Lab-on-a-Chip to Improve Clinical Diagnostics

The new method, which uses beads and microfluidics can change the way we study mixed populations of cells, such as those of tumors. Image: EPFL

The new method, which uses beads and microfluidics can change the way we study mixed populations of cells, such as those of tumors.
Image: EPFL

Scientist have developed a process that has the potential to make the study of tumor cells significantly more efficient.

They call it a “lab-on-a-chip,” and it’s allowing scientist to isolate single cells for study. The key here is in the difficulty that scientists typically face when attempting to study a single cell in a population. Due to factors such as variation of the isolated cell’s biochemistry and function, and technological and physical limitation dealing with size and fragility of the cells, studying at the single-cell level has always proven to be difficult.

In order to combat this issue, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) scientists have combined affinity beads with microfluidics to produce an integrated, highly sensitive method for studying single cells – which has the potential to be adopted into clinical diagnostics.

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ECS Talk – Ralph Brodd

Ralph Brodd has become a pillar of electrochemical science and technology over his 40 year career in the electrochemical energy conversion business.

He joined The Electrochemical Society in 1954 and served as President from 1981-1982. His ties to the Society run deep, beginning with his studies in 1950 at the University of Texas under ECS legend Norman Hackerman.

Take a moment to get to know him in this episode of ECS Talk.

Join Brodd and other top scientists in electrochemical and solid state science by joining the Society and attending our meetings!

UK Unveils Driverless Pods

If the three initial pods are successful, a fleet of 40 vehicles will be rolled out on the pavements of the UK.

If the three initial pods are successful, a fleet of 40 vehicles will be rolled out on the pavements of the UK.

The UK is setting itself up to be a world leader in driverless technology with the introduction of the LUTZ Pathfinder pod.

The vehicle is the UK’s first driverless car that is making its way past the testing phase and it poised to hit the roads later this year.

The electric-powered vehicle has 19 sensors and a light detection and ranging system, which measure distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analyzing the reflected light.

With a range of 40 miles, the vehicle can last eight hours of continuous travel on one charge. However, it maxes out at top speeds of 15 mph.

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New Speakers for Glasgow Conference

Glasgow_blog_imageJust announced are the newest speakers for the ECS Conference on Electrochemical Energy Conversion & Storage with SOFC-XIV, which will convene in Glasgow, Scotland at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre from July 26-31, 2015. This is the first of a series of planned biennial conferences in Europe by ECS on electrochemical energy conversion/storage materials, concepts and systems, with the intent to bring together scientists and engineers to discuss both fundamental advances and engineering innovations.

Abstracts are due February 20, 2015
Find out more about submitting your abstract today!

We’ve already introduced you to the lead organizers of the conference, now take a moment to meet the speakers:

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ECS Goes “Alternative”

Altmetric "donut"

The colors surrounding the Altmetric “donut” reflect the mix of sources contributing to an article’s Altmetric score.

For many years, the Journal Impact Factor (JIF), as indexed in Thomson Reuters’ Journal Citation Reports (JCR), in the world of academic publishing has been accepted as a near-universal means of measuring the importance of scholarly publications. Despite the widespread use of this traditional bibliometric, the JIF lacks the ability to provide authors and readers information regarding the impact of individual articles.

Starting in December 2014, ECS joined the ranks of many other scholarly publishers supplementing aggregate journal impact data (provided by the JIF) with a type of article level metrics (ALMs) called alternative metrics, or “altmetrics,” as they have come to be known. To provide article-level impact data for its journals, ECS has chosen to use the article level metrics service provided by the company Altmetric.

Article level metrics are a better way for authors to track the discussion and attention surrounding their works. Unlike the JIF, the Altmetric system reports data for articles, from a variety of potential sources. Using these data, Altmetric generates a score for individual articles in near-real-time. These scores are produced using a number of outlets including

The data acquired from these sources are weighted based on the volume of attention, the sources of attention, and the influence or relative importance of the source.

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3D Printing Organs for Transplant

A two-part water-based gel made of synthetic DNA and peptide could bring the inventors of a 3D bioprinter closer to being able to print organs for transplant, or to replace animal testing.Image:Angewandte Chemie

A two-part water-based gel made of synthetic DNA and peptide could bring the inventors of a 3D bioprinter closer to being able to print organs for transplant, or to replace animal testing.
Image: Angewandte Chemie

Need a new pancreas? These scientists will print one right up for you.

