Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Февраль 2018 г.
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2018 г.
Российская наука и мир
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)

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    360 Dx / Feb 01, 2018
    Russian Researchers Look to Commercialize New Lateral Flow Immunoassay for Heart Attack, Sepsis
    Исследователи из НИТУ МИСиС разработали новый иммунохроматографический анализ в виде тест-полосок, не требующий специального оборудования, поэтому его можно проводить в любых условиях. Кроме того, анализ сочетает принципы количественной и качественной иммунохроматографии, показывая не только присутствие определяемого соединения, но и его концентрацию. Сейчас университет ищет возможность коммерциализовать свое изобретение.

A team of Russian scientists has developed a new assay that could be applied as a point-of-care diagnostic for indications as varied as acute myocardial infarction, sepsis, and pregnancy testing. The immunochromatographic approach detects not only the presence of a substance in a sample, but its amount by visualizing its concentration using gold nanoparticles. The researchers described the use of nanogold labels to improve the sensitivity of lateral flow immunoassays in a paper in Nano-Micro Letters in December.
According to Alexander Osipov, a researcher at the National University of Science and Technology MISIS in Moscow, other tests that rely on immunochromatography typically rely on portable instruments to register the intensity of colors. At the same time, the use of such instruments slows the time to diagnosis.
Osipov's approach, in contrast, could be used at the point-of-care, such as an in ambulance or even at home, he said, and can produce a result in between five and 10 minutes. NUST MISIS is now looking to transfer the technology to interested partners for commercialization.
"We are now discussing the possibility to produce such tests with some Russian diagnostic companies and for the transfer of our technology," said Osipov. He noted that one potential partner, a Moscow-based firm, already produces qualitative, visual immunochromatographic tests for determining the concentrations of prostate specific antigen. "Of course, we are very interested in not only Russian but in international partners," he added.
"We have developed a simple, non-instrumental variant for quantitative immunochromatographic assay analysis, in which the concentration of the analyte is determined not by measuring the intensity of the test lines, but by the visual count of the number of test lines in [an] analytical zone of membrane," Osipov said. "The number of test lines gives one the opportunity to determine the amount of the analyte at different intervals of concentration."
Osipov, a senior fellow in the university's department for functional nanosystems and high temperature materials, has been working for several years on the platform, which combines the principles of qualitative and quantitative immunochromatography into a single test.
Osipov's team developed test strips that contain hybrid molecules labeled with gold nanoparticles or quantum dots of antibodies. Each test strip has a width of between 4 and 6 mm, and a length of about 7 cm, and consists of several porous membranes fixed on a plastic substrate and adjacent to each other.
A liquid stream containing the sample moves along these membranes by capillary action, he said. He noted that these porous membrane carriers contain reactive components immobilized in advance that allow for the detection of a particular compound in the mixture by staining an analytical test field zone, as a crossed line, of the membrane.
The higher the content of the targeted substance or marker in the sample, the greater the number of colored lines will appear. Therefore, the approach is not only qualitative, in that it answers whether or not a marker or substance is present, but also quantitative, allowing users to determine the concentration of the marker or substance in the sample.
The inventors have received a patent for the technology in Russia but have not achieved protection for it elsewhere. The patent, RU2510510C1, "Test system for semiquantitative immunochromatographic assay," describes a substrate overlapped with a test membrane that supports between two and 20 parallel test lines "formed transversally by the pre-application of … monoclonal antibodies to the test compound" where the antibody concentration "increases from line to line."
Such an approach lends itself to various applications, the most immediate of which is pregnancy testing, which already relies on immunochromatography but can currently only provide a "yes" or "no" answer. The new approach, given its ability to measure concentrations, can provide even more information.
"Using this approach to analyze human chorionic gonadotropin in urine, we can determine not only the presence but the stage of a pregnancy," he said. "For example, one line could equal one week of pregnancy, two lines could equal two weeks, et cetera."
Another application at hand is diagnosing acute myocardial infarction.
Osipov noted that fatty-acid-binding proteins are often monitored to diagnose heart attacks, since the concentration of FABPs in blood increases significantly when the myocardium is damaged. He said that by determining the presence and amount of FABP and other cardiac markers, such as troponin I, using its test, physicians should be able to "increase the efficiency of their diagnoses … and identify hidden forms of heart attacks."
Osipov said that his team has developed an immunochromatographic system for simultaneously determining the presence of FABP, linked to the early stages of heart attack, as well as troponin I, which is associated with its later stages.
One attribute of Osipov's technology is the use of nanosize gold particles or quantum dots in that conjugate with antibodies in different shapes, such as "nanoclouds," stars, popcorn, or flowers. The space created by such shapes on the test strip, allows a better quantification of a target substance in the sample.
"Depending on the conditions for making the test, it is possible to vary not only the number but also the intervals of determined concentrations," Osipov said. "The use of gold nanoparticles with different shapes … gives us the possibility to increase the sensitivity of the analysis and form the desired intervals of analyte concentrations," he said.
This particular feature is "fundamentally important" in the analysis of the markers for a number of deadly diseases, such as using procalcitonin to detect sepsis and bacterial infections, Osipov noted. "When the amount of procalcitonin corresponds to between 0.5 and 2.0 nanograms per milliliter, it's possible to detect human infection with viruses," he said. At the same time, experts believe that it is impossible to make a sepsis diagnosis based on such results, and typically wait six to 24 hours for a second test. If the level of procalcitonin is stable, then they rule out sepsis.
Osipov and colleagues have suggested a test format where multiple test lines enable the visualization of procalcitonin concentrations. For instance, no colored test lines would represent a concentration of less than 0.5 nanograms per milliliter, while results of 0.5 nanograms to 3 nanograms per milliliter would manifest as a single colored line, and results higher than 3 nanograms per milliliter would produce two colored lines.
"The level of this substance with a severe generalized parasitic, bacterial, or fungal infection grows very quickly, reaching high rates," said Osipov. "This is always confirmed by repeated analyses," he said. "If the test showed a concentration of the substance above 10 nanograms, this would indicate sepsis and reflect the patient's serious condition." Osipov and colleagues described the use of gold nanoflowers and gold nanospheres as labels in a lateral flow immunoassay for the detection of procalcitonin in the journal Nano Hybrids and Composites in January 2017.
A number of sepsis tests that are marketed by some of the industry's biggest players and rely on procalcitonin became available for clinical use in 2017. BioMérieux, DiaZyme Laboratories, and Beckman Coulter Diagnostics all achieved US Food and Drug Administration clearance for such assays last year. BioMérieux's test, marketed as the Vidas BRAHMS PCT assay, is sold for use on its benchtop Vidas immunoassay system. Meanwhile, Roche and Thermo Fisher Scientific have joined the crowded market with tests of their own for sepsis diagnosis and management.
There also are several firms, such as DNAe, Qvella, and Biocartis, working on molecular tests for sepsis, while T2 Biosystems has FDA clearance for its T2Candida Panel and has filed for clearance of its T2 Bacteria Panel, and Accelerate Diagnostics has FDA clearance for its PhenoTest BC Kit for bloodstream infections.

