Magnified World


When I looked through my first microscope at the age of eight, I didn't just see tiny swimming microbes from our bird bath. I saw the complete and total beauty of the world in the tiniest details. Here I post what we pass every day because we cannot see it. I hope you can see the beauty as I do.
currentsinbiology:

'Artificial spleen' removes poisons from blood
Sepsis is the body’s over-the-top reaction to an infection. Even with modern medical care, it can result in organ failure and death within just a few hours. Measures such as early treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics—which slay many different kinds of bacteria—have reduced mortality in recent years, but no drugs specifically target sepsis. Cell biologist and bioengineer Donald Ingber of Harvard University and colleagues wanted to test a different therapy—a technique to pull microbes and the toxins they release from the blood. As their design guide, the researchers looked to the spleen; the organ filters out pathogens and poisons as blood wends through its narrow passages.
Magnetic beads trap a bacterium (blue) and allow a new device to filter it from the blood. Harvard Wyss Institute

currentsinbiology:

'Artificial spleen' removes poisons from blood

Sepsis is the body’s over-the-top reaction to an infection. Even with modern medical care, it can result in organ failure and death within just a few hours. Measures such as early treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics—which slay many different kinds of bacteria—have reduced mortality in recent years, but no drugs specifically target sepsis. Cell biologist and bioengineer Donald Ingber of Harvard University and colleagues wanted to test a different therapy—a technique to pull microbes and the toxins they release from the blood. As their design guide, the researchers looked to the spleen; the organ filters out pathogens and poisons as blood wends through its narrow passages.

Magnetic beads trap a bacterium (blue) and allow a new device to filter it from the blood. Harvard Wyss Institute

(via microculture)

ucsdhealthsciences:

Diabetes in a DishWith NIH grant, UC San Diego researchers hope to build bits of miniature pancreas
Although type 1 diabetes can be controlled with insulin injections and lifestyle modifications, major advances in treating the disease have not been made in more than two decades and there remain fundamental gaps in what is understood about its causes and how to halt its progression.
With a 5-year, $4-million grant from the National Institutes of Health, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and bioengineers at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, with colleagues at UC Irvine and Washington University in St. Louis hope to change this.
The team’s goal is to bioengineer a miniature pancreas in a dish, not the whole pancreas but the organ’s irregularly shaped patches – called Islets of Langerhans – that regulate the body’s blood sugar levels.
“The bottleneck to new cures for type 1 diabetes is that we don’t have a way to study human beta cells outside of the human body,” said Maike Sander, MD, professor in  the departments of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Medicine and director of the Pediatric Diabetes Research Center at UC San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. “If we are successful, we will for the first time be able to study the events that trigger beta cell destruction.”
Beta cells in islets secrete the hormone insulin. In patients with type 1 diabetes, the beta cells are destroyed and the body loses its ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Researchers, however, are unsure of the mechanism by which beta cells are lost. Some researchers believe that the disease may be triggered by beta cell apoptosis (self-destruction); others believe that the body’s immune system initiates attacks on these cells.
To actually bioengineer the pancreas’ endocrine system, researchers plan to induce human stem cells to develop into beta cells and alpha cells, as well as other cells in the islet that produce hormones important for controlling blood sugar levels. These cells will then be co-mingled with cells that make blood vessels and the cellular mass will be placed within a collagen matrix mimicking the pancreas. The matrix was developed by Karen Christman, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering.
“Our previous work with heart disease has shown that organ-specific matrices help to create more mature heart cells in a dish,” Christman said. “I am really excited to apply the technology to diabetes research.”
If the pancreatic islets can be successfully bioengineered, researchers could conduct mechanistic studies of beta cell maturation, replication, reprogramming, failure and survival. They say new drug therapies could be tested in the 3D culture. It would also be possible to compare beta cells from people with and without the disease to better understand the disease’s genetic component. Such work might eventually lead to treatments for protecting or replacing beta cells in patients.

ucsdhealthsciences:

Diabetes in a Dish
With NIH grant, UC San Diego researchers hope to build bits of miniature pancreas

Although type 1 diabetes can be controlled with insulin injections and lifestyle modifications, major advances in treating the disease have not been made in more than two decades and there remain fundamental gaps in what is understood about its causes and how to halt its progression.

With a 5-year, $4-million grant from the National Institutes of Health, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and bioengineers at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, with colleagues at UC Irvine and Washington University in St. Louis hope to change this.

The team’s goal is to bioengineer a miniature pancreas in a dish, not the whole pancreas but the organ’s irregularly shaped patches – called Islets of Langerhans – that regulate the body’s blood sugar levels.

