s parents had a telling clue about their young son’s eventual career path: a door sign he made that read “Laboratoire de...

    09/26/2018 - 08:33 Genetics, Physics, Cells
  • Feature

    Lisa Manning describes the physics of how cells move

    Lisa Manning, 38Physics and biologySyracuse University

    Think of tissues as mosh pits of cells. The cells may not be able to crowd surf, but they can jam.

    Specifically, cells can undergo a jamming transition, a physical role change that was previously known to occur only among foams, sand and other nonliving materials. It’s one of the ways that physicist Lisa Manning has shown how...

    09/26/2018 - 08:30 Biomedicine, Cells, Development, Physics
  • News

    Humans have skeletal stem cells that help bones and cartilage grow

    Repairing bones and cartilage may get easier thanks to newly discovered human skeletal stem cells.

    Scientists found the stem cells, which give rise to bones, cartilage and the spongy bone that harbors bone marrow, in fetal bones, adult bones and fat, researchers report online September 20 in Cell. The researchers also reprogrammed adult cells into skeletal stem cells. A ready supply of...

    09/20/2018 - 11:08 Cells
  • Mystery Solved

    How salamanders can regrow nearly complete tails but lizards can’t

    Salamanders and lizards can both regrow their tails, but not to equal perfection.

    While a regenerated salamander tail closely mimics the original, bone and all, a lizard’s replacement is filled with cartilage and lacks nerve cells. That contrast is due to differences between stem cells in the animals’ spinal cords, researchers report online August 13 in Proceedings of the National...

    08/17/2018 - 12:30 Cells, Development, Animals, Evolution
  • News

    Tiny bits of RNA can trigger pain and itchiness

    Some snippets of RNA can be a real pain.

    A microRNA called miR-30c-5p contributes to nerve pain in rats and people, a new study finds. A different microRNA, miR-711, interacts with a well-known itch-inducing protein to cause itching, a second study concludes. Together, the research highlights the important role that the small pieces of genetic material can play in nerve cell function,...

    08/13/2018 - 14:06 Cells, Physiology, Neuroscience, Genetics
  • News in Brief

    Here’s how fast cell death can strike

    Scientists now know how long it takes for a cell to tell itself it’s time to die.

    Signals triggering a type of cell suicide called apoptosis move through a cell like a wave, traveling at a rate of 30 micrometers per minute, Stanford University systems biologists Xianrui Cheng and James Ferrell Jr. report in the Aug. 10 Science.

    These findings resolve a debate over whether these...

    08/09/2018 - 15:17 Cells, Development
  • News

    Nasty stomach viruses can travel in packs

    Conventional wisdom states that viruses work as lone soldiers. Scientists now report that some viruses also clump together in vesicles, or membrane-bound sacs, before an invasion. Compared with solo viruses, these viral “Trojan horses” caused more severe infections in mice, researchers report August 8 in Cell Host & Microbe.

    Cell biologist Nihal Altan-Bonnet had been involved in...

    08/08/2018 - 11:00 Cells, Immune Science, Microbiology
  • News

    Scientists successfully transplant lab-grown lungs into pigs

    For the first time, researchers have created lungs in the lab and successfully transplanted them into pigs.

    These bioengineered lungs, described online August 1 in Science Translational Medicine, developed healthy blood vessels that allowed pigs to live for several weeks after surgery. That’s a significant improvement from previous efforts: Lab-grown lungs implanted in rodents failed...

    08/03/2018 - 10:43 Biomedicine, Cells, Technology
  • News

    Newfound airway cells may breathe life into tackling cystic fibrosis

    Meet the ionocyte. This newly discovered cell may be the star of future cystic fibrosis therapies. Researchers have found that the gene tied to the disease is very active in the cells, which line the air passages of the lungs.

    While the cells are rare, making up only 1 to 2 percent of cells that line the airways, they seem to play an outsized role in keeping lungs clear. The...

    08/01/2018 - 17:06 Health, Cells