Monday, January 26, 2009

Nano nerves on the horizon?

I know this is not construction related - though these nanotechnologies will also advance our understanding and abilities in the built environment - I thought this we too cool not to pass a long. This kind of research reminds me of my oldest daughter announcement at age 13 that she wanted to genetically modify corn plants and other leafy plants to capture a portion of the energy they extract from the sun and store through photosynthesis and turn that energy from the sun into electricity and feed it into the grid through the roots of the genetically modified plants. As sci-fi as it sounds its still pretty cool. As is the story below.

"Viruses that mimic supportive nerve tissue may someday help regenerate injured spinal cords. While other tissue-engineering materials must be synthesized and shaped in the lab, genetically engineered viruses have the advantage of being self-replicating and self-assembling. They can be designed to express cell-friendly proteins on their surfaces and, with a little coaxing, be made into complex tissuelike structures. Preliminary studies show that scaffolds made using a type of virus called a bacteriophage (or phage) that infects bacteria but cannot invade animal cells can support the growth and organization of nerve cells."

Read the whole thing!

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