Bioengineering

Stanford bioengineers develop a toolkit for designing more successful synthetic molecules

Print view
Type: 
Research News

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.

Slug: 
Improving Synthetic Genetic Tools
Short Dek: 
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

Print view
Type: 
Research News

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.

Slug: 
Deisseroth honored for optogenetics
Short Dek: 
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

Print view
Type: 
Research News

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.

Slug: 
Brain's Complex Wiring Diagramed
Short Dek: 
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

Print view
Type: 
Research News

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.

Slug: 
Implant Could Help Treat Glaucoma
Short Dek: 
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

Print view
Type: 
Research News

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

Slug: 
Painkillers without opium
Short Dek: 
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

Print view
Type: 
Research News

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

Slug: 
Prakash named top innovator
Short Dek: 
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

Print view
Type: 
Research News

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

Slug: 
Molecular Motors
Short Dek: 
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

Print view
Type: 
Research News

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

Slug: 
Good Vibrations
Short Dek: 
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

Stanford bioengineers make it easier to see inner workings of the brain

Print view
Type: 
Research News

Bio-X scientists have improved on their original technique for peering into the intact brain, making it more reliable and safer. The results could help scientists unravel the inner connections of how thoughts, memories or diseases arise.

Slug: 
Seeing Inside the Brain
Short Dek: 
Stanford bioengineers make it easier to see inner workings of the brain.

Last year Karl Deisseroth, a Stanford professor of bioengineering and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, announced a new way of peering into a brain – removed from the body – that provided spectacular fly-through views of its inner connections. Since then laboratories around the world have begun using the technique, called CLARITY, with some success, to better understand the brain's wiring.

Last modified Fri, 20 Jun, 2014 at 17:07

Stanford bioengineers invent a way to speed up drug discovery

Print view
Type: 
Research News

New technique can be used in living cells to track a key family of proteins that regulate health or cause disease.

Slug: 
Technique Can Speed Drug Discovery
Short Dek: 
New method can be used in living cells to track a key family of proteins that regulate health or cause disease.

Think of the human body as an intricate machine whose working parts are proteins: molecules that change shape to enable our organs and tissues to perform tasks such as breathing, eating or thinking.

Of the millions of proteins, 500 in the kinase family are particularly important to drug discovery. Kinases are messengers: They deliver signals that regulate and orchestrate the actions of other proteins. Proper kinase activity maintains health. Irregular activity is linked to cancer and other diseases. For this reason many drugs seek either to boost or suppress kinase activity.

Last modified Thu, 19 Jun, 2014 at 14:23