Latest Brown University Stories

2012-06-18 11:24:22

Tiny, transient loops of genetic material, detected and studied by the hundreds for the first time at Brown University, are providing new insights into how the body transcribes DNA and splices (or missplices) those transcripts into the instructions needed for making proteins. The lasso-shaped genetic snippets – they are called lariats – that the Brown team reports studying in the June 17 edition of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology are byproducts of gene transcription....

2012-05-22 02:46:55

Brown researchers have discovered mechanical properties of stem cells can foretell what they will become To become better healers, tissue engineering need a timely and reliable way to obtain enough raw materials: cells that either already are or can become the tissue they need to build. In a new study, Brown University biomedical engineers show that the stiffness, viscosity, and other mechanical properties of adult stem cells derived from fat, such as liposuction waste, can predict whether...

How Flowers Pollinate With Precision
2012-05-17 11:25:35

Next Mother's Day, say it with an evolved model of logistical efficiency – a flower. A new discovery about how nature's icons of romance manage the distribution of sperm among female gametes with industrial precision helps explain why the delicate beauties have reproduced prolifically enough to dominate the earth. In pollination, hundreds of sperm-carrying pollen grains stick to the stigma suspended in the middle of a flower and quickly grow a tube down a long shaft called a style...

2012-05-17 09:14:36

The public health community has long struggled with how best to reduce HIV infection rates among black Americans, which is seven times that of whites. In a new paper in the journal PLoS ONE, a team of physicians and public health researchers report that African-American clergy say they are ready to join the fight against the disease by focusing on HIV testing, treatment, and social justice, a strategy that is compatible with religious teaching. "We in public health have done a poor job of...

5-Limbed Brittle Stars Move Bilaterally, Like People
2012-05-10 04:47:57

Brainless organisms choose a central arm and head that way It appears that the brittle star, the humble, five-limbed dragnet of the seabed, moves very similarly to us. In a series of first-time experiments, Brown University evolutionary biologist Henry Astley discovered that brittle stars, despite having no brain, move in a very coordinated fashion, choosing a central arm to chart direction and then designating other limbs to propel it along. Yet when the brittle star wants to change...

Single Nanomaterial Yields Many Laser Colors
2012-04-30 07:46:35

Engineers at Brown University and QD Vision Inc. have created nanoscale single crystals that can produce the red, green, or blue laser light needed in digital displays. The size determines color, but all the pyramid-shaped quantum dots are made the same way of the same elements. In experiments, light amplification required much less power than previous attempts at the technology. The team´s prototypes are the first lasers of their kind. Red, green, and blue lasers have become small...

2012-04-25 07:43:21

Here's an anatomical packing list for making that historic trip from water to land circa 370 million years ago: Lungs? Check. Legs? Check. Patches of highly vascular bone in the skin? In a new paper, scientists propose why many of the earliest four-legged creatures that dared breathe on land carried bony skin features. The "dermal bones" within the skin, especially the bones covering the skull roof and forming part of the shoulder girdle, had a highly complex surface of ridges and furrows...

2012-04-24 22:54:30

Research also finds how RNA editing enzyme activity varies with temperature Because a function of RNA is to be translated as the genetic instructions for the protein-making machinery of cells, RNA editing is the body's way of fine-tuning the proteins it produces, allowing us to adapt. The enzyme ADAR, which does this editing job in the nervous system of creatures ranging from mice to men, even edits itself. In a new study that examined the self-editing process and locked it down at two...

Bats Save Energy By Drawing In Wings On Upstroke
2012-04-12 04:15:23

[ Watch the Video ] Whether people are building a flying machine or nature is evolving one, there is pressure to optimize efficiency. A new analysis by biologists, physicists, and engineers at Brown University reveals the subtle but important degree to which that pressure has literally shaped the flapping wings of bats. The team's observations and calculations show that by flexing their wings inward to their bodies on the upstroke, bats use only 65 percent of the inertial energy they...

Word of the Day
  • Good cheer; viands.
  • To revel; to feast.
The word 'bellycheer' may come from 'belle cheer', "good cheer".