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18th April 2017
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News

Biobots on the move

Cath O’Driscoll, 18/04/2017

‘Today we build things from plastics and polymers and wood and silicon, but one day we could be building them from living cells,’ said Rashid Bashir, professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, speaking at AAAS meeting in Boston in February.

Bottled sunshine

Cath O'Driscoll, 18/04/2017

Scientists have hit on a way to ‘bottle’ the energy in sunlight and store it for later use, they reported at the ACS meeting in San Francisco. The ‘bionic leaf’ technology uses bacteria, sunlight, water and air to make fertiliser directly in the soil where crops are grown, and could allow crops to grow and flourish at low light levels – or even in the dark.

Diesel from plastic waste

Cath O'Driscoll, 18/04/2017

Lifelong sailor James Holm admits he was literally moved to tears a few years ago when he saw the extent of the plastic pollution on a remote island off the coast of Panama. Now, Holm and chemist Swaminathan Ramesh of EcoFuel Technologies have joined forces to develop a solution to the problem – a mobile technology to transform plastic waste to produce hydrocarbon fuel.

Lighting up damage

Cath O'Driscoll, 18/04/2017

Bridges, planes and ships are all liable to weaken and degrade over time. But green laser light could detect structural damage far earlier than other non-destructive testing (NDT) methods. According to researchers speaking at the ACS meeting in San Francisco in April. It could warn of danger sooner.

Re-educating T cells for combat

Cath O'Driscoll, 18/04/2017

Researchers have restored the power of movement to paralysed mice, they reported at the ACS meeting in San Francisco in April – by re-educating wayward immune cells to stop attacking the protective sheath that insulates nerve cells in the brain. The approach may one day help to combat MS and other autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes.

UK science in the balance

Kathryn Roberts, 18/04/2017

Article 50 has been triggered. And with it come many questions abound on the future of research and innovation in the UK as the country enters a period of inevitable change and uncertainty. Will Brexit open up opportunities for collaborative innovation beyond the EU or will it dampen it? Could Brexit be the catalyst the country needs to exploit and nurture its strong and internationally renowned science base, and importantly encourage world class talent to come, not leave, the UK?