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    EurekAlert / 5-Feb-2018
    Do companies need corporate universities?
    Исследователи из Высшей школы экономики изучили роль корпоративных университетов в развитии человеческого капитала и повышении производительности на основе данных 2500 российских и европейских компаний.

Researchers at the Higher School of Economics, International Laboratory of Intangible-driven Economy (IDlab), have examined the role of corporate universities in developing human capital and improving performance. Their findings were published in the Journal of Intellectual Capital at https://doi.org/10.1108/JIC-01-2017-0011.
The hypothesis that a corporate university can create competitive advantages for a company was tested on data provided by Russian and European public companies. The sample included some 2,500 companies located in Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. The Russian market was chosen as an example of a developing economy, while the European market represented a developed economy. Research indicated that a mere 2.4% of Russian companies have corporate universities, compared to 28% of European companies. It is worth noting that both in Russia and in Europe, most corporate universities are located in capital cities, with the exception of Germany.
The study's key findings are as follows: a company's capitalisation correlates negatively with the probability that the company will found a corporate university. This is true in the case of both Russia and Europe and may be due to negative investor expectations of returns on such assets, given the high associated risks. Consequently, businesses seeking to attract investors may be less likely to invest in a corporate university.
'Corporate universities create risks for companies. It appears that successful companies tend to consider less risky ways of investing in employee human capital', explains Petr Parshakov, co-author of the study and research fellow at the International Laboratory of Intangible-driven Economy at the HSE campus in Perm.
Another interesting finding concerns proximity to leading classical universities in Russia and in Europe. In Europe, geographical proximity to a conventional university increases the likelihood that a company will found its own corporate university. The opposite is true in Russia, where the likelihood of a corporate university drops by 2% if a conventional university is located nearby.
In addition, the study reveals a common trend: a short-term positive effect of investing in a corporate university is not always sustainable in the long-run. Other variables being equal, the capitalisation of a company with a corporate university is, on average, 271 million euros less than the capitalisation of a company without one. However, at the same time, positive synergy has been observed between corporate and conventional universities in developed economies over an extended period of time.
The findings of the study are useful to companies considering founding a corporate university as part of a human capital development strategy: risks can be mitigated significantly by conducting thorough prior analysis, planning, and assessment of such investments. Russian companies are advised to focus on smaller-scale investments and work on improving the performance of already-existing corporate universities. The authors of the study plan to continue this research by examining investments in corporate universities using non-financial performance indicators, such as their impact on company image and employee retention.

