Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Engineering


 To investigate whether language used in science abstracts can skew towards the use of strikingly positive and negative words over time.

Concepts: Empirical, Engineering, Physics, Science, Calculus, Axiom, Mathematics, Scientific method


Biological resurfacing of entire articular surfaces represents an important but challenging strategy for treatment of cartilage degeneration that occurs in osteoarthritis. Not only does this approach require anatomically sized and functional engineered cartilage, but the inflammatory environment within an arthritic joint may also inhibit chondrogenesis and induce degradation of native and engineered cartilage. The goal of this study was to use adult stem cells to engineer anatomically shaped, functional cartilage constructs capable of tunable and inducible expression of antiinflammatory molecules, specifically IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra). Large (22-mm-diameter) hemispherical scaffolds were fabricated from 3D woven poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) fibers into two different configurations and seeded with human adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs). Doxycycline (dox)-inducible lentiviral vectors containing eGFP or IL-1Ra transgenes were immobilized to the PCL to transduce ASCs upon seeding, and constructs were cultured in chondrogenic conditions for 28 d. Constructs showed biomimetic cartilage properties and uniform tissue growth while maintaining their anatomic shape throughout culture. IL-1Ra-expressing constructs produced nearly 1 µg/mL of IL-1Ra upon controlled induction with dox. Treatment with IL-1 significantly increased matrix metalloprotease activity in the conditioned media of eGFP-expressing constructs but not in IL-1Ra-expressing constructs. Our findings show that advanced textile manufacturing combined with scaffold-mediated gene delivery can be used to tissue engineer large anatomically shaped cartilage constructs that possess controlled delivery of anticytokine therapy. Importantly, these cartilage constructs have the potential to provide mechanical functionality immediately upon implantation, as they will need to replace a majority, if not the entire joint surface to restore function.

Concepts: Histology, Adult stem cell, Receptor, Cellular differentiation, Osteoarthritis, Engineering, Extracellular matrix, Biology


Synthetic Biology promises low-cost, exponentially scalable products and global health solutions in the form of self-replicating organisms, or “living devices.” As these promises are realized, proof-of-concept systems will gradually migrate from tightly regulated laboratory or industrial environments into private spaces as, for instance, probiotic health products, food, and even do-it-yourself bioengineered systems. What additional steps, if any, should be taken before releasing engineered self-replicating organisms into a broader user space? In this review, we explain how studies of genetically modified organisms lay groundwork for the future landscape of biosafety. Early in the design process, biological engineers are anticipating potential hazards and developing innovative tools to mitigate risk. Here, we survey lessons learned, ongoing efforts to engineer intrinsic biocontainment, and how different stakeholders in synthetic biology can act to accomplish best practices for biosafety.

Concepts: Molecular biology, Design, Organism, Genetics, Gene, Engineering, DNA, Biology


Reverse engineering gene networks and identifying regulatory interactions are integral to understanding cellular decision making processes. Advancement in high throughput experimental techniques has initiated innovative data driven analysis of gene regulatory networks. However, inherent noise associated with biological systems requires numerous experimental replicates for reliable conclusions. Furthermore, evidence of robust algorithms directly exploiting basic biological traits are few. Such algorithms are expected to be efficient in their performance and robust in their prediction.

Concepts: Discrete mathematics, Feedback, Algorithmic efficiency, Algorithm, Engineering, Systems biology, Decision making, Gene regulatory network


Small-diameter (<4 mm) vascular constructs are urgently needed for patients requiring replacement of their peripheral vessels. However, successful development of constructs remains a significant challenge. In this study, we successfully developed small-diameter vascular constructs with high patency using our integrally designed computer-controlled bioreactor system. This computer-controlled bioreactor system can confer physiological mechanical stimuli and fluid flow similar to physiological stimuli to the cultured grafts. The medium circulating system optimizes the culture conditions by maintaining fixed concentration of O(2) and CO(2) in the medium flow and constant delivery of nutrients and waste metabolites, as well as eliminates the complicated replacement of culture medium in traditional vascular tissue engineering. Biochemical and mechanical assay of newly developed grafts confirm the feasibility of the bioreactor system for small-diameter vascular engineering. Furthermore, the computer-controlled bioreactor is superior for cultured cell proliferation compared with the traditional non-computer-controlled bioreactor. Specifically, our novel bioreactor system may be a potential alternative for tissue engineering of large-scale small-diameter vascular vessels for clinical use.

Concepts: Engineering, Cell culture, Fluid, Design, Chemical engineering, Fluid dynamics, Bioreactor, The Culture


We introduce the concept, benefits, and general architecture for acquiring, storing, and displaying digital photographs along with medical imaging examinations. We also discuss a specific implementation built around an Android-based system for simultaneously acquiring digital photographs along with portable radiographs. By an innovative application of radiofrequency identification technology to radiographic cassettes, the system is able to maintain a tight relationship between these photographs and the radiographs within the picture archiving and communications system (PACS) environment. We provide a cost analysis demonstrating the economic feasibility of this technology. Since our architecture naturally integrates with patient identification methods, we also address patient privacy issues.

Concepts: Fluoroscopy, Projectional radiography, Engineering, Radiography, X-ray, Medical imaging


Three-dimensional biomimetic scaffolds have widespread applications in biomedical tissue engineering because of their nanoscaled architecture, eg, nanofibers and nanopores, similar to the native extracellular matrix. In the conventional “top-down” approach, cells are seeded onto a biocompatible and biodegradable scaffold, in which cells are expected to populate in the scaffold and create their own extracellular matrix. The top-down approach based on these scaffolds has successfully engineered thin tissues, including skin, bladder, and cartilage in vitro. However, it is still a challenge to fabricate complex and functional tissues (eg, liver and kidney) due to the lack of vascularization systems and limited diffusion properties of these large biomimetic scaffolds. The emerging “bottom-up” method may hold great potential to address these challenges, and focuses on fabricating microscale tissue building blocks with a specific microarchitecture and assembling these units to engineer larger tissue constructs from the bottom up. In this review, state-of-the-art methods for fabrication of three-dimensional biomimetic scaffolds are presented, and their advantages and drawbacks are discussed. The bottom-up methods used to assemble microscale building blocks (eg, microscale hydrogels) for tissue engineering are also reviewed. Finally, perspectives on future development of the bottom-up approach for tissue engineering are addressed.

Concepts: Software development process, Tissue engineering, Biomedical engineering, Tissue, Tissues, Top-down and bottom-up design, Engineering, Extracellular matrix


News coverage of medical research is followed closely by many Americans and affects the practice of medicine and influence of scientific research. Prior work has examined the quality of media coverage, but no investigation has characterized the choice of stories covered in a controlled manner. We examined whether the media systematically covers stories of weaker study design.

Concepts: Neurology, Engineering, Latin, Research, Science, Art, Medicine, Scientific method


The use of simulation training in postgraduate medical education is an area of rapidly growing popularity and research. This study was designed to assess the impact of simulation training for instrument knowledge and recognition among neurosurgery residents.

Concepts: Medicine, Learning, Engineering, Physician, Surgery, Simulation


We need technology and an ethical framework for genome-scale engineering.

Concepts: Science, Technology, Engineering