Diamonds, it has long been said, are a girl’s best friend. But a research team including a physicist from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has recently found* that the gems might turn out to be a patient’s best friend as well.

The team’s work has the long-term goal of developing quantum computers, but it has borne fruit that may have more immediate application in medical science. Their finding that a candidate “quantum bit” has great sensitivity to magnetic fields hints that MRI-like devices that can probe individual drug molecules and living cells may be possible.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers are reporting the first detailed molecular snapshots of a deadly gastrointestinal virus as it is caught in the grasp of an immune system molecule with the capacity to destroy it. The images could help scientists design a more effective vaccine against rotavirus, a lethal infection that kills more than 500,000 children worldwide each year. The discovery is timely.

The shapes of some of the tiniest cellular structures are coming into sharper focus at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus, where scientists have developed a new imaging technology that produces the best three-dimensional resolution ever seen with an optical microscope.

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This news service is provided by Good Samaritan Institute, located in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

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