The versatile frog tongue can grab wet, hairy and slippery surfaces with equal ease. It does a lot better than our engineered adhesives – not even household tapes can firmly stick to wet or dusty surfaces. What makes this tongue even more impressive is its speed: Over 4,000 species of frog and toad snag prey faster than a human can blink. What makes the frog tongue so uniquely sticky? Our group aimed to find out.
Prions are notorious for causing devastating neurodegenerative diseases, such as mad cow disease. How these infectious self-perpetuating protein aggregates propagate—by getting other protein molecules of the same sequence to join the pile—is hands down insidious.
Luis Miguel Rodriguez-Rojas graduated with a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics with a minor in Biomedical Engineering. He came to Georgia Tech with an M.S. in Biological Sciences from Universidad de Los Andes, in Bogota, Colombia; an M.S. in Applied Informatics from Université Montpellier 2 (currently Université de Montpellier), in Montpellier, France; and B.S. in Biology from Universidad Nacional de Colombia, in Bogota. He is off to a postdoctoral position in Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Emeritus Professor Gerald (Jerry) Pullman was awarded a lifetime achievement award for outstanding contributions in somatic embryogenesis and other vegetative propagation technologies by the Fourth International Conference of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations focused on Somatic Embryogenesis and Other Vegetative Propagation Technologies held in September 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Ever think about discovering artifacts à la Indiana Jones? You have one final chance to be a fossil hunter this semester: on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, when Jenny L. McGuire opens her lab to all comers to search for fossils in rock samples.
Oceanic dead zones are natural laboratories for exploring biological diversity. In a study published this year in the journal Nature, scientists at Georgia Tech discovered new species of the world's most abundant organism group, a bacterial clade called SAR11, which have adapted to life in dead zones by acquiring genes necessary to breath the chemical nitrate. Other work by Tech scientists shows that dead zones in the Pacific, which contain the largest pools of the greenhouse gas methane (CH4) in the open ocean, support microbes adapted to consume methane, potentially through a process that requires these microbes to make their own oxygen. Research on dead zones is challenging scientists to devise new tools to collect and manipulate ocean microbes while maintaining the exact environmental conditions the cells experience in nature. Frank Stewart, of the School of Biological Sciences, explains.
A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analyzed the viral content of the human gut (Manrique et al., PNAS, 2016). The research focused on a particular kind of virus called bacteriophage, which only infect bacterial cells and do not infect human cells. Manrique and colleagues found that healthy individuals had a “core” group of bacteriophage. In addition, they found that these core bacteriophage were less frequently found in individuals with gastrointestinal disease. This novel finding reveals a potential link between the viruses in our gut and our health. Joshua Weitz explains.