“The bottleneck to new cures for type 1 diabetes is that we don’t have a way to study human beta cells outside of the human body,” said Maike Sander, MD, professor in  the departments of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Medicine and director of the Pediatric Diabetes Research Center at UC San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. “If we are successful, we will for the first time be able to study the events that trigger beta cell destruction.”

Beta cells in islets secrete the hormone insulin. In patients with type 1 diabetes, the beta cells are destroyed and the body loses its ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Researchers, however, are unsure of the mechanism by which beta cells are lost. Some researchers believe that the disease may be triggered by beta cell apoptosis (self-destruction); others believe that the body’s immune system initiates attacks on these cells.

To actually bioengineer the pancreas’ endocrine system, researchers plan to induce human stem cells to develop into beta cells and alpha cells, as well as other cells in the islet that produce hormones important for controlling blood sugar levels. These cells will then be co-mingled with cells that make blood vessels and the cellular mass will be placed within a collagen matrix mimicking the pancreas. The matrix was developed by Karen Christman, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering.

“Our previous work with heart disease has shown that organ-specific matrices help to create more mature heart cells in a dish,” Christman said. “I am really excited to apply the technology to diabetes research.”

If the pancreatic islets can be successfully bioengineered, researchers could conduct mechanistic studies of beta cell maturation, replication, reprogramming, failure and survival. They say new drug therapies could be tested in the 3D culture. It would also be possible to compare beta cells from people with and without the disease to better understand the disease’s genetic component. Such work might eventually lead to treatments for protecting or replacing beta cells in patients.

biocanvas:

The mouth of a blowfly
Blowflies are of incredible importance to forensic science. With their keen ability to smell a dead animal from over a mile away, they are usually the first insects to come into contact with decaying bodies, usually within minutes of death. Females lay eggs in dying tissue, which develop in a predictable pattern based on temperature and weather that can be used to determine time and place of death. Recent research is uncovering how the development of blowfly larvae change depending on the chemicals and drugs present in a victim’s system, revealing clues for a more accurate time and cause of death.
Image by Michael Gibson.

biocanvas:

The mouth of a blowfly

Blowflies are of incredible importance to forensic science. With their keen ability to smell a dead animal from over a mile away, they are usually the first insects to come into contact with decaying bodies, usually within minutes of death. Females lay eggs in dying tissue, which develop in a predictable pattern based on temperature and weather that can be used to determine time and place of death. Recent research is uncovering how the development of blowfly larvae change depending on the chemicals and drugs present in a victim’s system, revealing clues for a more accurate time and cause of death.

Image by Michael Gibson.

biocanvas:

Neuromuscular junctions in fruit flies
Our nerves send chemical signals to muscle fibers in order to stimulate muscle contraction, resulting in movement and locomotion. For this to happen, the ends of nerve fibers must be in very close proximity to the muscle—and we mean very close: The average space of a neuromuscular junction is just 30 nanometers, which is over 2,600-times smaller than the width of a human hair. In this neuromuscular junction of a fruit fly, nerve terminals (in red) can be seen intermingling with structural components (in green and blue). Diseases like Duchenne muscular dystrophy destabilize the structural integrity of neuromuscular junctions, greatly impairing muscle movement and strength.
Image by Vanessa Auld, University of British Columbia, Canada.

biocanvas:

Neuromuscular junctions in fruit flies

Our nerves send chemical signals to muscle fibers in order to stimulate muscle contraction, resulting in movement and locomotion. For this to happen, the ends of nerve fibers must be in very close proximity to the muscle—and we mean very close: The average space of a neuromuscular junction is just 30 nanometers, which is over 2,600-times smaller than the width of a human hair. In this neuromuscular junction of a fruit fly, nerve terminals (in red) can be seen intermingling with structural components (in green and blue). Diseases like Duchenne muscular dystrophy destabilize the structural integrity of neuromuscular junctions, greatly impairing muscle movement and strength.

Image by Vanessa Auld, University of British Columbia, Canada.

(Source: promo.gelifesciences.com, via freshphotons)

heythereuniverse:

Solar thaw by FEI Company on Flickr.
The image shows the fracture of molybdenum thin film grown on a polymer substrate. Molybdenum thin films is used as back contact layer in CuInGaSe based solar cells. Co-authors: Máximo León M., Isidoro Ignacio Poveda, Enrique Rodríguez Cañas, Esperanza Salvador R.

heythereuniverse:

Solar thaw by FEI Company on Flickr.

The image shows the fracture of molybdenum thin film grown on a polymer substrate. Molybdenum thin films is used as back contact layer in CuInGaSe based solar cells. Co-authors: Máximo León M., Isidoro Ignacio Poveda, Enrique Rodríguez Cañas, Esperanza Salvador R.