Copyright © 2018 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
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    AZoM / February 5, 2018
    Researchers Discover and Analyze Complex Forms of Defects in Liquid Crystal Droplets
    Жидкие кристаллы - вещества, которые при определенных температурах могут образовывать мезофазу - промежуточное состояние между твердым и жидким, а также менять свойства под воздействием электрического поля. Выделяют два вида таких кристаллов: закрученные в спиральную структуру (холестерические) и вытянутые в нитевую структуру (нематические).
    Ученые из Института физики имени Л.В.Киренского СО РАН, Института инженерной физики и радиоэлектроники СФУ, МГУ и Национального университета Ченг Кунг (Тайвань) изучили капли холестерического жидкого кристалла размером в десятки микрон, у которых формируется дефектная структура в виде двойной закрученной спирали.

A research team from Kirensky Institute of Physics of the Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Science and Siberian Federal University (SibFU) has partnered with Russian and foreign counterparts to investigate the droplets of a cholesteric liquid crystal with a twisted defect loop. The outcomes of the research have been reported in the journal Scientific Reports.
Liquid crystals (LCs) are compounds that move into the mesophase - the state between solid matter and liquid matter - at a specific range of temperatures. Liquid crystals include two conflicting characteristics: their fluidity is similar to that of liquids and their anisotropy of physical characteristics (the difference in characteristics based on direction) is similar to that of solid crystals. These distinctive features are accounted for by orientational order of long molecular axes.
Consequently, although the molecules in an LC stay comparatively mobile, they are oriented in a specific manner regulating anisotropy of characteristics. Molecules might have distinctive orientation, and it may get modified under the impact of an electric field. This is the reason behind the wide-scale usage of LCs in electrical optic devices (for example, display screens).
The researchers analyzed liquid crystals known as chiral nematics or cholesterics. There are a number of rotation axes for each molecule of a liquid crystal. In orientation structures, a principal direction of long molecular axes is known as a director. In cholesterics, a twisted helical structure is formed by the director, indicating that the directions of long molecular axes - and hence their dipole moment - are rotated opposing one another at a specific angle and their ends demarcate a spiral line, or a helix, surrounding the axis of the helicoid.
The strange orientation of LC molecules results in spatial modulation of refraction index of a cholesteric, that is, it gets modified harmonically. When light passes through such a structure, it gets diffracted. The characteristic of propagation of light through a cholesteric LC is governed by the parameters of the helical orientation structure that are based on the characteristics of the liquid crystal and the type of its interaction with the surroundings.
The researchers investigated a cholesteric LC's structure in droplets with a size of tens of microns and including perpendicular directors at the frontier with polymer. As it transpired, the helical structure in several parts of droplets had distinctive helix pitch, or the distances at which the director made a full turn.
"We've studied the structure formed in the droplets of a cholesteric LC in detail, and showed how the droplets look at different aspect directions and droplet sizes using an optical microscope. We've also studied the influence of an electric field on the periodicity structure and the shape of linear defect," stated Mikhail Krakhalev, a co-author of the study, a candidate of physical and mathematical sciences, senior scientific associate of Kirensky Institute of Physics, and the dean of the Chair of General Physics at the Institute of Engineering Physics and Radio Electronics, SibFU.
The scientists demonstrated that a defect in the form of a twisted double helix is formed in the cholesteric droplets. The researchers also investigated the optic compositions of such structures that could be viewed through an optical microscope. As the structures formed in cholesteric droplets are highly complicated, respective optic textures are ascertained by a larger number of factors.
"We've studied and described the correlation between the optical texture of the droplets and their size and the aspect directions. The described structures may help identify similar configurations in other systems, and the approach suggested by us may be used to analyze complex orientation structures."
The study was the fruit of a partnership between researchers from Kirensky Institute of Physics of the Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Science, Lomonosov Moscow State University, and National Cheng Kung University (Taiwan).

