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3Episodes
Category: Science & Medicine

A fun take on the latest science news with enough data to sink your teeth into. Lagrange Point goes beyond the glossy summary and gets in depth with the research from across the world.

October 29, 2018

Episode 298 - Self healing materials, scratch tests and the crockmeter

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Self healing materials sound like science fiction, but how can we turn them into a reality? What does self healing even mean? We dive into the material science of self healing systems to find out what mechanism are used and how you can make a material heal. Plus we find out how you can make a self healing material out of common plastics using one of the weakest forces. Plus how scientists test and assess different materials including using....a crockmeter.

References:

  1. Marek W. Urban, Dmitriy Davydovich, Ying Yang, Tugba Demir, Yunzhi Zhang, Leah Casabianca. Key-and-lock commodity self-healing copolymersScience, 2018; 362 (6411): 220 DOI: 10.1126/science.aat2975
  2. Linqian Feng, Beatrice (Nadia) Benhamida, Chen-Yuan Lu, Li Piin Sung, Pierre Morel, Andrew T. Detwiler, Jon M. Skelly, Leslie T. Baker, Deepanjan Bhattacharya. Fundamentals and characterizations of scratch resistance on automotive clearcoatsProgress in Organic Coatings, 2018; 125: 339 DOI: 10.1016/j.porgcoat.2018.09.011
October 22, 2018

Episode 297 - Antibiotic superweapons - hunter killer cells, dream teams and evolutionary history

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Making new treatments often starts by finding out just what building blocks you have. But what if you could use the blocks with whole new sets? What if you could see how the blocks changed between owners? What about making your own brand new blocks? When fighting bacteria, we need every tool we can get. This week we find out about some great ways to take the fight back to bacteria in new and interesting ways from artificial cells, or new combinations of treatments, even to tracking the way bacteria changes over aeons.

References:

  1. Emily J. Richardson, Rodrigo Bacigalupe, Ewan M. Harrison, Lucy A. Weinert, Samantha Lycett, Manouk Vrieling, Kirsty Robb, Paul A. Hoskisson, Matthew T. G. Holden, Edward J. Feil, Gavin K. Paterson, Steven Y. C. Tong, Adebayo Shittu, Willem van Wamel, David M. Aanensen, Julian Parkhill, Sharon J. Peacock, Jukka Corander, Mark Holmes, J. Ross Fitzgerald. Gene exchange drives the ecological success of a multi-host bacterial pathogen. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2018; 2 (9): 1468 DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0617-0
  2. Elif Tekin, Cynthia White, Tina Manzhu Kang, Nina Singh, Mauricio Cruz-Loya, Robert Damoiseaux, Van M. Savage, Pamela J. Yeh. Prevalence and patterns of higher-order drug interactions in Escherichia coli. npj Systems Biology and Applications, 2018; 4 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41540-018-0069-9
  3. Yunfeng Ding, Luis E. Contreras-Llano, Eliza Morris, Michelle Mao, Cheemeng Tan. Minimizing Context Dependency of Gene Networks Using Artificial Cells. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2018; DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b10029
October 15, 2018

Lagrange Point Episode 296 - Fighting back against hayfever, what histamines do for you, stopping travellers sickness

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A change of seasons means you may be sniffling, sneezing and having teary eyes. So why do our bodies sometimes cause such an over the top response to pollen? We dive into the science behind hay fever, what histamine even does for you, and how it's helping you in more ways than you realise. Plus we find out what's being done to deliver a 1,2,3 blow to Traveller's Diarrhoea.

References:

  1. Alessandra Misto, Gustavo Provensi, Valentina Vozella, Maria Beatrice Passani, Daniele Piomelli. Mast Cell-Derived Histamine Regulates Liver Ketogenesis via Oleoylethanolamide Signaling. Cell Metabolism, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.09.014
  2. Caroline B.K. Mathiesen, Michael C. Carlsson, Stephanie Brand, Svenning Rune Möller, Manja Idorn, Per thor Straten, Anders E. Pedersen, Sally Dabelsteen, Adnan Halim, Peter Adler Würtzen, Jens Brimnes, Henrik Ipsen, Bent L. Petersen, Hans H. Wandall. Genetically engineered cell factories produce glycoengineered vaccines that target antigen-presenting cells and reduce antigen-specific T-cell reactivity. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2018.07.030
  3. Renee M. Laird, Zuchao Ma, Nelum Dorabawila, Brittany Pequegnat, Eman Omari, Yang Liu, Alexander C. Maue, Steven T. Poole, Milton Maciel, Kavyashree Satish, Christina L. Gariepy, Nina M. Schumack, Annette L. McVeigh, Frédéric Poly, Cheryl P. Ewing, Michael G. Prouty, Mario A. Monteiro, Stephen J. Savarino, Patricia Guerry. Evaluation of a conjugate vaccine platform against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), Campylobacter jejuni and Shigella. Vaccine, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.09.052

 

October 8, 2018

Episode 295 - Powerful and precise Lasers - Nobel Prize in Physics ‘18

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Laser are used in some many things around us from computer storage, discs, communication, medical scanning and even laser surgery. Turning lasers from an expensive tool in the exclusive hands of large laboratories to something people all over the world can simply and easily use required groundbreaking physics. As did turning a laser into a pair of precise tweezers. For that groundbreaking research Arthur Ashkin, Gerad Morou and Donna Strickland won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2018. We find out about lasers, how they're used and how they were made powerful and precise.

References:

  1. Ashkin, A. (1997) Optical trapping and manipulation of neutral particles using lasers,
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 94, pp. 4853–4860
  2. Strickland, D. and Mourou, G. (1985) Compression of Amplified Chirped Optical Pulses,
    Optics Communications , Vol. 56, Nr 3
  3. How Lasers Work. (2018). Retrieved from https://lasers.llnl.gov/education/how_lasers_work
  4. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, The Nobel Committee for Physics. (2018, October). Tools made of light [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.nobelprize.org/uploads/2018/10/popular-physicsprize2018.pdf
  5. Image Credit: Baxley/JILA, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) frequency comb, 2012
October 1, 2018

Episode 294 - What is the biggest bird; Island Giants and dwarfs.

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What is the biggest bird? Why do some species in some locations end up becoming giants? What makes islands like Madagascar so special and why are so many of the species once found there so very large in size? This week we look at island gigantism and island dwarfism across the world with a focus on the giant Elephant birds of Madagascar.

References:

  1. James P. Hansford, Samuel T. Turvey. Unexpected diversity within the extinct elephant birds (Aves: Aepyornithidae) and a new identity for the world's largest birdRoyal Society Open Science, 2018; 5 (9): 181295 DOI: 10.1098/rsos.181295
  2. James Hansford, Patricia C. Wright, Armand Rasoamiaramanana, Ventura R. Pérez, Laurie R. Godfrey, David Errickson, Tim Thompson, Samuel T. Turvey. Early Holocene human presence in Madagascar evidenced by exploitation of avian megafaunaScience Advances, 2018; 4 (9): eaat6925 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat6925