earimplant.jpgCornell bioengineers and physicians have created an artificial ear that looks and acts like a natural ear, giving new hope to thousands of children born with a congenital deformity called microtia.

In a study published online Feb. 20 in PLOS One, Cornell biomedical engineers and Weill Cornell Medical College physicians described how 3-D printing and injectable gels made of living cells can fashion ears that are practically identical to a human ear. Over a three-month period, these flexible ears grew cartilage to replace the collagen that was used to mold them.

MeaslesNeedles.jpgMeasles vaccine given with painless and easy-to-administer microneedle patches can immunize against measles at least as well as vaccine given with conventional hypodermic needles, according to research done by the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the study, the researchers developed a technique to dry and stabilize the measles vaccine – which depends on a live attenuated virus – and showed that it remained effective for at least 30 days after being placed onto the microneedles. They also demonstrated that the dried vaccine was quickly released in the skin and able to prompt a potent immune response in an animal model.

best in science, biology, stem cells— By Charlie Feigenoff

Fat may carry negative connotations in today's world, but the stem cells found in fat tissue may prove valuable for their potential to heal wounds.

As Shayn Peirce-Cottler, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia, describes them, they are hard-working and tough. Although these adult stem cells lack the infinite plasticity of embryonic stem cells, they can be used for therapeutic purposes without raising the ethical issues that have made stem cell research so controversial. And, as Peirce-Cottler has found in the course of a series of collaborations with Dr. Adam Katz, an associate professor of plastic surgery, their healing powers are considerable.

biology, stem cells, pluripotencyMolecules that replace, sustain pluripotency factors make "non-permissive" mouse strains yield stable embryonic stem cells

by Monya Baker

Embryos from nonobese diabetic mice don't yield stable embryonic stem cells, which make the mice unsuitable for several sorts of experiments. New research reveals not only how to generate these stem cells but also how to toggle between different states of pluripotency.

biology, transcription factors, chromatic remodellerby Monya Baker

Two transcription factors and a chromatin remodeller help make mouse cardiomyocytes

Ever since researchers turned cultured cells into muscle, scientists have been searching for ways to do something similar to make heart cells.1 That's because, at least in the developed world, heart disease kills more people than anything else — in part because adult hearts are not able to replace damaged cells. Now, Jun Takeuchi and Benoit Bruneau at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco have found that adding cardiac-specific genes to developing mouse embryos can make even some extra-embryonic parts become beating cardiomyocytes2.

best in science, biology, endometrium, animal cloning, embryoby Mariano Loza Coll

The endometrium can differentiate between embryos generated by various technologies

Animal cloning could be a boon for the biotechnology and agricultural industries if only more livestock survived. Even though the percent of pregnancies initiated for cloned cow embryos is similar to that seen using other assisted fertilization techniques, only 7% of these embryos survive to be 150-day-old calves. The rest perish throughout pregnancy or soon after birth due to placental malformations. Two research groups have now demonstrated that the cow uterus reacts differently to embryos generated by cloning and by in vitro fertilization.

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

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