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Science Today is a daily radio feature produced by the University of California for the CBS Radio Network. From breakthroughs in medicine, agriculture and the environment to insights into the world around us, Science Today covers it all.

Posts tagged with ‘ucla’

Whoa, this looks like fun…

ucresearch:

A hovercraft that rides like a motorcycle


With what looks like a Speeder Bike from Star Wars, UCLA alum and aerospace engineer Mark DeRoche has developed a new type of hovercraft known as The Aero-X.  When onboard the rider feels like they’re driving a motorcycle.

The idea was to build a vehicle that could quickly glide over rough terrain. Your cruising speed could top out at 45mph at 10 feet off the ground on this thing.  DeRoche says it could be used by farmers, security personnel or search and rescue missions, but admits that it could also be for those who want to joyride out in the desert.

An unmanned version is also in the works for agricultural uses such as crop dusting large areas of land.

Read more about it here 

Our ucresearch colleagues produced this great piece about our scienceandfood friend, Amy Rowat of UCLA:

Something squishy


A misshapen nucleus is bad news.

For any given cell, the nucleus — the home of most of a cell’s genetic material — generally takes a fairly consistent shape. But when things go wrong and disease takes hold, the nucleus can become deformed.

UCLA’s Amy Rowat explains how an enlarged nucleus is a telltale sign of something gone awry. Corrupted, cancerous cells take on a different texture than healthy cells. They are softer and more malleable, or, as Amy puts it, more “squishy.”

Her research investigates the texture and squishiness of cells in our body, which can have a huge impact on treatments for cancer and genetic disorders. Using tiny instruments, this change in cellular flexibility can be used to diagnose disease, and could one day help determine which treatments might be most suitable for each patient.

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Does evolution's dual mating hypothesis have legs?

UCLA psychologist Martie Haselton weighs in on the dual mating hypothesis, a controversial theory in human evolutionary history.

So, a woman could have partnered in the short-term with a mate who could provide high fitness genes for her offspring, perhaps engaging in those kinds of matting in secret, but maintain her relationship with her long-term partner.

Haselton, who is a pioneer in research on studying behavioral changes at ovulation, has conducted studies that found that during high fertility times of the month, women do show a preference towards men with “sexy” traits such as masculine build, symmetrical features, deeper voice, even scent.

It dosen’t mean [a woman] does not love [her] long-term mate, it’s just this vestige from the ancestral past.

You just never know who you’re going to meet ….

At a restaurant about a year ago, we happened to be seated next to a like-minded foodie and began a conversation about what was on our plates. Turns out that person was UCLA’s Amy Rowat, an integrated biologist who has been making a lot of waves with her innovative scienceandfood program. Our ucresearch production team made sure to look her up during a SoCal trip.

A blood test that’s commonly used to determine whether heart transplant recipients are rejecting their new organ can also serve as a ‘crystal ball’ to predict potential rejection-related problems months into the future. Dr. Mario Deng, study leader and head of UCLA’s integrated heart transplant program, says the AlloMap blood test measures changes in the expression of about a dozen genes over a period of time.

Patients who were clinically stable, who had more than one AlloMap blood test in the same range were seemingly doing really well. In contrast, patients who were not clinically stable and who had an AlloMap blood test that was variable over time had a much more clinically bumpy course.

Before, heart transplant recipients underwent routing monitoring by undergoing an invasive, heart-muscle biopsy. Now, the AlloMap test offers these patients a non-invasive, personalized medicine approach.

We can now systematically tailor the immune-suppression dose to the individual person’s needs and that was not possible before.