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    EurekAlert / 7-Feb-2018
    Russian and Japanese scientists are studying the possibility of correcting bad heredity
    The research was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
    Российские (Уральский федеральный университет) и японские (Университет Хиросимы) ученые изучают явление избирательного уничтожения наследственной информации в организме - генетической элиминации. Планируется провести серию экспериментов по изучению элиминации у лягушек Pelophylax esculentus и Rana japonica. Понимание механизмов этого процесса поможет использовать его для лечения наследственных заболеваний путем уничтожения «ненужных» генов.

The research is aimed at studying the phenomenon of genome elimination in the organism. The essence of this phenomenon is as follows. The organism possesses a genetic system of elimination (selective destruction) of hereditary information. This system is crucial for the survival, reproduction and evolution of species. A vivid example of the elimination of the genome can be observed during the formation of germ cells in a natural frog hybrid Pelophylax esculentus. Natural crossbreading of different species of green European frogs lead to formation of specimen containing the hereditary material of only one of the parents in their genome. This happens due to the fact that one of the parental genomes destroys, and the remaining one is duplicated, as a result we have an individual that is a genetically identical copy of one of its parents. As studies show, this type of reproduction affects the development of the body and leads to a decrease in survival rate in general. Recent discoveries on the study of genome editing systems allow us to take a fresh look at the molecular foundations of this complex, intricate process.
A group of Russian scientists headed by Professor of Ural Federal University Vladimir Vershinin in collaboration with a team of researchers from the Institute for Amphibian Biology of Hiroshima University headed by Professor Ikuo Miura plans to conduct a series of experiments to uncover the mechanisms of genome elimination. The Institute for Amphibian Biology is the only institution in the world with many years of experience, technical capabilities and the necessary tools for the artificial breeding, growth and maturation of adult frogs for generations.
According to Ivan Sitnikov, graduate student of UrFU majoring in Fundamental and Applied Biology, in the summer 2017, the scientists brought to Hiroshima the specimens, for which genetic markers were subsequently allocated. Hybridization was performed and young specimens were obtained; at the moment they are in the Amphibian Biology Center. In the future, researchers plan to study Japanese brown frogs forming hybrids, to compare the data.
'After the completion of the two-year program, it is planned to organize the International Conference in Russia with the participation of Japanese colleagues to discuss results of the study,' said Ivan Sitnikov. 'We assume, the obtained results will confirm the fact that the elimination of the genome is not exceptional, but a universal process that is characteristic for all living systems. Understanding the mechanisms of this process will help to use it in medical purposes, such as the treatment of hereditary diseases by the destruction of "unnecessary" genes.'

Copyright © 2018 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
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    Product Design & Development / Mon, 02/12/2018
    New Piezoelectric Composite Developed at NUST MISIS
    Российские и немецкие ученые разработали гибкий композитный материал с пьезоэлектрическими свойствами на основе полимерных материалов из винилиденфторида и трифторэтилена и наночастиц титаната-цирконата бария-свинца. На сегодняшний день это пьезоэлектрик с наиболее оптимальными свойствами.

NUST MISIS scientists jointly with an international team have developed a composite material with notable piezoelectric properties. The research results were published in Scientific Reports journal.
Piezoelectrics are one of the world`s most amazing materials. It is possible to literally squeeze electricity from them. That is, an electric charge appears at the time of the material`s compression (or stretching). This is called the piezoelectric effect. Piezoelectric materials can be applied in many fields - from pressure sensors and sensitive elements of a microphone to the controller ink pressing in ink-jet printers and quartz resonators.
Lead zirconate titanate is one of the most popular piezoelectric materials. However, it has several disadvantages: it is heavy and inflexible. Additionally, lead production often causes great harm to the environment. That is why scientists are constantly looking for new materials with low lead content as well as with less weight and greater flexibility. In particular, the creation of flexible piezoelectric materials (while maintaining the key properties) would greatly expand piezoelectric materials' possibilities both as acoustic membrane and as pressure sensors.
An international team of scientists from the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany), NUST MISIS, National Research Tomsk State University and the National Research University of Electronic Technology, working with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation (grant 16-19-10112), has managed to create such a material and analyze its properties. For this, the nanoparticles consisting of titanate-zirconate barium-lead were placed in a complex polymer consisting of vinylidene disluoride and trifluoroethylene. By diversifying the composition of the components, scientists were able to get the most ideal composite.
The research's experimental part was carried out with an atomic-force microscope in the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany).
According to Dmitri Kiselev, the developed material has a very distinct field of application due to its polymer component. "Composite materials based on polymer and classic ferroelectrics, which have piezo- and pyroelectric properties, have a number of advantages compared to pure ceramics: low density, the ability to manufacture parts of any size and shape, mechanical elasticity, stability of electrophysical properties, and the simplicity and relatively low cost of production. Additionally, the synthesized composite has proved to be excellent at high pressures which make it an excellent base for pressure sensors."
According to Kiselev, to study the composite they had to modify the standard technique which allowed them to correctly visualize the nanoparticles of ceramics in the volume of the polymer matrix. "In order to capture the electrical signal more clearly, we heated our sample in a certain way from room temperature to 60 degrees Celsius. It allowed us to measure the material's characteristics very qualitatively and reproducibly. Our method will greatly simplify the work of our colleagues in the study of composites, so I hope that it will be in demand among our colleagues."
"It is now easier for Russian scientists to carry out world-class measurements as the MFP 3D Stand alone (Asylum Research) microscope is now available at the NUST MISIS Center for Collaborative Use, hence why we are now actively collaborating with several institutes from the Russian Academy of Sciences as well as other Moscow universities," Kiselev concluded.

