Robotics Research at the Bottom of the Earth

This past fall, Ph.D. student Anthony Spears’ studies with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Georgia Tech took him to one of the most remote places on earth.

deep robot

Spears spent October and November in Antarctica as part of Georgia Tech’s Sub-Ice Marine and PLanetary-analog Ecosystems (SIMPLE) team. The SIMPLE team is made up of researchers from ECE, the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), and the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, as well as other research institutions across the United States. Their research involves the design, development, and testing of an autonomous underwater vehicle for use in polar regions.

The team’s focus is on the formation and evolution of icy ocean environments that mimic the conditions on Jupiter’s innermost moon, Europa. Their findings will help determine if Europa could support life and inform future exploration to the icy moon.

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How to interest girls in computer science and engineering? Shift the stereotypes

Women have long been underrepresented among undergraduates in computer science and engineering for a complex variety of reasons.

science girlsA new study by University of Washington researchers identifies a main culprit for that disparity: inaccurate stereotypes depicting computer scientists and engineers as geeky, brilliant and socially awkward males. And they say broadening those stereotypes is key to attracting more girls to the two fields.

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Google Glass to monitor plant health

Scientists in the US have developed their very own pair of rose-tinted spectacles by adapting Google Glass to measure the chlorophyll concentration of leaves.Google glasses TOC 630m

Aydogan Ozcan and his research group at the University of California are passionate about creating new technologies through innovative, photonic methods and are well acquainted with the possibilities of wearable technology in scientific research. Chlorophyll concentration is a handy metric for monitoring plant health and the system devised by Ozcan’s team combines Google Glass with a custom made leaf holder and bespoke software to determine just that.

By placing the leaf into the handheld 3D-printed leaf holder and illuminating it with red then white LEDs, the system exploits chlorophyll’s low light absorption in the green part of the visible spectrum. Google Glass images the leaf through software that is initiated by the voice command ‘Okay Glass, image a leaf’, which is sent to a remote server to process the results. In less than 10 seconds, an estimated chlorophyll content result is then sent back to the Glass for viewing. ‘Performing the experiments on the UCLA campus was a funny experience,’ explains Ozcan, ‘wearing the Google Glass attracted everyone’s attention’.

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MD Anderson Studies Skin Cancer Patients Resistant to Leading Therapy

Powerful drugs known as BRAF-inhibitors have been crucial for melanoma patients, saving lives through their ability to turn off the BRAF protein’s power to spur cancer cell growth.

clinical trials

Yet they often work for only a year or less. Scientists know some of the DNA mutations that cause the drug resistance, but scientists have not been able to determine the underlying cause of the resistance in as many as a third of these patients. As a result, identifying genomic-based follow-up therapies for these patients has been a challenge.

Researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center may have found a way to more accurately predict which patients will likely respond to genomic-based follow-up therapies, by looking at unique “protein patterns” in melanoma patients.

“There are patients whose DNA does not reveal how their melanomas became resistant to BRAF inhibitors,” saidLawrence Kwong, Ph.D., instructor in  Genomic Medicine at MD Anderson.  “So we looked at patterns of changes in 150 proteins which can give clues to the causes of resistance, even when DNA sequencing data is uninformative.”

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This news service is provided by Good Samaritan Institute, located in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

GSI is a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of medical research by improving communication among scientists.