BiotecVisions 2012, April
Version of Record online: 28 MAR 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Volume 7, Issue 4, pages A1–A8, April 2012
How to Cite
(2012), BiotecVisions 2012, April. Biotechnology Journal, 7: A1–A8. doi: 10.1002/biot.201200051
- Issue online: 28 MAR 2012
- Version of Record online: 28 MAR 2012
Editors: Judy Peng /jp; Uta Göbel /ug; Lucie Kalvodova /lk
Contributors: Anja Gaugel /ag; Bill Mullen /bm; Danny Asling /da; Frédérique Belliard /fb; Vera Köster /vk; Joanna Cipolla /jc; Gillian van Beest /gvb; Meghana Hemphill /mh; Susan Vice /sv; Mary Farrell /mf; Frances Harding /fh; Sarah Brett /sb; Materials Views /mv; Barbara Janssens /bj; Leigh Duke /ld; Luaine Bandounas /lb; Lotte Nielsen /ln; Fay Wolter /fw
The Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2012
The World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies has just released its list of “The 2012 Top Ten Most Important Technologies”. The list highlights technology trends most likely to impact the state of the world in the near future and was developed by a cross section of experts from science, businesses and public policy. The technologies are expected to have major social, economic and environmental impacts.
Council Chair Professor Sang Yup Lee at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) (also co-Editor-in-Chief of Biotechnology Journal) explained that “accelerating progress in science and technology has stimulated a new age of discovery, and many of the technologies identified by the council are critical to building a sustainable and resilient future.”
Among the top ten trends (see list below) are advances in informatics, biotechnology, medicine, materials, education, and resource usage. In the biological domain, synthetic biology and metabolic engineering are expected to become increasingly important in manufacturing new drugs and producing chemicals and materials from renewable resources. Systems biology and computational modeling/simulation of chemical and biological systems are playing increasingly important roles in helping design therapeutics, materials and processes that are highly efficient in achieving their design goals, while minimally affecting on human health, resources, and the environment. Innovative technologies for a second green revolution that provide security in food supply for growing population and biomass for biorefineries are also selected.
For more information onthe 2012 Top 10 Emerging Technologies:
The definite article: As abundant as the stars in the sky
Unless you are a native speaker of English and can rely on your gut feeling for the definite article, i.e. “the”, trying to decide where you should insert this little but very important word in your scientific writing can be a formidable task. The use of the definite article in any noun phrase depends on the meaning of the phrase in its particular context, so you need to determine whether the noun phrase is used in a specific or generic sense. Let's have a look at some examples that are relevant to scientific writing, so that you can better understand these significant and myriad stars in the English language.
When to use the definite article “the”:
• With species, groups of people, animals and scientific instruments and when you are discussing them as categories: TheOrang-Utan is threatened with extinction.
• Before a title of rank or office: TheEditor-in-Chief is going to retire in 2013.
• Before an adjective, extending it to signify a class and giving it the function of a noun: Hospices offer care fortheterminally ill.
• Before a noun to stress its significance and prominence: Nanotechnology –thescience of the future?
• The superlative is always preceded by “the”: Everest and K2 arethetallest mountains in the world.
When to omit the definite article “the”:
• When making general statements about things, people and abstract ideas: (The) Legumes form symbiotic associations with bacteria of the Rhizobium family (a fact that relates to legumes, in general)
Beware: all that glitters is not gold! Bear in mind that “the” is the most commonly used word in English, so make sure that, although it is abundant, it shines in the correct places in your writing. /fw
This is an excerpt of the full article by Fay Wolter published in ImmunoVisions.
Fay Wolter is our resident “English connoisseur”: in addition to working at Wiley, Fay also teaches English to professionals and academics in the Rhine Neckar area of Germany.
Underarm hygiene does not cause breast cancer
Parabens are used as preservatives in deodorants and antiperspirants as well as cosmetics, foods, and drugs. They are alkyl esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid and their salts and have potent antibacterial and fungicidal properties. A study showing parabens are present in breast tumor tissue was quickly picked up by the tabloid media.
David Bradley looks into this in a ChemViews magazine article. He comes to the result that there have only ever been two studies measuring parabens in breast tissue coming from one research group. In more than a decade of research, the overwhelming scientific consensus is that parabens are totally unconnected with breast cancer incidence and that further research into this notion really is unwarranted. On the other hand, he shows that there is a potent chemophobic agenda at play in the media – not to improve our health, but simply to sell more newspapers. /vk 
Does fish oil prevent cardiac arrhythmias?