© Copyright 2018 Advantage Business Media.
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    Prensa Latina / Feb 13, 2018
    Cuba, Russia Want to Create Geo-informatics Observatory
    Южно-Уральский государственный университет и Университет Гуантанамо (Куба) рассматривают возможность создания совместной геоинформационной обсерватории.

Russia and Cuba will look into creating a geoinformatics observatory, information science applied to geography problems, cartography among others, press reports confirmed today.
According to Radio Taíno, the agreement was reached after a seminar on the subject held at the University of Guantanamo, the easternmost province of the country.
The director of the Ibero-American Russian Center, Berenice Cervantes, reported that after the lectures given by scientists from the Russian State University of the South of the Urals (UESU), the perspective is to work for the creation of an observatory that allows both countries to continue developing research in geosciences.
According to the official, in the exchange, doctors Valentina Maximova, Maxim Jitrin and Anzhar Abdulaev addressed the role of geographic information technologies in the management of territory.
Other topics discussed were the space data infrastructure in global positioning systems and the prediction of dangerous phenomena in geoinformation systems, among others, Cervantes confirmed.
Forum attendees were interested in the use that can be given to geoinformatic systems not only from the scientific field, but also in the practical one, he commented.
On the other hand, Cervantes praised Cuban teachers' insistence in using these systems and analyzing and forecasting risk factors for the Caribbean country such as hurricanes, earthquakes and droughts.

Copyright © 2016 Agencia Informativa Latinoamericana Prensa Latina.
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    Gouvernement Luxembourgeois (Communiqué de presse) / le 15.02.2018
    Étienne Schneider a lancé à Moscou une coopération scientifique dans le domaine de l'espace entre le Luxembourg et la Russie
    14 февраля в Москве состоялось 11-е заседание смешанной комиссии по экономическому сотрудничеству между Россией и Бельгийско-Люксембургским экономическим союзом. Помимо прочего, Россия и Люксембург приняли решение о создании двустороннего совета по научно-техническому сотрудничеству в области авиации и космических исследований.

En date du 14 février 2018, le Vice-Premier ministre, ministre de l'Économie, Étienne Schneider, a mené à Moscou la délégation luxembourgeoise présente lors de la 11e session de la Commission mixte de coopération économique entre l'Union économique belgo-luxembourgeoise (UEBL) et la Fédération de Russie. Étienne Schneider était accompagné d'une délégation commerciale encadrée par des représentants de la Chambre de Commerce. Agissant en tant qu'institution coordinatrice, la Commission mixte est composée de représentants des autorités russe, belge et luxembourgeoise en charge des relations économiques et commerciales dans leurs pays respectifs.
Les discussions au sein de la Commission mixte ont notamment porté sur le renforcement de la coopération dans le domaine de l'innovation et sur l'identification de synergies dans une multitude de secteurs économiques. Afin de consolider la recherche et le développement communs de nouvelles technologies, Étienne Schneider et son homologue russe, le Vice-Premier ministre Dmitry Rogozin ont convenu de créer un "Conseil de la coopération scientifique et technique" au sein duquel seront abordés les écotechnologies, les technologies minières dans des conditions extrêmes et les technologies de l'espace. Lors de leur réunion, Étienne Schneider et Dmitry Rogozin se sont mis d'accord sur une coopération scientifique dans le domaine de l'espace, y compris les aspects liés à l'extraction et l'utilisation des ressources naturelles des corps célestes qui s'inscrivent dans l'initiative SpaceResources.lu.
Afin de favoriser les échanges entre les deux pays, Étienne Schneider et Dmitry Rogozin ont aussi évoqué la possibilité de rétablir une liaison aérienne directe entre Luxembourg et Moscou. Un vol direct répondrait non seulement aux besoins de bon nombre d'entreprises luxembourgeoises actives en Russie et vice-versa, mais aurait également un impact positif en matière de tourisme dans les deux sens.
En marge de la Commission mixte UEBL-Russie, un protocole d'accord a été signé entre l'Agence nationale luxembourgeoise pour la recherche et l'innovation, Luxinnovation, et le centre russe d'innovation, la Fondation Skolkovo, dans le but de renforcer la coopération dans le domaine de l'innovation et des nouvelles technologies.

