In the December 22, 2008 special energy issue of Optics Express, the Optical Society of America's open-access journal, Professor Anastasios Melis and graduate student Mautusi Mitra of the University of California, Berkeley, described a new method for using microalgae to make biofuel. Such a method may make it possible to produce fuel at a rate of 30 times that of other biofuels, greatly reducing production costs and ultimately providing a cheaper, renewable source of fuel.
Nearly everyone uses plastic every day. But did you know that this seemingly innocuous material might be hurting our hearts at the same time? Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a major component of plastics and is found in many objects such as PVC pipes, food cans, and drink containers. Detectable in the bodies of 90% of the American population, it is one of the most widely produced and used chemicals. Recent studies have shown that there is a link between high levels of BPA and heart disease.
This past summer, researchers at Rice University published a paper that could revolutionize the way in which vaccines are manufactured, assisting thousands of people during the current H1N1 virus crisis. Rice Professor of Biochemical and Genetic Engineering Michael Deem came up with a new way of making vaccines, which may be applicable to researchers creating a vaccine for H1N1 "swine" flu. This paper was recently published in the journal Protein Engineering, Design, & Selection.
Fans of excessively loud music may soon be able to treat their noise-induced tinnitus with altered versions of the very songs that caused it. Tinnitus, or "ringing of the ears," is characterized by perception of a tone, often of a particular frequency, when no sound is externally present.