Very long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids characteristic of marine oils protect against the development of cardiovascular diseases – but how? Read the short article by John Stanley, Trinity College, Oxford in Lipid Technology. /lk 
The original biochemical engineer: Michael Shuler
Biotechnology Journal recently published a special issue on biochemical engineering, in honor of Prof. Michael Shuler's contributions to the field. The Journal took the opportunity to ask Mike some pertinent questions relating to careers and research. In the interview, Mike shared with readers what inspired him to become a biochemical engineer (to make it possible to make large amounts of life-saving drugs); the people who inspired him (Henry Tsubiya, Gus Aris, Bob Finn, to name a few); what he thinks of the impact factor (“it leads to perverse behavior”; “academic research should be judged on article impact, and not the impact of the journal in which it is published”); his idea of mentorship (work on the “multiplier effect”); and his recipe for success (“doing what you believe”). /jp
For the full interview:
Blood-brain barrier model optimized
In vitro cell culture models of the blood-brain barrier are important tools to study cellular physiology and therapeutics for neurological and other disorders. While many models exist, it is not clear whether any of these have been effectively optimized. In Biotechnology Journal Diane Wuest and Kelvin Lee (University of Delaware, USA) present a sequential-screening study to find the optimal conditions for primary murine endothelial cells in such a model. They compare co-cultures with primary mouse or rat astrocytes at different densities as well as three distinct media-feeding strategies to evaluate different biochemical agent exposure times. The optimized conditions increased transendothelial electrical resistance by over 200% compared to an initial model and established a suitable in vitro model for brain disease application studies. /ug 
Breast cancer cells on the move: Monitoring migration speed
Detailed knowledge of cell migration and cell-cell interactions are key to understanding cell invasion, a critical step in the progression of breast cancer. In Biotechnology Journal Olga Shebanova and Daniel Hammer (University of Pennsylvania, USA) evaluate the combined influence of biochemical and mechanical parameters of the extracellular matrix to gain insight into cell motility, force generation, cell-cell interaction, and assembly in an in vitro breast cancer model. MCF-10A non-tumorigenic mammary epithelial cells were seeded on surfaces with varying fibronectin ligand concentration and polyacrylamide gel rigidity. The results show that the migration velocity and the assembly of breast cancer epithelial cells is optimal at intermediate concentrations of fibronectin and substrate compliance. On low compliance polyacrylamide gels (400 Pa), cells assemble into clusters, whereas on stiffer gels, cells remain dispersed. /ug 
Eat yourself young: Anti-aging dietary compounds
We frequently hear reports in the press about “super foods” – foods especially purported to boost our immunity, prevent cancer, cure degenerative illnesses and generally keep us feeling young and healthy. In a recent paper, Pan et al. examine the science that exists to support these claims. They review signalling pathways that are associated with aging and degenerative diseases and explore how compounds contained in common foods may inhibit these pathways. A number of promising candidates found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, tea, spices and fish are presented. Lovers of chocolate and wine will also be heartened by the list of youth-promoting foods compiled. /fh 
Papaya helps replace human milk
Human milk fat substitutes (HMFS) – fats resembling in composition human milk fat – are fundamental components of manufactured baby milk. The composition of breast milk fat is unique and no other natural fat can quite replace it. However, fats can be modified by the so-called interesterification reaction to approach the composition of human milk fat. Tecelão and colleagues used lipases present in the fruit and leaf stalks of the papaya plant to restructure simple saturated triacylglycerols by incorporating oleic acid and the health-beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. The resulting fat described in the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology can be used as HMFS. /lk 
Read more on Human milk fat substitutes:
Read more on Interesterification:
In-film biofabrication: Antibody-production and detection on one chip
Many recent advances in bioprocessing were made possible by developments in miniaturization and microfluidics. A continuing challenge, however, is integrating multiple unit operations that require distinct spatial boundaries, especially those that include labile biological components. In Biotechnology Journal, William Bentley (University of Maryland, USA) and collaborators present the concept of “in-film biofabrication” in which a production address, e.g. antibody-producing cells, and a capture address, where secreted antibody is specifically retained with specificity and assayed, are assembled on one chip. Polysaccharide films of chitosan and alginate present smart interfaces that mediate communication between the biological systems and microfabricated devices. Scalability is shown by reducing electrode sizes to a 1 mm scale without compromising film biofabrication or bioprocessing performance. The presented approach has diverse application potential such as in drug screening and biopsy analysis. /ug 