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    News-Medical.net / February 19, 2018
    Russian researchers develop new multi-layered biodegradable scaffolds
    Ученые из НИТУ «МИСиС» разработали биодеградируемый перевязочный материал на основе нановолокон из поликапролактона в сочетании с антибактериальной пленкой и компонентами плазмы человеческой крови. Повязка из такого материала предотвращает рубцевание, ускоряет регенерацию тканей, к тому же в ходе лечения ее не нужно менять - со временем она «растворяется» в организме без побочных эффектов.

A team of young researchers at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST MISiS) has recently presented its new development - therapeutic material based on nanofibers of polycaprolactone, modified with plasma-deposited thin layers enriched with antibacterial composition and human blood plasma components.
Biodegradable scaffolds made from this material double the speed of the cell regeneration process, thus resulting in full regeneration of damaged tissues as well as the prevention of scarring in cases of severe burns.
One of the most important goals in regenerative medicine, particularly, in burn treatment, is achieving the fast regeneration of damaged tissues and preventing the process from scarring. Scars are formed every time the skin is seriously affected and the damage is not limited to the outer layer of the skin, whether through a cut, a burn, or a skin condition like acne or fungal infection.
Scar tissue mainly consists of unidirectional collagen. It is dramatically different from the tissues that it is replacing, as it has less functional properties. For instance, scars are more sensitive to UV radiation; they lack elasticity. Sweat glands and hair follicles never grow back within scar tissues.
To solve the problem of scarring, researchers from the NUST MISiS' Inorganic Nanomaterials laboratory have developed new multi-layered "scaffolds", made from biodegradable polycaprolactone fibers and multifunctional bioactive nanofibers with pre-determined mechanical properties and with a high level of biocompatibility. Adding antibacterial properties by introducing silver nanoparticles or an antibiotic, and increasing the material's bioactivity by introducing hydrophilic groups (-COOH) and plasma proteins to the new material's surface, researchers gave it some unique healing properties.
The application of scaffolds made from the developed material to the damaged tissues resulted in a significant acceleration in the process of healing, successful regeneration of the normal skin tissue as well as the prevention of any scar formation on the skin that was burnt or damaged. Antibacterial components of multifunctional nanofibers reduce inflammation, while plasma rich with platelets - the most important and universal component of the healing process - stimulates the regeneration of the tissue. As the healing process continues, scaffolds neither need to be removed or nor do they need to be changed - this process usually only causes the patient more pain. After a certain period of time, biodegradable fibers will simply "dissolve" in the body, without causing any side effects.
"Using chemical binding, we created a stable layer that contains blood plasma components (such as growth factors, fibrinogens and other important proteins that promote cell growth) on a polycaprolactone substrate," said Elizaveta Permyakova, one of the project participants, and a postgraduate student working at the laboratory. "Then we used plasma processing to apply a layer of polymers containing carboxylic groups to the surface of the material in order to improve its hydrophilic properties. The obtained layer was then enriched with antibacterial together with protein components."
Together with the Novosibirsk Scientific and Research Institute of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, the development team has already conducted a series of pre-clinical trials. The in vitro test results showed that upon the application of the developed scaffolds the speed of the cell regeneration has doubled. In the near future, the research team will receive the results of in vivo tests as well.

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    Phys.Org / February 20th, 2018
    Scientists develop technology for remote registration of emotional state
    Ученые НИЯУ МИФИ разработали технологию дистанционной бесконтактной регистрации биопараметров человека, в первую очередь тех, которые характеризуют сердечно-сосудистую, дыхательную и нервную системы. Анализ совокупности параметров (всего около пятидесяти) позволяет сделать объективный вывод о текущем функциональном и эмоциональном состоянии человека.

