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Latest Brown University Stories

2011-12-01 11:29:07

Understanding mechanism may aid in development of infection-fighting drugs In the human world of manufacturing, many companies are now applying an on-demand, just-in-time strategy to conserve resources, reduce costs and promote production of goods precisely when and where they are most needed. A recent study from Indiana University Bloomington scientists reveals that bacteria have evolved a similar just-in-time strategy to constrain production of an extremely sticky cement to exactly the...

2011-11-28 23:11:01

Chemists at Brown University have synthesized a new compound that makes drug-resistant bacteria susceptible again to antibiotics. The compound – BU-005 – blocks pumps that a bacterium employs to expel an antibacterial agent called chloramphenicol. The team used a new and highly efficient method for the synthesis of BU-005 and other C-capped dipeptides. Results appear in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. It´s no wonder that medicine´s effort to combat bacterial...

Physicists Set Strongest Limit On Mass Of Dark Matter
2011-11-25 04:21:29

Brown University physicists have set the strongest limit for the mass of dark matter, the mysterious particles believed to make up nearly a quarter of the universe. The researchers report in Physical Review Letters that dark matter must have a mass greater than 40 giga-electron volts. The distinction is important because it casts doubt on recent results from underground experiments that have reported detecting dark matter. If dark matter exists in the universe, scientists now have set the...

2011-11-23 11:50:55

Wrinkles and folds are ubiquitous. They occur in furrowed brows, planetary topology, the surface of the human brain, even the bottom of a gecko's foot. In many cases, they are nature's ingenious way of packing more surface area into a limited space. Scientists, mimicking nature, have long sought to manipulate surfaces to create wrinkles and folds to make smaller, more flexible electronic devices, fluid-carrying nanochannels or even printable cell phones and computers. But to attain those...

Springy Tendons Key To Frogs' Amazing Leaps
2011-11-17 04:08:54

The secret to frogs´ superlative jumping lies in their tendons. Researchers at Brown University, filming frogs jumping at 500 frames per second with special X-ray technology, show that the frog's tendon stretches as it readies its leap and then recoils, much like a spring, when the frog jumps. The finding could explain how other animals are exceptional leapers. Results appear in Biology Letters. Some species of frogs and many other animals are able to jump far beyond what appear to be...

2011-11-07 11:44:27

MAP kinase resolved well enough to spot potentially unique drug target In many pharmaceutical company and university laboratories, scientists are looking closely at kinase complexes because the enzymes play key roles in essential cell functions. By taking unusual steps to examine a kinase complex, researchers at Brown University and the National Institutes of Health have found a sought-after prize: an unprecedentedly detailed description of its structure complete with a rare location...

Skin And Eyes Use Similar Mechanism For Sun Protection
2011-11-04 05:45:22

A group of scientists at Brown University in Rhode Island discovered that the skin and eyes use the same molecular mechanism to protect themselves from the UV light. The discovery was reported in the journal Current Biology. The scientists discovered that the cells that create melanin - melanocytes - contain rhodopsin, a photosensitive receptor used in the eye to detect light. They also discovered that the body produces melanin to protect the cells much quicker than previously suspected....

Researchers Complete Mollusk Evolutionary Tree
2011-10-27 04:47:06

Mollusks have been around for so long (at least 500 million years), are so prevalent on land and in water (from backyard gardens to the deep ocean), and are so valuable to people (clam chowder, oysters on the half shell) that one might assume scientists had learned everything about them. “Here´s this big, diverse group of animals, and we don´t know how they were related to each other,” said Casey Dunn, an evolutionary biologist at Brown University who specializes in...

Image 1 - Land Animals Suffered Catastrophic Losses After Permian Period
2011-10-26 06:31:51

The cataclysmic events that marked the end of the Permian Period some 252 million years ago were a watershed moment in the history of life on Earth. As much as 90 percent of ocean organisms were extinguished, ushering in a new order of marine species, some of which we still see today. But while land dwellers certainly sustained major losses, the extent of extinction and the reshuffling afterward were less clear. In a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B,...

Progress Towards Developing Plants That Accommodate Climate Change
2011-10-07 08:47:21

The genetic basis of a plant's adaptability to climate is identified The ability to promote agricultural and conservation successes in the face of rapid environmental change will partly hinge on scientists' understanding of how plants adapt to local climate. To improve scientists' understanding of this phenomenon, a study in the Oct. 7, 2011 issue of Science helps define the genetic bases of plant adaptations to local climate. The National Science Foundation partly funded the study,...