Triple action bionanopolymer for breast cancer treatment
Current treatment options for triple negative breast cancer are limited. A new nanobiopolymer conjugate against this particularly aggressive form of cancer heralds a new generation of anti-cancer nanodrugs. An antibody targeted at tumour cells and an antisense oligonucleotide inhibiting epidermal growth factor production were combined with an anti-transferrin antibody into a polymeric delivery system. This design targeted two modes of treatment specifically to the tumour vasculature. The nanodrug accumulated within the tumour tissue and significantly suppressed tumour growth in a mouse model of breast cancer. This unique combination of features allows delivery of highly potent treatment to tumour cells alone, avoiding the toxicity of current anti-cancer regimes. /fh 
Cisgenic barley with improved phytase activity
Cisgenic approach for improving the bioavailability of phytate-bound phosphate in the barley grain is described. The natural allelic variation for phytase activity is limited in barley and classical breeding is therefore difficult. Numerous transgenic crop species with improved phytase activity derived from microbial phytases have been developed but commercialization has lacked behind. Cisgenesis implies that the plant is transformed only with its own or very closely related genetic material and all foreign gene sequences should be absent in the final cisgenic plant. Surveys in Europe have shown that cisgenic crops are more acceptable to the public than transgenic crops and cisgenic crops may be subjected to less rigid regulatory measures in the future. In this study, cisgenic barley with a 2.8 fold increase in phytase activity was generated by inserting a single extra copy of the genomic barley phytase gene, HvPAPhy_a, expressed during grain filling. The study illustrates that genetic modification according to the cisgenesis concept is technically possible in barley. Insertion of extra copies of endogenous genes might be a useful and publicly acceptable tool for the improvement of traits with limited natural allelic variation. /jc 
Food vs. fuel
This review addresses the main issues concerning anticipated demands for the use of land for food and for bioenergy. It should be possible to meet increasing demands for food using existing and new technologies although this may not be easily or cheaply accomplished. The alleviation of hunger depends on food accessibility as well as food availability. Modern civilizations also require energy. This article presents the vision for bioenergy in terms of four major gains for society: a reduction in C emissions from the substitution of fossil fuels with appropriate energy crops; a significant contribution to energy security by reductions in fossil fuel dependence, for example, to meet government targets; new options that stimulate rural and urban economic development, and reduced dependence of global agriculture on fossil fuels. This vision is likely to be best fulfilled by the use of dedicated perennial bioenergy crops. /jc 
The science of champagne: which glass for better bubbles
Which glass to choose for the best champagne drinking experience – the narrow flute or the shallow coupe? Liger-Belair and colleagues weighed into this long running debate by measuring the level of carbon dioxide and ethanol emanating from the champagne using microgas chromatography and infra-red imaging of gas held within each glass. The concentration of gaseous carbon dioxide was two to three times higher at the lip of the flute than the coupe. Chilling the champagne reduced the concentration of ethanol in the headspace in both types of glass, but had no impact on the concentration of carbon dioxide. The researchers constructed a model to describe carbon dioxide flux from liquid to gas. Their results explain why the smell and taste of champagne is perceived differently when drinking from the two types of glasses. /fh 
Biogeography of lichen-associated bacteria
The correlation between the taxonomic composition of Alphaproteobacteria, Burkholderia and nitrogen fixers associated with the lichen Lobaria pulmonaria and the geographical distribution of the host was studied across four sites in Europe. Results proved that the diversity of Alphaproteobacteria is affected by geography, while those of Burkholderia and nitrogen fixers were mostly driven by local habitat. This difference indicates a higher stability of the association between Alphaproteobacteria and the lichen host. /lb 
Bacteria associated with coral tumors
Scleractinian corals with growth anomalies, often referred to as 'tumors', have been reported globally. A recent survey of Hong Kong waters showed that > 60% of Platygyra carnosus colonies developed tumors. Here we report for the first time, the bacterial community associated with tumors in P. carnosus over different seasons and locations in Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park and Port Shelter. Culture-based methods for strain isolation and molecular techniques of 16S rRNA analysis for strain identification were used, as well as the culture-independent technique terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism. We tested the hypothesis that the community composition would be considerably different between healthy and tumor corals and aimed to investigate whether potential differences because of tumors would override the seasonal and spatial influences. Our analysis detected only minor differences between the communities associated with the healthy and tumor corals, indicating that tumors are not associated with major changes in the bacterial community structure. In contrast, community structure was strongly influenced by the location and season, with greater Alphaproteobacteria diversity in the winter than in the summer. This study demonstrated that the coral-associated bacterial community composition was more related to environmental variables (i.e. season and location) than to disease (i.e. tumor). /ln 
