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a. Rice researchers have developed a ruthenium-based complex able to track the formation of soluble amyloid beta peptide aggregates implicated in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Photo by Jeff Fitlow b. A ruthenium-based tag developed at Rice takes advantage of fluorescent anisotropy to measure the rotation of amyloid beta oligomers as they grow in solution. Small aggregates rotate fast, while large oligomers rotate slowly, a characteristic that lets researchers watch as they grow. Amyloid beta oligomers are toxic to neurons and implicated as a possible cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Courtesy of the Angel Martí Group

Shedding new light on Alzheimer’s cause

Rice scientists synthesize fluorescent ruthenium tags to track toxic amyloids in lab.
At top, a sequence shows the design of thio-caged dyes designed at Rice University to be triggered by visible light. At bottom, confocal and super-resolution imaging of a lipid droplet in living adipocytes incubated with BODIPY (green), SNile Red (red) and Hoechst 33342 (blue), followed by photoactivation using a 561-nanometer laser. Scale bar: 10 µm. Scale bar for super-resolution image of lipid droplet labeled with SNile Red, bottom right: 1 µm. Courtesy of the Xiao Lab

One-atom switch supercharges fluorescent dyes

Rice University lab discovers simple technique to make biocompatible ‘turn-on’ dyes.

Astronomers observed two dwarf planets with gas disk around them

Using Earth’s most powerful array of radio telescopes, astronomers have made the first observations of two dwarf planets with the gas disk around them.
Credit: Brandon Martin/Rice University

A ‘watch’ called EpiWear features a built-in Epinephrine Shot

If you're someone who is prone to some harmful allergic reactions, then carrying an epinephrine shot such as an EpiPen could be life-preserving. But...
Be yourself at work — it’s healthier and more productive

Be yourself at work — it’s healthier and more productive

Being yourself at the workplace is healthier and brings work efficiency, suggests a new study. It allows people to improve connections, form relationships with...
Men spend more for Valentine's Day

Men spend more for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day is like an annual festival to celebrate love and admiration. Every year on 14 February people celebrate this day by sending messages...
In this structural model for a beta-lactamase protein, catalytic residues are shown as spheres with those that are consistently highly frustrated along the entire beta-lactamase family shown in red and those for which the frustrated state is not conserved in yellow. The new work by scientists at Rice University, the University of Buenos Aires and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory suggests these enzymes, which must remain exposed to react with their targets, get a measure of protection from the somewhat-frustrated amino acids around them. The green lines represent minimal frustration, the red lines represent high frustration. The linear charts at top and bottom show the positions of the relevant amino acids on the protein chain and a measure of the conservation of energy over the entire beta-lactamases protein family. Illustration by Maria Feiberger

Working proteins make good use of frustration

Proteins- active sites of enzymes- accelerates and guide biochemical reactions make life possible. To do this, their instructions have to conflict somewhat with the...
A new model by Rice University researchers details a direct connection between gene expression and metabolism and how cancer cells take advantage of it to adapt to hostile environments, a process known as metabolic plasticity. Illustration by Dongya Jia

Cancer cells’ plasticity makes them harder to stop

Metabolic plasticity enables cancer cells to switch their metabolism phenotypes between glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) during tumorigenesis and metastasis. However, it is still...
A new study by Rice University scientists Cin-Ty Lee (left), Gelu Costin (second from left), Ming Tang (second from right) and Hehe Jiang (right), and by China University of Geosciences’ collaborator Kang Chen (center) determined that Earth’s continental crust formed deep beneath continental arcs like the Andes Mountains. (Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

Earth’s continental nurseries discovered beneath mountains

Geoscientists at the Rice University have found an answer of one of Earth science’s fundamental questions: Where do continents form? Scientists compared niobium, one of Earth’s...