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University of Colorado


— Medical

Light-activated quantum dots successfully combat drug-resistant bacteria

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are an increasingly big problem for global health. They kill in excess of 23,000 people in the US every year, with their ability to rapidly develop an immunity to antibiotic treatments making them extremely difficult to eradicate. Now, new research being conducted at the University of Colorado Boulder has found that tiny light-activated particles known as quantum dots might be useful in tackling the infections.

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— Medical

Implantable device hits targeted brain cells with light and drugs when triggered remotely

The field of optogenetics where individual brains cells are made to behave differently when exposed to light has wide-ranging potential. It may one day be used to reverse acquired blindness, alter pain thresholds and even hit the rest button on our biological clocks. With one eye on this emerging area of neuroscience, scientists have developed a device the width of a human hair that can be planted in the brain to deliver light or drugs only where needed, offering better targeted treatments and reduced side effects.

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— Space

Aurora and high altitude dust cloud detected in Martian atmosphere

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has detected two unexpected phenomena in the short time since making orbit around the red planet – an aurora occurring deep in the Martian atmosphere, and an as of yet unexplained high altitude dust cloud. MAVEN is currently four months into a primary mission lasting one Earth year, during which time it is attempting to shed light on the characteristics of the Martian upper atmosphere and ionosphere, studying how they interact with our Sun. Read More
— Medical

Resveratrol in red wine could help cut alcohol-related cancer risk

With the festive season upon us, many people will indulge in more alcohol than usual. The health risks of binge drinking (and embarrassing Christmas party behavior) aside, alcohol consumption is also a major risk factor for some cancers, including head, neck, esophageal, liver, breast and colorectal cancer. However, in a spot of good news, a recent study from the University of Colorado suggests that the chemical resveratrol found in grape skins and in red wine can help block the cancer-causing effects of alcohol. Read More
— Space

Raise shields: Protective invisible barrier found surrounding Earth

The idea of putting a Star Trek-like force field around the entire Earth seems like the fodder for a fairly silly science fiction epic out of the 1930s, but according to space scientists, such a barrier already exists. Discovered by a pair of NASA space probes, the natural shield protects the Earth and near-Earth satellites from so-called "killer electrons" with a precision that cuts it off like a wall of glass. Read More
— Space

New study highlights the importance of understanding sleep deprivation in astronauts

The recently-released results of a study carried out by researchers from the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and the University of Colorado have revealed the extent of the sleep deprivation suffered by astronauts over the course of a long-term mission in Earth-orbit. This study and others like it are the result of an increasing effort undertaken by agencies around the world to study the physiological and psychological impacts of a permanent human presence in space. Read More
— Space

High-altitude rocket looks for clues on emerging stars

In an experiment designed to look for the fundamental building blocks of matter in the dust clouds of interstellar space, NASA recently launched a high-altitude sounding rocket containing the Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph (CHESS) payload. Enabling scientists to carry out the most comprehensive single instrument study of its type ever conducted, the research promises to give new insights into the formation of stars. Read More
— Good Thinking

Waste-cooking solar toilet unveiled in India

A toilet project that addresses environmental and health concerns was unveiled in Delhi, India this month. Around 2.5 billion people in the world lack proper sanitation, and it’s with those people in mind that a team at the University of Colorado Boulder has designed a self-contained, solar-powered, waterless toilet. It was made possible with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Read More
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