Bioengineering

Stanford engineers developing miniature wireless device to create better way of studying chronic pain

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A team of Stanford engineers is creating a small wireless device that will improve studies of chronic pain. The engineers hope to use what they learn to develop better therapies for the condition, which costs the economy $600 billion a year.

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Wireless device to study pain
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Stanford engineers are creating a small wireless device to improve studies of chronic pain

Ada Poon, a Stanford assistant professor of electrical engineering, is a master at building minuscule wireless devices that function in the body and can be powered remotely. Now, she and collaborators in bioengineering and anesthesia want to leverage this technology to develop a way of studying – and eventually developing treatments for – pain.

Last modified Wed, 8 Oct, 2014 at 13:59

Stanford researchers create 'evolved' protein that may stop cancer from spreading

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Experimental therapy stopped the metastasis of breast and ovarian cancers in lab mice, pointing toward a safe and effective alternative to chemotherapy.

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Protein May Stop Cancer's Spread
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Experimental therapy stopped the metastasis of breast and ovarian cancers in lab mice, pointing toward an alternative to chemotherapy.

A team of Stanford researchers has developed a protein therapy that disrupts the process that causes cancer cells to break away from original tumor sites, travel through the bloodstream and start aggressive new growths elsewhere in the body.

This process, known as metastasis, can cause cancer to spread with deadly effect.

Last modified Thu, 25 Sep, 2014 at 10:12

Stanford bioengineers develop a toolkit for designing more successful synthetic molecules

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Synthetic molecules hold great potential for revealing key processes that occur in cells, but the trial-and-error approach to their design has limited their effectiveness. Christina Smolke introduces a computer model that could provide better blueprints for building synthetic genetic tools.

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Improving Synthetic Genetic Tools
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Bioengineer Christina Smolke introduces a computer model that could provide better blueprints for building synthetic molecules.

Ever since Robert Hooke first described cells in 1665, scientists have been trying to figure out what is going on inside. One of the most exciting modern techniques involves injecting cells with synthetic genetic molecules that can passively report on the cell's behavior, or even alter its function.

A new computer model developed by Stanford engineers could not only improve the sensitivity and success of these synthetic molecules but also make them easier to design in the first place.

Last modified Tue, 16 Sep, 2014 at 9:53

Optogenetics earns Stanford professor Karl Deisseroth the Keio prize in medicine

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An idea that started as a long shot – using light to control the activity of the brain – is now widely used at Stanford and worldwide to understand the brain's wiring and to unravel behavior.

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Deisseroth honored for optogenetics
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Bioengineering professor wins Keio Medical Science Prize for work using light to control brain activity.

Today optogenetics is a widely accepted technology for probing the inner workings of the brain, but a decade ago it was the source of some anxiety for then assistant professor of bioengineering Karl Deisseroth.

Last modified Fri, 12 Sep, 2014 at 15:09

Stanford scientists reveal complexity in the brain's wiring diagram

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A Stanford Bio-X team found that the brain's wiring is more complex than expected – one set of neural wires can trigger different reactions, depending on how it fires. The work opens new questions for scientists trying to map the brain's connections.

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Brain's Complex Wiring Diagramed
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A Stanford Bio-X team found that the brain's wiring is more complex than expected.

When Joanna Mattis started her doctoral project she expected to map how two regions of the brain connect. Instead, she got a surprise. It turns out the wiring diagram shifts depending on how you flip the switch.

"There's a lot of excitement about being able to make a map of the brain with the idea that if we could figure out how it is all connected we could understand how it works," Mattis said. "It turns out it's so much more dynamic than that."

Last modified Wed, 3 Sep, 2014 at 15:44

Eye implant developed at Stanford could lead to better glaucoma treatments

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Reducing internal eye pressure is currently the only way to treat glaucoma. A tiny eye implant developed by Stephen Quake's lab could pair with a smartphone to improve the way doctors measure and reduce a patient's eye pressure.

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Implant Could Help Treat Glaucoma
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Eye implant developed at Stanford could help regulate pressure inside the eye.

For the 2.2 million Americans battling glaucoma, the main course of action for staving off blindness involves weekly visits to eye specialists who monitor – and control – increasing pressure within the eye.

Bioengineer Stephen Quake and collaborators have developed an eye implant that could help stave off blindness caused by glaucoma.

Last modified Mon, 25 Aug, 2014 at 12:32

Stanford bioengineers close to brewing painkillers without using opium from poppies

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A decade-long effort in genetic engineering is close to creating yeast that makes palliative medicines in stainless steel vats.

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Painkillers without opium
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Stanford bioengineers are close to creating yeast that makes palliative medicines.

For centuries poppy plants have been grown to provide opium, the compound from which morphine and other important medicines such as oxycodone are derived.

Now bioengineers at Stanford have hacked the DNA of yeast and reprogrammed these simple cells to make opioid-based medicines through a sophisticated extension of the basic brewing process that makes beer.

Last modified Mon, 25 Aug, 2014 at 9:32

Stanford bioengineer named a top innovator by Technology Review

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Manu Prakash honored for 'frugal science' initiatives, creating instruments that make scientific exploration inexpensive.

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Prakash named top innovator
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Technology Review honors bioengineer Manu Prakash for 'frugal science.'

Technology Review has named Manu Prakash, assistant professor of bioengineering, to its annual TR35 list honoring the year’s top young innovators. The magazine honored Prakash for greatly reducing the cost of scientific exploration through his numerous inventions such as a 55-cent folding microscope and a $5 chemistry lab.

Last modified Wed, 20 Aug, 2014 at 11:04

Stanford bioengineers create remote-controlled nanoscale protein motors

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A team led by Assistant Professor Zev Bryant builds molecular motors to further the study of cell function.

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Molecular Motors
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Stanford bioengineers create remote-controlled nanoscale protein motors.

In every cell in your body, tiny protein motors are toiling away to keep you going. Moving muscles, dividing cells, twisting DNA – they are the workhorses of biology. But there is still uncertainty about how they function. To help biologists in the quest to know more, a team of Stanford bioengineers has designed a suite of protein motors that can be controlled remotely by light.

Last modified Tue, 5 Aug, 2014 at 10:00

Drew Endy discusses what bioengineers should be vibrating about

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At TEDx Stanford, the associate professor of bioengineering talks about where genetic engineering should be going.

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Good Vibrations
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Associate Professor Drew Endy discusses what bioengineers should be buzzing about.

 

In a talk at TEDx Stanford, Drew Endy, associate professor of bioengineering talks about the potential of bioengineering and the challenge of deciding how to use it.

Last modified Thu, 26 Jun, 2014 at 13:20