Scientists of the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Russia) have developed a technique for remote, non-contact registration of personal bioparameters, including those characterizing the cardiovascular system, respiratory system and nervous system. The most medically relevant are the heart rate, pressure, frequency and depth of breathing, and level of excitation of the peripheral nervous system. In all, it is possible to measure about 50 parameters, including the parameters of saccades - involuntary movements of the pupils and reaction to external stimuli.
With the help of special software, the analysis of this set of bioparameters allows physicians to make an objective conclusion about the current functional and emotional state of a person. The technology is based on the processing of acoustic and optical information of visible and infrared ranges in a completely passive mode. It means that the subject does not feel any external influence, as the technology records only natural radiation in these spectra.
The data allows physicians to improve the safety operation of dangerous objects - first and foremost, it's about NPPs, chemical production and high-speed vehicles - to a new technological level by continuous monitoring of the current state of control operators and timely identification of persons with inadequate behavior.
In addition, this technology will enhance the effectiveness of educational and training sessions through objective planning of training load, as well as implementation in practice of the so-called biological feedback, allowing the teacher to continuously monitor the current status of each student and to consider this information for a comprehensive evaluation of the obtained professional knowledge and skills.
The solution of the latter problem is of particular relevance in the training of people with disabilities, as well as foreign specialists, for whom language of training is not their native.
"The Department has developed a number of experimental models of software and hardware systems intended to solve problems of this class. The performed studies are complex and can be attributed to a breakthrough," said the Project Manager, leading researcher M. V. Alushin.
Currently the work is supported by the Russian Science Foundation grant "Risk reduction and reduction of consequences of industrial catastrophes due to minimization of human factor influence on reliability and trouble-free operation of nuclear power plants and other dangerous objects" and the Ministry of education and science in the framework of the competitive part of the government assignment for 2017-2019.

© Phys.org 2003-2018, Science X network.
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    EurekAlert / 21-Feb-2018
    New analytical method provides an insight into additional chromosomes
    Ученые из ИМКБ СО РАН, ИЦИГ СО РАН, НГУ и Белградского университета (Сербия) исследовали особенности так называемых малых добавочных хромосом (представляющих собой копию не целой хромосомы, а ее небольшого участка) у человека и двух видов мышей и предложили метод, позволяющий определить, какая именно часть генома присутствует на этой добавочной хромосоме.

A new technique promises to identify additional chromosomes involved in carcinogenesis. A method for analyzing additional chromosomes was proposed by a team of scientists at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Institute of Cytology and Genetics (Siberian branch of Russian Academy of Sciences), NSU Laboratory of Structural, Functional and Comparative Genomics and the University of Belgrade (Serbia) and published in the journal Chromosoma.
Researchers studied the composition of supernumerary human chromosomes and the chromosomes in two mice species. In most animals, the number of chromosomes is stable and one of the most important characteristics of the species. For example, a person has 23 pairs of chromosomes, and a house mouse has 20. However, for some species this number is unstable due to the presence of supernumerary, or additional, chromosomes. Among these species are the common fox, raccoon dog, Siberian roe deer and many species of rodents. Additional chromosomes are also found in some humans with a probability of 1 in 2000. Unlike animals in which the presence of additional chromosomes does not appear, 30% of people who are carriers have developmental abnormalities. This is assumed to be because of supernumerary copies of genes contained in these chromosomes.
Alexey Makunin, Candidate of Biological Sciences at the ICG Laboratory of Animal Cytogenetics Laboratory, talked about this work. In our study, small (or thin) additional chromosomes in a human are examined. The principal difference from classical chromosomal pathologies is that an additional copy of a small area is not found on the whole chromosome. The value of the study is that the method we developed identifies which part of the genome is present on the additional chromosome. For example, for Down's syndrome, the presence of an extra chromosome 21 can be identified using classical methods. We are focusing on more complex cases, more unusual variants of additional chromosomes such as the restructuring in carcinogenesis (formation of malignant tumors). Further development of these tools can be used in both medical and evolutionary genetics.
The study of additional chromosomes is usually complicated by the fact that their DNA is a duplicated portion of the main set of chromosomes. The most frequent additional human microchromosome is a small fragment of chromosome 15. Therefore, when studying a complete genome, these chromosomes merge with the background variability of the main genome. This limitation can be bypassed using microdissection, in which a separate chromosome or even a fragment of one is scratched from the slide with a thin glass needle.
The authors of this study examined additional chromosomes in humans, a yellow-throated mouse (Apodemus flavicollis), and an East Asian mouse (Apodemus peninsulae). Sequencing of individual chromosomes made it possible to ascertain the DNA composition of additional chromosomes and, most importantly, to accurately identify the boundaries of duplicated regions of the genome. It demonstrated that an additional human microchromosome contains a region of chromosome 15 bounded by highly repetitive DNA centromeres (alpha-satellites), between which an illegal recombination seemed to occur. Additional chromosomes of two mice species consist of a whole set of fragments from the main genome, including genes: 38 in the yellow-throated mouse and 32 in the East Asian mouse. However, the composition of these chromosomes cannot be considered completely random. In both species, enrichment with genes associated with the cytoskeleton and control of the cell cycle was observed. The kinase gene Vrk1 is common in the additional chromosome, phosphorylating the apoptosis protein p53. Earlier kinase-regulators of the cell cycle were found in additional chromosomes and other mammalian species. According to the authors' hypothesis, these copies of genes can contribute to the preservation and accumulation of additional chromosomes. The work performed demonstrates that genetic diversity is determined by a complex combination of random and directed processes. Understanding of the non-essential genome elements content provides important insights into genome evolution in general.

