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University of Alberta

Science

Scientists use laser to "weld" neurons together

Whether it's as a research tool or a step in repairing severed nerves, the ability to join neurons together has some serious applications. If left to occur naturally, the process takes several hours, limiting its practicality. Now, however, scientists at the University of Alberta's Faculty of Engineering have developed a method of doing so within 15 milliseconds.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Egg yolk extract could allow people with celiac disease to eat gluten

If you or someone you know has celiac disease, then you'll know how much it can limit one's diet. Because people with the autoimmune condition have a negative reaction to the gluten in grains such as wheat, rye or barley, that means they can't consume many baked goods, pastas, liquors, or any number of processed foods that use wheat as a binding agent. Soon, however, they may be able to eat whatever they want – if they take a new egg-based supplement first.Read More

Near perfect poker playing software will clean you out

Every poker player will have wished they had just a little more insight into a hand at some point. A new piece of software created by the Computer Poker Research Group at the University of Alberta, however, has no such crises of confidence. Cepheus has "solved" heads-up limit Texas hold 'em.Read More

Electronics

Magic Finger turns any surface into a touch interface

A trip on public transport or to the local coffee shop might give the impression that touchscreens are everywhere, but scientists at Autodesk Research of the University of Alberta and the University of Toronto are looking to take the ubiquity of touch interfaces to the next level. They are developing a “Magic Finger” that allows any surface to detect touch input by shifting the touch technology from the surface to the wearer’s finger. Read More

Mini-lab promises affordable on-site DNA-based testing

A genetic testing mini-lab developed by researchers at the University of Alberta to set to begin commercial trials within a year. The Domino system provides a portable, cheap and powerful alternative to conventional laboratories that delivers a range of point-of-care diagnostic possibilities including tests for blood borne diseases such as malaria and those affecting farm animals. Read More

Science

Researchers may have discovered how memories are encoded in the brain

While it’s generally accepted that memories are stored somewhere, somehow in our brains, the exact process has never been entirely understood. Strengthened synaptic connections between neurons definitely have something to do with it, although the synaptic membranes involved are constantly degrading and being replaced – this seems to be somewhat at odds with the fact that some memories can last for a person’s lifetime. Now, a team of scientists believe that they may have figured out what’s going on. Their findings could have huge implications for the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer's.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

New vaccine is effective against all major strains of hepatitis C

Although the existence of hepatitis C had been postulated in the 1970s, it wasn’t until 1989 that a team led by Michael Houghton identified the virus. Often being asymptomatic, it is estimated between 130 – 170 million people worldwide are infected with the virus that can lead to scarring of the liver and cirrhosis. Although treatment with medication is available, it isn’t effective in all cases and between 20 to 30 percent of those infected with hepatitis C develop some form of liver disease. Now Houghton and a team at the University of Alberta have developed a vaccine from a single strain that is effective against all known strains of the disease.Read More

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