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Magneto-Optic Nanocrystalline Oxides Fabrication

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside developed a fabrication technique that is capable of manufacturing highly transparent Magneto-optic oxides with reduced processing times. Their technique employs CAPAD (current activated, pressure assisted densification). Briefly, rare earth material in powder form is exposed to a specific current, which heats the sample (below melting temp). Pressure is then applied to the powder, compressing it into the desired shape. The processing temperature is optimized in order to achieve sufficient density without causing excessive phase changes that would destroy light transparency. This process produces materials quickly (<20 min), which, combined with high magneto-optical properties, promises less expensive, smaller, more portable magneto-optical devices. Fig. 1 Top image is a schematic cross-section of the CAPAD apparatus. The bottom image displays a Dy2O3 (dysprosium oxide) sample processed using this method. The sample is suspended from a magnet. Lasers of various wavelengths still transmit through the sample This indicates that the desired magnetic/optical properties of the material have been preserved. Fig. 2 Graph of measured average grain size and density of Dy2O3 samples versus processing temperature. The graph shows that an ideal processing temperature is 1100˚C, providing the highest packing density and smallest grain sizes.    

Human Resistin for the Treatment of Sepsis

Prof. Meera Nair and her colleagues at UCR have discovered that human resistin may be used as a therapy to treat sepsis.  Using a transgenic mouse model expressing human resistin, researchers showed that  mice expressing resistin had a 80-100% rate of survival from a sepsis-like infection when compared to wildtype mice with the same infection. The researchers also found that human resistin decreased the number of pro-inflammatory and Th1 cytokines.  Through immunoprecipitation assays, human resistin was found to bind to TLR-4 thus blocking the TLR-4 signaling in immune and inflammatory cells. Fig. 1 shows the survival curves for four different mouse models exposed to a sepsis like infection. The red line represents wild type C57BL/6 mice and none of these mice survived the infection. The black line is the background mouse model without the transgene incorporated into its genome. The Tg+ and Tg2+ are two different transgenic mouse models expressing human resistin. Fig. 2 shows that structural modeling predicts that resistin (green/blue) binds TLR4 (red) and blocks binding LPS co-receptor MD2 (grey)

Hydrogel Scaffold for 3D Tissue Culture

Prof. Jin Nam and his colleagues at the University of California, Riverside have developed a hybrid scaffold which combines a thermosensitive hydrogel, poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PEG-PNIPAAm), with a biodegradable polymer, poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL), into a composite, electrospun microfibrous structure. The electrospun structure enables a structurally self-supporting hybrid scaffold which requires a simple inoculation of cell-containing media to encapsulate cells in a 3D hydrogel within a network of PEG-PNIPAAm/PCL microfibers. This novel hybrid scaffold enhanced chondrogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), resulting in superior mechanical properties of the cell/scaffold constructs as compared to those of the pure forms of its constitutive components. The hybrid scaffold enables a  single-step uniform cell seeding process to inoculate cells within a 3D hydrogel with the potential for various tissue engineering applications. Figure 1. Schematic of electrospun hybrid scaffolds for moldless 3D cell encapsulation in hydrogel. Thermosensitive PEG-PNIPAAm composited with PCL was electrospun to produce thick (~ 2.5 mm) hybrid scaffolds composed of micro-sized fibers. Large pores allow uniform cell infiltration upon seeding throughout the thickness of the scaffolds at room temperature. Subsequent increase in temperature to 37 °C induces the PEG-PNIPAAm to gelate to encapsulate the uniformly seeded cells in 3D.  

Device to Assess Contaminants in Compost

Brief description not available

Novel Nanoliposomal Nitroglycerin Formulation for Cardiovascular Therapies

    To address this major limitation, investigators at UCR have developed a nanoliposomal formulation of NTG, which achieves a 70-fold increase in the anti-inflammatory effect of NTG when compared to NTG. This increase in potency allows lower doses to be effective, which could mitigate the common issues seen with high clinical doses of NTG viz. loss of NTG sensitivity and endothelial toxicity. Fig. 1 Adhesion of U937 monocytes to NO-deficient (L-NIO-treated) ECs is significantly blocked by treating ECs with 5 ug/ml nanoliposomal nitroglycerin (NTG-NL). L-NIO is a selective eNOS inhibitor.  Remarkably, this anti-inflammatory dose of NTG in nanoliposomes is 70-fold lower than the dose of free NTG (5uM) required to achieve a similar effect

New Catalysts for Olefin Polymerization

Prof. Matthew Conley and colleagues at UCR have developed new single-site catalysts for olefin polymerization that are more efficient, active and selective than current catalysts. These catalysts may be used to create polymers with polar functional groups and to form polymers with tunable molecular weights, microstructures, and polydispersities. These catalysts are incorporated onto an inorganic support so that they may be used in gas-slurry processes which are used for the large scale industrial scale-up of polymers. Fig. 1 shows that methyl 10-undeconoate under 45 psi ethylene is copolymerized using catalysts [2][SZO300]/[2][SZO300]. The resulting copolymer has a low molecular weight and broad dispersity. Fig. 2 shows the reaction of (α-diamine)Ni(Me)2 with partially dehydroxylated sulfated zirconia (SZO300) in diethyl ether results in the formation of the new catalysts [2][SZO300]/[2][MeSZO300].  

Assay for Inhibitors of Nonsense-Mediated RNA Decay

Prof. Sika Zheng at UCR has developed a new endogenous NMD assay that is both sensitive and quantitative. The assay can be used on its own to assess changes in cellular NMD activity with high specificity and sensitivity. It can facilitate analysis of NMD controls by cellular pathways in response to stimuli or during development and is particularly suitable for unbiased screening of NMD modulators. The assay is designed to distinguish NMD regulation from transcriptional regulation and alternative splicing control.

Near-Infrared Fluorescent Probe for Monitoring Mitochondrial Membrane Potential

Prof. Hui-wang Ai and colleagues at UCR have developed a new near-infrared fluorescent MMP probe that provides a number of advantages over current probes. Due to its improved chemistry the new probe, named NIMAP, delivers high sensitivity given its high fluorescence contrast and low background fluorescence. It has optimal emissions (above 600 nm) for mammalian in vivo and in vitro studies and improved accumulation within mitochondria which improves its quantitative analysis possibilities. NIMAP is also extremely photostable and can be utilized to monitor MMP for an extended period. Given these properties, NIMAP may be a powerful tool for studying MMP and mitochondrial function in various biological settings.