Plants with biosensors may light the way

first_imgPlants engineered with a specific biosensor can signal when they detect a molecule of interest, such as the human hormone progesterone or the drug digoxin, according to a team of researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute and Harvard Medical School (HMS).Synthetically engineered biosensors, which can be designed to detect and signal the presence of specific small-molecule compounds, have already unlocked potential applications, such as fuel, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. Until now, however, scientists have been challenged to leverage biosensors for use in eukaryotic cells, which comprise yeast, plants, and animals.Led by Wyss core member George Church, a team of researchers developed a new method for engineering a broad range of biosensors to detect and signal virtually any desired molecule using living eukaryotic cells. The team reported its findings in the journal eLife.“Biosensors that can tell you about their environment are extremely useful for a broad range of applications,” said Church, the Robert Winthrop Professor of Genetics at HMS. “You can imagine if they were used in agricultural plants, they can tell you about the condition of the soil, the presence of toxins or pests that are bothering them.”To test their new method, the team experimentally engineered yeast, plant, and mammalian cells to contain customizable ligand-binding domains (LBDs), which are receptors for hormones and other types of small molecules. These LBDs are tailored so that they only bind and detect a specific molecule. A secondary “signal” component fused to the LBD can be programmed to emit fluorescence or regulate gene expression once it has bound to the target molecule. The components of this biosensor — the LBD in combination with the fluorescent or genetic signal — degrade and fade away if the target molecule is not identified.Strikingly, the team successfully engineered Arabidopsis plants to act as multicellular botanical biosensors, containing a custom LBD to recognize the drug digoxin and a luminescent signal protein to emit light when it is detected. These Arabidopsis biosensors fluoresced when the plants were exposed to digoxin, proving that whole organisms can actually light up to signal detection of an arbitrary molecule.“Like many eukaryotic organisms, plants are full of diverse hormones that make it challenging to sense and respond to a specific hormone of interest,” said Wyss Institute Technology Development Fellow Dan Mandell, the study’s co-first author. “But using our strategy, the Arabidopsis plants we engineered exhibited a 50-fold increase in luminescence in the presence of digoxin — very easily visualized — which could inspire exciting future applications involving trees or plants that detect harmful environmental pollutants or toxins and give off a visible indicator.”The team not only demonstrated its novel methodology in plants but also described its efficacy in turning yeast and mammalian cells into precise biosensors, which one day could be leveraged for use in industries that rely on the productivity of yeast or livestock, or for use as medical sensors. Overall, the method is extremely tunable and portable, meaning it can be used in a wide variety of organisms to detect a broad range of small molecules.An additional capability of the new biosensing method is its ability to connect to gene regulators instead of fluorescent proteins. Yeast, for example, could be engineered to produce a molecule from a renewable feedstock. From there, it could be programmed to self-identify the most efficient individuals within a population of producers so that only the most productive yeast would survive.In this way, a population of organisms leveraged for bioproduction of pharmaceuticals or other valuable molecules could quickly self-evolve to become extremely efficient and productive. The team used this strategy to evolve yeast that can produce the hormone progesterone with a much higher yield.The biosensors could have a direct impact on human health as well, as the team also used its method to tightly regulate the gene-editing mechanism CRISPR-Cas9 inside living human cells, a step toward preventing unintended changes to the genome during gene therapy.“These new reprogramming capabilities developed by the Church team open up an entirely new realm where ordinary organisms can be transformed into extraordinary living cellular devices that can sense specific signals and produce appropriate responses, whether it’s enhancing production of biofuels or secreting a therapeutic when the cells sense inflammation or infection. It’s another great enabling capability that will undoubtedly advance the entire field of synthetic biology,” said Wyss Institute Director Donald Ingber.This work was supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center, and the National Science Foundation.For a full list of the study’s authors, visit the Wyss website.last_img read more

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CVPS honored for storm response

first_imgThe Edison Electric Institute today honored Central Vermont Public Service with the association’s “Emergency Recovery Award” for outstanding power restoration efforts in the wake of a massive two-part weather event in February 2010. This is the third time CVPS has earned this honor.The award is presented annually to U.S. and foreign companies that face untoward circumstances caused by extraordinary events and put forth outstanding efforts to restore service to the public. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process, and the awards were presented during EEI’s Spring CEO meetings.The “1-2 Punch Storm,” as it became known, was an unprecedented two-part snow and wind storm that knocked out service to hundreds of thousands of customers in the Northeast. Beginning on Feb. 23, 2010, the four-day weather event produced up to 4 feet of snow and winds approaching hurricane strength. CVPS, with a total of 159,000 customers, faced a record 104,872 outages over the course of the extended-duration event and mounted an extraordinary response. Nearly 67,000 individual customers were affected, some of whom lost service more than once.Either part of the storm event, in itself, would have ranked as one of the company’s 10 worst storms in history. Together, they affected 42 percent of CVPS customers, with as many as 27,000 customers without power at any one time. The duration of the weather event meant that even as crews worked to restore service in some areas, new outages occurred in others.”In many ways, the storm was a worst-case scenario envisioned in our storm preparedness training, yet we returned service quickly and safely,” said Joe Kraus, senior vice president for customer service, engineering and operations. “While we and our customers would love a break from the major storms that have repeatedly hammered our service territory in recent years, the award is testament to the commitment and hard work of our employees. They are among the industry’s elite.””When a storm hits, CVPS’s employees are second to none,” said Jeffrey Wimette, business manager for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 300. “CVPS, its employees and the union share a deep concern for customers and have developed a true partnership on their behalf.”CVPS relied on private advance weather forecasts to alert the public to the pending storms and to strategically stage recovery crews, with assistance from utilities in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine and Ontario, Canada. All told, more than 600 tree cutters, line workers, schedulers and support staff were organized to repair the damage, logging 45,000 man-hours on the job.In addition, the company worked closely with news media to inform customers of its progress, repair estimates and safety issues. While there were no significant injuries, the storm provided a critical reminder of the importance of customer safety. CVPS created a new statewide advertising campaign following the event to ensure that clear, easy-to-understand safety information is available to all Vermonters.”Handling one storm well would have been a major feat – managing both safely and efficiently marks one of the greatest achievements in the company’s 81-year history and reflects the highest possible standard of customer service,” EEI President Tom Kuhn said. “It is a true pleasure to honor Central Vermont with this award.”CVPS also won the award following the 2007 “Nor’icane” that devastated Rutland County, and a second time after the 2008 ice storm that leveled much of the electric system in southern Vermont and elsewhere in New England.”These storms present us with incredible logistical challenges, but our employees have made huge sacrifices to overcome them,” CVPS Executive Chairman Bob Young said. “After 24 years at CVPS, I have never been more proud of our employees. It’s impossible to understand the depth of their commitment without spending time with them on the job, but it is nearly immeasurable.”Larry Reilly, who began work as CVPS’s ninth president on Tuesday, said the company’s reputation for service quality, customer care and reliability was one of the factors that drew him to the job. “Despite a very rural, rugged service territory, CVPS employees have a hard-earned reputation for excellence within the industry,” Reilly said. “That reputation is disproportionate to our relatively small size, and is a tribute to our 517 employees.” CVPS 3.2.2011last_img read more