Copyright © 2018 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
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    ScienceNewsline / February 28, 2018
    Dyes for 'Live' Extremophile Labeling Will Help Discover Life on Mars
    Российские и германские исследователи нашли подходящий флуоресцентный краситель, который позволяет наблюдать за жизнью микроорганизмов в реальном времени и в естественной среде (вплоть до экстремальных марсианских условий), а также получать четкие изображения.

Researchers from MIPT and their colleagues from Research Center Juelich (Germany) and Dmitry Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia have described a new method for studying microorganisms that can survive in extreme conditions. The scientists identified a fluorescent dye that enabled them to observe the life cycle of bacteria in real time.
Halophiles, which is the ancient Greek for "salt-loving," are microorganisms that thrive in high salt concentrations. Their ability to survive in hostile environments makes halophiles important scientific objects, for both theoretical and applied studies. This line of enquiry may eventually facilitate the search for extraterrestrial life, shed light on the history of the Earth, and provide data sought by biotech specialists. The authors of the paper, who work at MIPT's Laboratory for Advanced Studies of Membrane Proteins, point out that these organisms can be used for many purposes, including cleaning up oil spills. However, this research is facing a number of obstacles, not least of them being that microbiological experiments are technically quite challenging.
To study microorganisms in their natural environment, dyes are required - ideally, selective ones. With their help, much more data can be obtained, compared to when an unstained medium is examined. However, well-established fluorescent labels and antibodies that dyes use to bind with a given substance often fail to work in salty environments. Additional difficulties are posed by the halophiles' thick membrane.
"Despite all the hard work, scientists have so far been unable to find a substance that would enable them to observe these organisms 'live,' the way they really are. Instead, bacteria had to undergo harmful preparation," says Ivan Maslov, a fifth-year MIPT student and co-author of the study.
In the new paper published in Scientific Reports, the international research team described a solution to this issue. Their experiments showed that there is no need to synthesize new types of dyes: Previously created substances for labeling mitochondria in eukaryotic cells demonstrated positive results in halophiles as well.
Note: There are two major types of cells: prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Prokaryotes, represented by bacteria, lack nuclei, and other membrane-bound structures. Eukaryotes - animal, plant, and fungal cells - have nuclei and various organelles. Among them are mitochondria, which are used to generate adenosine triphosphate molecules - a universal energy source consumed in various cellular processes. Interestingly, the modern view on the subject suggests that mitochondria were originally free-living bacteria and only later became symbionts of eukaryotic cells. Even now, they still have their own DNA.
MitoTracker dyes proved to be successful in staining a wide range of microorganisms: Halobacterium salinarium, Haloferax sp., Halorubrum sp., Salicola sp., and Halomonas sp. (the letters "sp" mean "one of the species"). The experiments conducted by the researchers demonstrated that it is possible not only to obtain clear photos and keep count of the cells, but also to observe the transformation of Halobacterium salinarium. When exposed to hostile chemical treatment, the cells changed their shape: From rod-shaped, they turned into spheres. The team even made a video recording of that process.
The new method will be effective in labeling microorganisms in their natural environment, be it in a saline deposit on Earth or in a Martian soil sample retrieved by a rover. It will also help study the behavior of these bacteria with minimum distortions of the results.
"Halophiles are often found in ancient saline deposits that have been building up for millions of years. Our method helps locate these organisms in mineral formations and study them. This can shed light on the origin of life on Earth. According to one theory, life was brought to our planet from elsewhere in the form of bacteria," comments Valentin Borshchevskiy, lead author of the study and deputy head of the Laboratory for Advanced Studies of Membrane Proteins, MIPT.

© ScienceNewsline.com.
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