Monday, 28 April 2008

Trojan Horse Of Viruses Revealed

Viruses use various tricks and disguises to invade cells. Researchers have now discovered yet another strategy used by viruses: the vaccinia virus disguises itself as cell waste, triggers the formation of evaginations in cells and is suspected to enter the cell interior before the immune defense even notices. The research results have been published in the journal Science- available in the library or see the info at

(Image Credit: J. Mercer / Institut für Biochemie, ETH Zürich)

Friday, 25 April 2008

TechnoThreads: Where Science and Fashion Meet

Fashion and Science meet in a very strange space 26th April when the exhibition opens at the new Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin. The event features oddities such as grow-your-own "guilt free" leather jackets and T-shirts that can impart a hug to cheer you up.
TechnoThreads: What Fashion Did Next is the name of the innovative exhibition set to begin a three-month run at the Pearse Street gallery.

TechnoThreads is free and open to the public until Friday July 25th.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Do you prefer your science daily or weekly? Now you have two ways to get your recommended allowance of Science Update's brief yet satisfying stories on the latest discoveries in science, technology and medicine, as well as the answers to your pressing science questions. The Science Update Podcast - Daily Edition is a one-minute morsel of science that comes out Monday through Friday. The Science Update Podcast - Weekly Edition serves up those same five stories (plus sometimes a little more) in a six- to seven-minute science feast that comes out every Friday. We don't care how you like to satisfy your science cravings—we just want to help you do it!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

MU researchers find clue to cataract formation

Cataracts, which can have devastating effects on the eye, affect 42 percent of the population between the ages of 70 and 80, and 68 percent of the population over the age of 80, as per the National Eye Institute. Now, a University of Missouri professor has identified an important step in how cataracts form. This discovery, published in a recent edition of The Journal of Biological Chemistry, could lead to a better therapy or cure for cataracts in the future. A specific type of protein begins to lose function as the eye ages. As the protein loses function, small peptides, made of 10 to 15 amino acids, start forming and accelerate cataract formation in the eye. The next step is to work on preventing their formation. A ten-year delay in the onset of cataracts could decrease the number of cataract surgeries by 45 percent, thus significantly decreasing vision care cost.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Bionic Eye Breakthrough

A 'bionic eye' may hold the key to returning sight to people left blind by a retinitis pigmentosa. A team at London's Moorfields Eye Hospital have carried out the treatment on the UK's first patients as part of a clinical study into the therapy. The artificial eye, connected to a camera on a pair of glasses, has been developed by US firm Second Sight. It said the technique may be able to restore a basic level of vision, but experts warned it was still early days.
Full details @

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

CyberCarpet opens way to Pompeii

A stroll around the ancient city of Pompeii will be made possible this week thanks to a new omni-directional treadmill. The treadmill is a "motion platform" which gives the impression of "natural walking" in any direction. The platform, called CyberCarpet, is made up of several belts which form an endless plane along two axes. Scientists have combined the platform with a tracking system and virtual reality software recreating Pompeii. The platform gives "walkers" a walking area of 4.5m by 4.5m and moves fast enough to allow jogging at about two metres per second. "This is the first omni-directional platform that allows near natural walking," said Dr Marc Ernst from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tubingen.The platform is a result of a collaboration between the Swiss and German institutes, and the University of Rome, the Institute of Applied Mechanics and the Institute of Automatic Control Engineering.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Visions of Sun's great 'belches'

Nasa's Stereo orbiters have captured stunning new images of spaceborne debris thrown out from the Sun. The twin spacecraft have seen Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) hurling material into a comet, ripping off its tail. Scientists hope the probes will allow better forecasting of CMEs, which sometimes disrupt communication systems on Earth. Follow the link for the full story:

Monday, 14 April 2008

Controversial forensic DNA test gets the green light

A super-sensitive method of DNA fingerprinting has been declared fit for purpose by a panel of UK experts."We are happy that the science is sound and secure, and that the systems have been properly validated and are fit for purpose," said Brian Caddy of the University of Strathclyde, when publishing the report on 11/04/08. The low-template DNA technique has seen increasing use because it works on picogram amounts of DNA – that's the amount found in as few as four or five human cells. The UK government commissioned the study after severe criticism of the technique last year. See the full New Scientist article at

Friday, 11 April 2008

Childhood Obesity - a sizeable problem

Royal College of Physicians of Ireland: Public Meeting Series
In association with the Faculty of Paediatrics

Childhood obesity: a sizeable problem
Tuesday April 29 at 6pm
RCPI, No.6, Kildare St. Dublin 2.

Themes include role of exercise and nutrition in association with the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity.

Open to the public. No admittance fee, but registration is required at

Thursday, 10 April 2008

From pollution to plastic

Carbon dioxide captured from the smokestacks of power plants could one day provide the raw material for plastics .

Researchers have demonstrated on a small scale that with sufficient energy and pressure they can turn the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into useful plastic. They are perfecting a procedure designed to turn pollution into a type of plastic used to make everything from DVDs to eyeglass lenses. The effort is being touted as a way to capture and use climate change–causing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired power plants and other sources instead of releasing it into the atmosphere or burying it underground. Read the full Scientific American article by David Biello @

Monday, 7 April 2008

How Aztecs Did the Math

The Aztecs, who ruled central Mexico for several hundred years before the Spanish arrived in 1519, left the most extensive mathematical writings of any pre-Columbian people. Two manuscripts in particular have intrigued scholars because they portray land holdings in the Valley of Mexico along with their measurements, using the Aztec numbering system, for purposes of taxation. Now a geographer and a mathematician have zeroed in on just what methods Aztec surveyors used to measure the surface of a field in one of these documents, the Codex Vergara. For the full article by Constance Holden see:
(Image : Library of Congress)

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Wide Appliance of Sensor Science

The latest research on sensors crosses the scientific divides, and offers a staggering array of practical applications. The newest generation of sensors integrates physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, information technology, nanotechnology, microfluidics and biotechnology, to name just a few.

These sensors combine biologically active molecules and specially designed hardware to deliver small devices that can detect anything from environmental pollution and biowarfare agents to explosives and whole bacteria, Dr Ligler explains.

Read the full article by Dick Ahlstrom @

New Internet Resources

New Internet Resources Handbooks are now available
for the following subject areas:

Biological Sciences
Biomedical & Health Sciences

Environmental Science
Materials Engineering
Envionmental Engineering

Printed copies are available in Kevin St library or download a pdf copy from