From meadows to milk to mucosa
This article reviews the central metabolic pathways of the closely related genera Lactococcus and Streptococcus with a focus on the adaption to nutrient-rich environments. Lactic acid bacteria are indigenous to food-related habitats as well as associated with the mucosal surfaces of animals. The rapid and increasingly cost-effective development of whole-genome sequencing now allows the in-depth analysis of many Lactococcus lactis ssp. and disease-causing Streptococcus species and serotypes. Among the wealth of information generated is that the manipulation of flux through these pathways facilitates a targeted approach to flavor formation in products such as cheese and yoghurt. Also just as resequencing of industrial strains would also help elucidate specific pathways that contribute to flavoring in existing dairy products, sequencing of virulence genes of Streptococcus serotypes will lead to more targeted treatments of the numerous life-threatening diseases caused by these bacteria. /gvb 
The cost of cellulases and its consequences
A key challenge in the production of non food-derived, lignocellulosic biofuels is the inexpensive transformation of the cellulose and hemicellulose polymers into fermentable sugars. Most routes for biomass deconstruction involve the use of enzymes, which break the chemical bonds in cellulose and produce glucose. Calculating the cost of production of lignocellulosic biofuels, therefore, requires knowing the cost of cellulolytic enzymes, but this cost is not publicly available and estimates found in the literature vary widely and are thus thought to be inaccurate. In order to obtain a better estimate of the cost of cellulolytic enzymes, Klein-Marcuschamer and coworkers constructed a techno-economic model of an enzyme production facility. The analysis showed that the cost contribution of enzymes to the production of lignocellulosic ethanol is much higher than most estimates found in the literature, and suggested that deconstruction technologies that lower the use of enzymes will significantly impact the economics of biofuel production. 
Viruses and the threat of bioterrorism
Viruses can be used by both states and terrorists as biological weapons, but using them on a wide scale requires considerable technical knowledge and facilities. Many viruses can be spread by aerosols, potentially infecting large populations. Various agents have been proposed as potential weapons, but smallpox has received the greatest attention and was successfully weaponised by the Soviet Union. The Smallpox vaccine has been stockpiled and new drugs and vaccines have been developed. Other potential agents suggested in the literature include Ebola and Marburg viruses, although these are very difficult to produce in quantity. Terrorists could however use any agent and rarely follow textbook scenarios. In response to the threat of bioterrorism a substantial research and public health infrastructure has been created, which could be useful in dealing with natural events. The main defence is education of clinicians and the public as the greatest effect of these weapons is fear and panic. /ld 
Special issue: Microbial biotechnology
Read the March 2012 issue online. It is a Special Issue on Microbial Vaccines and Immunomodulators and includes a free Minireview on Transcriptional profiling of vaccine-induced immune responses in humans and non-human primates.
Special issue: Metabolic Engineering, Synthetic Biology and Systems Biology
The completion, in 1996, of the genome sequence of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae laboratory strain S288C represents a watershed in yeast research.
Today, the rapidly growing range of products produced with engineered S. cerevisiae strains already range from biofuels and bulk chemicals to food ingredients and life-saving pharmaceuticals, while many other yeast-based products are subject of intensive academic and industrial research.
Ten minireviews in this special issue of FEMS Yeast Research provide an overview of the rapid developments in Metabolic Engineering, Synthetic Biology and Systems Biology of S. cerevisiae. /fb
Biotechnology and Bioengineering's latest virtual issue
Associate Editor Jens Nielsen provides an introduction to this virtual issue of metabolic engineering articles, selected by B&B editors.
Women in Science Award: Swiss biologist recognized for her research on chromatin biology and epigenetics
The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) announce Susan Gasser, director of the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland, as the winner of the 2012 FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award. Professor Gasser has been recognized for her outstanding scientific research on genome stability and epigenetics and her commitment to mentoring women pursuing a career in science.
The FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award rewards the exceptional achievements of a female researcher in molecular biology over the previous five years. Winners of the award are role models who inspire future generations of women in science.
The Gasser laboratory studies two research topics of central importance to human health and disease: the maintenance of genome stability through DNA repair, and the role of epigenetic inheritance during tissue differentiation. Susan and her colleagues have examined how the experience of the cell and the environment affects the epigenetic code in different organisms. The Swiss scientist has authored more than 200 scientific articles and reviews over the last thirty years. The implications of her research are far-reaching for human disease, notably cancer. “Susan Gasser is not only a first-rate scientist, but is also playing an important role as one of the most dynamic and successful female scientific leaders in Europe and, indeed, anywhere,” stated Gottfried Schatz, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at the University of Basel. /jp
SLAS new product award
The Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) welcomed 5, 806 participants from around the world to SLAS2012, the 1st Annual SLAS Conference and Exhibition, February 4–8, 2012 at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA, USA.
More than 60 new products were launched at SLAS2012, and four companies were selected to receive the “SLAS New Product Award (NPA)”, recognizing the best of what's new on the exhibit floor. NPA winners were: Dynamic Devices – 96VVP Liquid Handling Robotic Head; Fluidix – Air Film; Siloam Biosciences – OptiMax Microplates; Tecan – HP D300 Digital Dispenser. /ag
Five scientists from the SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis, at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford's Department of Chemical Engineering, have a solution for those who design new chemical catalysts: they made an app. Their creation, called CatApp, displays reaction and activation energies for reactions occurring on catalytic metal surfaces. These factors are important in predicting how fast and completely a catalyzed reaction will proceed. /ag
A new European Commission-funded network will coordinate plant science research across Europe and beyond. 26 partners from 23 countries will pool their resources and expertise in order to fund plant science research programs to help address global challenges such as ensuring food security and providing sustainable bioenergy. The network, ERA-NET for Coordinating Action in Plant Sciences – ERA-CAPS will be coordinated by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). It will run until 2014 and is expected to fund two calls for collaborative research projects as well as organizing strategic workshops for identifying common priorities and activities around data sharing and open access. /ag
Read the latest R&D and business specific news from G.I.T. Laboratory Journal Europe:
International Biotechnology Symposium 2012
The 15th International Biotechnology Symposium and Exhibition will be held Sept 16–21, 2012, in Daegu Korea, one of the most dynamic cities in Korea. The quadrennial event occurs every leap year and also coincides with the summer Olympic Games.
This year's symposium is based on the following theme: “Innovative Biotechnology for a Green World and beyond”.
Several prominent journals in biotechnology are publishing special issues related to the symposium – three of these journals being from our Wiley family of biotechnology journals.
Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry
Editors-in-Chief: P.A. Shamlou, J.J. Zhong, Gianfranco Gilardi
Guest Editor: Byung Soo Kim
Submission deadline: End of November, 2012
Editors-in-Chief: Alois Jungbauer and Sang Yup Lee
Special issue editors: Alois Jungbauer and Sang Yup Lee
Submission deadline: November 22, 2012
Engineering in Life Sciences
Editor-in-Chief: Thomas Bley
Guest Editors: An-Ping Zeng and Man Bock Gu
Submission deadline: November 15, 2012
Getting the job: But how?
Some options for jobs after a PhD in the life sciences are quite straightforward. Apart from research you have been publishing, patenting, and managing science so you know you could look for jobs there. Hundreds of online portals advertise vacancies and some of them look interesting. For each vacancy you specifically edit your CV and spend hours writing a cover letter. You stare at the job description, wondering what exactly the company will be looking for, and how you could squeeze your profile to fit. This is what 95% of job searchers do, and scientists are not any different in that respect.
When employers are asked how they fill positions, however, they say that regardless of whether the position was advertised or not, in two thirds of the cases they offer the position to someone they had previously known, i.e. a contact.
This means that 95% of job searchers apply for only 33% of positions, whereas the 5% who do “something else” tap into the 66% pool. Put it bluntly: taking the courage to “connect” to someone who can potentially hire you is equivalent to the effort of applying to 40 advertised positions outside your network. Forty.
