red blood cells - Biosensors for blood grouping

Biosensors may soon facilitate the analysis of a patient’s entire red blood cell antigen repertoire. In the form of diagnostic test strips, they could make the analysis swift and location-independent. This could have enormous potential not only in medical diagnosis, but also for environmental analysis if extended to other analytes.

Insights into crowdfunding

Crowdfunding became known around 2005/06 in the creative industries. To cope with illegal downloads in the music industries, money was raised before publishing. However, the concept of crowdfunding is much older. In 1885 the Statute of Liberty would not have been completed without a newspaper-led campaign (by Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World) that attracted 160,000 donors.

Presentation Design

Conference season has already started and scientists begin to mingle and present their latest achievements. The lecture rooms are flooded with an overwhelming number of data sets and graphs and crowded PowerPoint slides are the norm. What makes the difference between a good and an excellent presentation is not only the content and the speaker, but also the design of the presentation itself. But, do scientist really have time for that?

Microorganisms play a crucial role for the health and well-being of higher organisms. Host-specific microbial communities of varying complexity form the so-called microbiota. It can consist of several thousand microbial species and includes bacteria, archaea and fungi. These microorganisms exchange a plethora of metabolites with their hosts and can modulate their functioning. Such interactions equally affect humans, animals and plants. This provides us with novel strategies to counteract various diseases and increase the resistance of higher organisms towards abiotic and biotic stresses by modulating the microbiota.

shear

Since the early days of bioprocess engineering shear associated protein aggregation was believed to be a real thread for proteins causing a decrease in production yield accompanied by higher costs. Although some research indicated that moderate shear rates do not aggregate proteins, the scientific consensus today is still not aligned. Recent results suggested that elongational forces, very similar to shear, can unfold proteins. Hence, there is a strong demand for a technical solution to describe extraordinary high shear rates and investigate their impact on protein aggregation, to answer this unsolved mystery in bioprocess engineering.

Poster Design

The last conference I attended had 455 poster presentations divided into 3 designated poster sessions (2 hours each). If we do the math, this would leave one with less than a minute for reading each and every poster. Of course, this is not how poster sessions work; however, it nicely illustrates how much competition you face as a poster presenter. Designing your poster well can give you an edge when it comes to getting recognition for your work.

Mebrane transport proteins

Membrane transport proteins play a key role in several metabolic pathways. They transport either actively or passively ions or biomolecules, such as metabolites, across the membranes. The construction of efficient cell factories, to produce valuable metabolites, requires a deeper understanding of transport capabilities. However, to understand these mechanisms, suitable protein production systems and membrane-like environments need to be developed in which full protein functionality is maintained.

Cyanobakterien

Nacht ist die Zeit in der sich die Sonne ,,vor uns versteckt‘‘. Sobald es dunkel wird sagt uns unsere innere Uhr, dass wir schlafen gehen sollen. Unser Körper braucht den Schlaf um sich für die nächste helle Periode, also für den nächsten Tag, vorzubereiten. Auch in der Tierwelt folgen viele Arten diesem Rhythmus. Aber was tun die mikroskopisch kleinen Lebewesen auf dieser Erde? Gehen sie auch in der Nacht schlafen?

CHO cells have become the most important cell system for the biotechnological production of pharmaceuticals. Reasons for that are described in the article The increasing potential of chinese hamster ovary cells. A critical feature of a cell line used for production of therapeutics is to be clonal, which means origination from a single cell, to ensure a homogenous therapeutic product. The demonstration of clonal derivation can be a big effort for the pharmaceutical industry, but does it really ensure a homogenous product quality?

plastic

More than 32 Million tons of plastic waste end up in our environment per year. Most of it is non-degradable polyethylene, produced from about 8% of the global mineral oil resources. Researchers of the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology develop new biotechnological solutions to substitute critical processes. In the EU-funded project ROBOX, acib’s partners Uni Maastricht and Chemstream from Belgium have developed an approach to produce polyethylene biologically and sustainably from plant extracts. Enzyme-engineering can help to produce plastic without the use of harmful solvents.