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[February 27th, 2018] Sci-Tech News Megapack

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    Article [February 27th, 2018] Sci-Tech News Megapack

    Physicists Have Confirmed a Pear-Shaped Nucleus, And It Could Ruin Time Travel Forever

    Physicists have confirmed the existence of a new form of atomic nuclei, and the fact that it's not symmetrical challenges the fundamental theories of physics that explain our Universe.

    But that's not as bad as it sounds, because the 2016 discovery could help scientists solve one of the biggest mysteries in theoretical physics - where is all the dark matter? - and could also explain why travelling backwards in time might actually be impossible.

    "We've found these nuclei literally point towards a direction in space. This relates to a direction in time, proving there's a well-defined direction in time and we will always travel from past to present," Marcus Scheck from the University of the West of Scotland told Kenneth MacDonald at BBC News at the time.

    All-star team of synthetic biologists raise $53 million for cancer therapy startup Senti

    A who’s-who from the world of synthetic biological research have come together to launch Senti Biosciences with $53 million in funding from a slew of venture capital investors.

    Led by Tim Lu, a longtime researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the founding fathers of synthetic biology, Senti’s aim is nothing less than developing therapies that are tailored to an individual’s unique biology — and their first target is cancer.

    Here’s how Lu described a potential cancer treatment using Senti’s technology to me. “We take a cell derived from humans that we can insert our genetic circuits into… we insert the DNA and encoding and deliver those cells via an IV infusion. We have engineered the cells to locate where the tumors are… What we’ve been doing is engineering those cells to selectively trigger an immune response against the tumor.”

    Digestive ability of ancient insects could boost biofuel development

    A study of the unusual digestive system of an ancient group of insects has provided new insights into future biofuel production.

    Published in Nature Communications, the research reveals that the ability of some insects to efficiently digest cellulose could be exploited for industrial processes, such as the production of sustainable low carbon fuels to cut greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil fuel use.

    The surprising find occurred when the team at the University of York were investigating the digestive system of firebrats, which had been previously shown to thrive on crystalline cellulose, the natural fibre, abundant in straw, paper and cardboard.

    A startup that wants to better understand the relationship our gut has to our brain just raised $66 million

    A startup working to better understand the relationship our gut has with our brain has raised another $66 million.

    New York-based Kallyope raised its series B round from new investors Two Sigma Ventures and Euclidean Capital. They were joined by Polaris Partners, Illumina Ventures, Lux Capital and others that had invested in Kallyope's $44 million series A round in 2015.

    Kallyope is trying to figure out how exactly the brain interacts with the gut by mapping it out. By collecting sequencing information about cells in the gut, for example, Kallyope can better figure out how they're connected to neurons in the brain in a series of circuits. Understanding that relationship could lead to pills that could interact with the gut's signals and in turn pass that message along to the brain.
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