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Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have taken a page from sports physiology and developed a low-cost optical sensor to measure the force with which tiny, migrating somatic cells push themselves away from an underlying surface. Force analysis devices like these could help to identify specific cell types more reliably than using a microscope or other conventional methods.

The sensor consists of a smooth surface that is studded with 250,000 tiny plastic columns measuring only five microns in diameter, rather like a fakir’s bed of nails. These columns are made of elastic polyurethane plastic. When a cell glides across them, it bends them very slightly sideways. This deflection is registered by a digital camera and analyzed by a special software program.

The researchers working with project manager Dr. Norbert Danz of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena have already shown that their ‘Cellforce’ sensor works. It will be the task of initial biological tests to show how different cell types behave.

Biology remains a wide-open field because it has accomplished a lot but still has a long way to go. The dominant view in cellular behavior, for example, has been that it is largely chemistry-driven but there is increasing recognition that the mechanical aspects are vital to our understanding also.

Developing fundamental math and mechanics models to explain life processes like embryo development, cellular migration and growth could open doors to a new frontier in biology, say a group of researchers.

"A lot of what the cell does is mechanical. It needs to move things around. It migrates," says Krishna Garikipati, an associate professor in the U-M Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics.

Researchers from Iowa State University have identified a factor that promotes the development of antibiotic resistance in a bacterial pathogen. The study explains that Mfd, a protein involved in DNA transcription and repair, plays an important role in the development of fluoroquinolone resistance in Campylobacter, a bacterial pathogen commonly associated with food poisoning in humans.

Development of antibiotic resistance in Campylobacter, especially to fluoroquinolone (a broad-spectrum antimicrobial), compromises clinical therapy and poses a public health threat. Previous studies have revealed that Campylobacter is highly mutable to antibiotic treatment and the number of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter is greatly increased in many regions of the world. But it has not been clear why Campylobacter is able to mutate at such a high frequency.

TreePeople, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit corporation that does not seem to be one of the groups filing lawsuits every time anyone recommended responsible forest management that would have prevented the numerous wildfires that have ravaged southern California in recent years, today announced that it has received a $1 million grant from The Boeing Company to launch a comprehensive California Wildfire Restoration Initiative in response to the numerous wildfires that have ravaged southern California in recent years.

The grant fulfills a pledge Boeing made in the wake of last year’s wildfires to contribute $1 million toward rebuilding efforts in the region.

Mathematicians and astrophysicists recently discovered that work on the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra and gravitational lensing had a common answer.

The Fundamental Theorem of Algebra (FTA), proofs of which go back to the 18th century, is a bedrock mathematical truth, elegant in its simplicity: Every complex polynomial of degree n has n roots in the complex numbers.

In the 1990s, Terry Sheil-Small and Alan Wilmshurst explored the question of extending the FTA to harmonic polynomials. In a surprising twist in 2001, Khavinson, together with G. Swiatek, applied methods from complex dynamics to settle one of the cases of Wilmshurst's conjecture, showing that for a certain class of harmonic polynomials, the number of zeros is at most 3n - 2, where n is the degree of the polynomial.

Until recently, the debate about intelligence had little in the way of data, with proponents of genetic factors in IQ squared off against proponents of environmental factors without any gaining much ground.

But new research, led by Swiss postdoctoral fellows Susanne M. Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl, working at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, suggests that at least one aspect of a person's IQ can be improved by training a certain type of memory.

Most IQ tests attempt to measure two types of intelligence--crystallized and fluid intelligence. Crystallized intelligence draws on existing skills, knowledge and experiences to solve problems by accessing information from long-term memory.