Thanks to the development of a two-part water-based gel made out of synthetic DNA from Heriot Watt University, the 3D bio-printer is one step closer to reality.

The team from Heriot-Watt that engineered this developed is led by Prof. Rory Duncan and Dr.Will Shu of the University’s Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics, and Bioengineering.

“The first challenge was that if we used a normal gel it was not possible to mix live cells with it for 3D printing. Colleagues at Tsinghua University in Beijing have developed a gel which, like some proprietary glues, comes as two separate liquids into which cells can be added. These do not turn into a gel until the two liquids are actually mixed together during the printing process,” said Prof. Duncan in a release.

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2 New Job Postings in Electrochemistry

Find openings in your area via the ECS job board.

Find openings in your area via the ECS job board.

ECS’s job board keeps you up-to-date with the latest career opportunities in electrochemical and solid state science. Check out the latest openings that have been added to the board.

P.S. Employers can post open positions for free!

Research Consultant
Final Coat – Akron, Ohio
Cutting edge Research Laboratory looking for experienced (4-5 yrs.) electrochemist with a background in corrosion research to join our team. Located in Akron, Ohio. Corrosion Research will be focused on steel/zinc systems. The candidate will direct the corrosion research and be able to design experiments, specify equipment needed, perform data analysis and have an understanding of data acquisition and programming.

Post Doc
Arizona State University – Tempe, Arizona
Prof. Karl Sieradzki has an immediate opening in his group for a postdoctoral researcher in the general area of electrochemistry/corrosion. Applicants should have a PhD in chemistry, chemical engineering or materials science and possess extensive knowledge of electrochemistry and relevant materials characterization techniques such as SEM, XRD, etc. Additional experience in non-aqueous electrochemistry (organic solvents and/or ionic liquids) and C++ coding would be preferred but not required for this position.

Recognizing Advances in the Biomedical Sciences

A mouse brain before and after it's been made transparent using CLARITY.Image: Kwanghun Chung and Karl Deisseroth, Howard Hughes Medical Institute/Stanford University

A mouse brain before and after it’s been made transparent using CLARITY.
Image: Kwanghun Chung and Karl Deisseroth, Howard Hughes Medical Institute/Stanford University

Researchers in the biomedical sciences, such as bioelectrochemistry and biomedical engineering, work every day to create new processes and technology that will better the lives of all. The scientific community is recognizing one expert – Karl Diesseroth – for his two innovative techniques that are now widely used to study Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and other brain disorders.

Disseroth has just been awarded the Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences for his achievements in the advancement of brain research technology. Disseroth is the pioneer behind a process called CLARITY and the technique called optogenics. In case you missed them, here’s a brief recap:

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What Is Penta-Graphene?

The newly discovered material, called penta-graphene, is a single layer of carbon pentagons that resembles the Cairo tiling, and that appears to be dynamically, thermally and mechanically stable.Image: VCU

The newly discovered material, called penta-graphene, is a single layer of carbon pentagons that resembles the Cairo tiling, and that appears to be dynamically, thermally and mechanically stable.
Image: VCU

Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in conjunction with universities in China and Japan have discovered a new structural variant of carbon that they are coining “penta-graphene.”

The new material is comprised of a very thin sheet of pure carbon that is especially unique due to its exclusively pentagonal pattern. Thus far, the penta-graphene appears to be dynamically, thermally and mechanically stable.

“The three last important forms of carbon that have been discovered were fullerene, the nanotube and graphene. Each one of them has unique structure. Penta-graphene will belong in that category,” said the paper’s senior author and distinguished professor in the Department of Physics at VCU, Puru Jena in a press release.

The inspiration for this new development came from the pattern of the tiles found paving the streets of Cairo. Professor at Peking University and adjunct professor at VCU, Qian Wang, got the inspiration that inevitably led to penta-graphene while dining in Beijing.

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The Solar Breakthrough

wood_mackenzieCountries around the world have been embracing solar energy with open arms – just take a look at Germany or Switzerland. In the United States, however, solar energy has made its way into the mainstream, but has not gone as far as many environmentalists would like. With the advances in drilling technology in the U.S., one is left to wonder what the next big breakthrough in the nation’s energy supply will be.

The Wood Mackenzie consultant agency out of Scotland believes the next big thing in energy in the U.S. will be solar, and they’ve got some pretty solid reasons.

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