Of course, the classical application method works for many. But maybe it is worth to try this “something else” . How do you do this? When you meet someone (or contact someone directly) who does something that interests you, ask for information rather than a job. This person is perhaps not recruiting but works in the field and potentially (knows someone who) has the power to hire you. One short “interview” does not take more than 5 or 10 minutes. It is very important to ask who else does something similar (expand your network!) and send a thank you note (not email!). The advantage is that when you are offered a position through a contact, you are already well informed about the field, and the job fits you rather than the other way round.
This process takes some courage and time – but maybe less than 40 applications. /bj
Activation of CNS neurons
Optogenetics – the use of optically activated proteins to control cell function – allows for control of neurons with an unprecedented degree of spatial, temporal, and neurochemical precision. Optogenetic approaches have been used to study basic synaptic properties of specific neural circuits, and their role in physiology and behavior. A group of NIH researchers present three protocols describing the use of channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2), a light-activated cation channel. /bm 
Photoconversion, the method by which a fluorescent dye is transformed into a stable, osmiophilic product that can be visualized by electron microscopy, is the most widely used method to enable the ultrastructural analysis of fluorescently labeled cellular structures. Nevertheless, the conventional method of photoconversion using widefield fluorescence microscopy requires long reaction times and results in low-resolution cell targeting. A photoconversion method that ameliorates these limitations by adapting confocal laser scanning microscopy to the procedure and reduces photoconversion times, as compared to conventional wide field microscopy has been developed. /bm 
European Lab Automation
2012 will see the second European Lab Automation Congress. Building on last year's success, it will once again be held in Hamburg, Germany, May 30–31. With an attendance of over 1500 delegates and 150 exhibitors in 2011, we are excited to see how the show grows and develops in 2012.
A strong technical program to accompany the exhibition, with a concentrated focus on automation is being put together; to include 8 conference streams addressing a number of specific application areas within automation. All agendas are now online.
NMR of Biomolecules: Towards Mechanistic Systems Biology
Ivano Bertini, Kathleen S. McGreevy, Giacomo Parigi
The ultimate NMR guide for researchers in the biomedical community and gives not only background and practical tips but also a forward looking view on the future of NMR in systems biology.
Therapeutic Proteins: Strategies to Modulate Their Plasma Half-lives
This comprehensive work provides worldwide knowledge on modifying therapeutic proteins in order to optimize their pharmacological potential. All approaches and aspects are covered in one handy volume, making this indispensable reading for companies and research institutions working on the development of biopharmaceuticals.
Pharmaceutical Biotechnology: Drug Discovery and Clinical Applications, 2nd Edition
Oliver Kayser, Heribert Warzecha
The second edition of this successful book is greatly expanded and completely revised. It focuses on industrial pharmaceutical research and covers biotechnology fundamentals as well as all aspects of drug, diagnostics and vaccine development.
Food and Industrial Bioproducts and Bioprocessing
Nurhan T. Dunford
This expertly authored volume describes the engineering aspects of bioprocessing, including advanced food processing techniques and bioproduct development. The main focus of the book is on food applications, while numerous industrial applications are highlighted as well.
Polish artificial heart program
Despite significant advances in the development of artificial heart substitutes, anthrombogenic materials and surfaces, which can prevent thrombosis that leads to rejection, remain a significant challenge for implants. New polymeric materials can grab the medical world's attention if they are able to provide better surface topography, which is the most influential characteristic in determining the response of live tissues toward biomaterials. Nanostructured polyester thermoplastic elastomers of high biodurability, being developed in a frame of the Polish artificial heart program, are reviewed here as an alternative to PU materials for artificial hearts. /mh 
The virtual liver
The liver is the central metabolic organ in human physiology, and liver toxicity is the reason for the failure of many promising novel medicines. This article presents the concepts and approaches underpinning one of the most exciting and ambitious modeling projects in the field of systems biology and systems medicine. This major multidisciplinary research program aims to develop a whole-organ model of the human liver, representing its central physiological functions under normal and pathological conditions. /mh 
RNAi screening: New approaches
High-throughput RNAi screening is benefitting from the development of sophisticated new instrumentation and software tools for collecting and analyzing data, including high-content image data. Nevertheless, false discovery due to off-target effects of RNAi reagents remains a problem. The need to improve our ability to use RNAi continues to be addressed through improved RNAi library design, development of innovative computational and analysis tools, and other approaches. /mh 
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