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In Our Bodies

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In Our Bodies

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A Nose for GC

We’ve shown that trained dogs can detect the presence of malignant ovarian cancer tumors using smell. The dogs use odor cues to distinguish blood samples of patients with ovarian cancer from those of healthy women, and even from those with benign ovarian tumors. This is an inside look at the gas chromatography-olfactometry (GC-O) instrument we are using to identify the specific volatile organic chemical biomarkers that the dogs are detecting. Submitted by Katharine Prigge, Monell Center, US.

Photo: Nicole Greenbaum

Blossoming Bioassays

Paper is patterned using a craft punch to form a flower-like shape. Every petal is an independent detection zone. Orange petals are for detecting glucose. Through such simple geometry, segmented and multiplex immunoassay for HCV diagnosis could be carried out in an integrated, economic and rapid manner.

Photo: Xuan Mu

Counting Cancer Cells

The PoCyton device developed by researchers at the micro-engineering branch of the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology in Mainz (IMM) is a cost-effective, small, and automated flow cytometer. Michael Baßler, research scientist at ICT-IMM, says, “Our flow cytometer enables [tumor cell quantitation] to be carried out around twenty times faster [than current technology]. Their cost is also lower by several magnitudes, which takes us into a new dimension that makes these devices much more affordable for clinical applications.”

Photo: © Fraunhofer ICT-IMM

Designing Nano-Potteries

Imaging bio-molecules and cells over extended periods of time is critical to understanding cellular processes. The photostability of cadmium sulfide quantum dots are highly attractive for the real-time tracking of bio-molecules and cells over time. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researcher Dev Chatterjee provided the image. Other contributors include Matthew Edwards, Paul MacFarlan, Samuel Bryan and Jason Hoki.

Image colored by PNNL graphic designer Jeff London.
Photo: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Makes Sense

Sheet of printed, disposable biosensor devices for a wearable, wirelessly-enabled sweat analytics platform.

Photo: Electrozyme LLC

Skin Deep Analysis

Artistic representation of 3D mapping of the chemistry and microbes of the human skin. Each of the two renderings shows distribution of yet unknown molecules on the skin of either the female or male individual. Bouslimani et al., PNAS, 112 (17), E2120–E2129 (2014).

Image: Theodore Alexandrov

Multimodal Brain Probe

Post-surgery residual cancer cells are the primary cause of brain cancer recurrence, and result in a poor prognosis for patients. The image depicts a 3D rendering of the brain for a patient with brain cancer (glioma), with the cancer detectable on T1- and T2-weighted MRI in red and yellow respectively. The bright points indicate cancer detected using Raman spectroscopy, as far as 1 cm beyond what is detectable using MRI. The actual cancer cells are depicted in the pop out (based on histology images). By detecting invasive cancer cells, the surgeon should be able to conduct a more complete resection and thereby improve patient survival.

M. Jermyn et al., Science Translational Medicine, 7 (274) 274ra19 (2015).

Image: Michael Jermyn, Kevin Petrecca and Frederic Leblond

Needleless Blood Sugar

EMPA and the University Hospital Zurich have joined forces to develop a sensor that measures blood sugar through skin contact – and without calibration. “Glucolight” will initially to be used in premature babies to avoid hypoglycemia and subsequent brain damage.

Photo: EMPA (

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About the Authors
Rich Whitworth

Rich Whitworth completed his studies in medical biochemistry at the University of Leicester, UK, in 1998. To cut a long story short, he escaped to Tokyo to spend five years working for the largest English language publisher in Japan. "Carving out a career in the megalopolis that is Tokyo changed my outlook forever. When seeing life through such a kaleidoscopic lens, it's hard not to get truly caught up in the moment." On returning to the UK, after a few false starts with grey, corporate publishers, Rich was snapped up by Texere Publishing, where he spearheaded the editorial development of The Analytical Scientist. "I feel honored to be part of the close-knit team that forged The Analytical Scientist – we've created a very fresh and forward-thinking publication." Rich is now also Content Director of Texere Publishing, the company behind The Analytical Scientist.

"Making great scientific magazines isn’t just about delivering knowledge and high quality content; it’s also about packaging these in the right words to ensure that someone is truly inspired by a topic. My passion is ensuring that our authors’ exper
Stephanie Vine

"Making great scientific magazines isn’t just about delivering knowledge and high quality content; it’s also about packaging these in the right words to ensure that someone is truly inspired by a topic. My passion is ensuring that our authors’ expertise is presented as a seamless and enjoyable reading experience, whether in print, in digital or on social media. I’ve spent seven years writing and editing features for scientific and manufacturing publications, and in making this content engaging and accessible without sacrificing its scientific integrity. There is nothing better than a magazine with great content that feels great to read."

Roisin McGuigan

I have an extensive academic background in the life sciences, having studied forensic biology and human medical genetics in my time at Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities. My research, data presentation and bioinformatics skills plus my ‘wet lab’ experience have been a superb grounding for my role as an Associate Editor at Texere Publishing. The job allows me to utilize my hard-learned academic skills and experience in my current position within an exciting and contemporary publishing company.

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