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Working together to give credit unions a stronger voice

first_img 18SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Dean Young Dean Young leads PSCU’s strategic direction on how to best leverage the cooperative’s scale to advocate on behalf of the credit union industry. He works collaboratively with key … Web: pscu.com Details The credit union industry is a large group of people with a shared belief in the benefits of community and cooperation. And with that shared mission, all credit unions, affiliated state and federal associations, and the credit union service organizations (CUSOs) that serve them must work together to protect and advance the wellbeing of over 100 million credit union members. As the credit union movement grew, leaders offered their time and expertise to advocate for fair regulations and access to new technology. That support from leaders throughout the credit union landscape has helped push our cooperative mission to ever-greater levels of success.To further expand the voice of credit unions, CUSO senior executives participate on boards and advisory groups throughout the financial services industry, in disciplines including payment services, lending, risk management, insurance, investment services, business continuity and more. Cybersecurity and EMV, for example, are two areas in which credit unions benefit from a CUSO’s deep resources and partnerships. Through this participation, CUSOs can represent the credit unions they serve, keep them informed about the latest information and drive growth throughout the industry. This commitment ensures that their organizations and credit unions are positioned at the forefront of the financial services industry.While CUSOs like PSCU and others don’t employ lobbyists to advance the concerns of the credit unions they serve, they do maintain strong relationships with CUNA and NAFCU, which are responsible for lobbying the national government on behalf of the credit union industry. By participating on the advisory groups of official lobbying partners and bringing payments expertise, CUSOs can help insure that credit unions’ interests are well represented.The importance of maintaining a strong presence in credit union associations and advisory groups is more important than ever. That is why PSCU and other CUSOs have made it a priority to increase their participation throughout the credit union industry. One of the first steps they take to achieve this objective is to create the position of Senior Vice President of Industry Engagement, to lead their strategic direction to advocate on behalf of the credit union industry. These leaders work collaboratively with key national partners to ensure alignment on important topics. CUSOs support critical parts of a credit union’s operations and provide vital leadership for the industry.Since 1977, PSCU has been a key partner for hundreds of credit unions, enabling each to offer new services and grow their business. Along with all the services and technology credit unions receive from their membership, one of the biggest benefits is a much stronger voice on credit union topics. With the purchasing power of many credit unions behind them, CUSOs have a huge amount of influence with leading financial services partners.Industry engagement is an ongoing process for credit union organizations, not a short-term solution. Only by being continually engaged with all facets of the credit union industry can organizations effectively provide the appropriate guidance and collaborate on solutions that deliver an unparalleled member experience.last_img read more

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PODCAST: Boomchickapop, ‘All In,’ and ‘find your edge’

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr When Angie Bastian studied the snack aisle in the grocery store, she noticed an important omission: No representation of women except for foods geared toward weight loss.That led to an aha moment: “We’re going to celebrate the feminine,” says Bastian, entrepreneur, co-founder, and the namesake of Angie’s Boomchickapop. “We’re going to be loud and proud and come from a position of empowerment.”Bastian will present the opening keynote address at the 2020 CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference in Orlando. Motivational speaker Gian Paul Gonzalez and author/journalist Antonio Neves join her as conference keynoters. continue reading »last_img

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UNESCO charters handed over to the Northern Velebit and Paklenica National Parks

first_imgAt the 41st session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, held in July 2017 in Poland, beech forests in the Northern Velebit National Park, within the Hajdučki and Rožanski kukovi Strict Reserve, together with beech forests at the Suva draga-Kliment and Oglavinovac-Javornik in the Paklenica National Park and beech forests in 10 other European countries, are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.And yesterday, the UNESCO charters were finally handed over to the director of the Paklenica National Park, Natalija Andačić, and the director of the Northern Velebit National Park, Irena Glavičić Sertić.The exceptionality of beech forests in the Northern Velebit and Paklenica National Parks is based on their originality, geographical position, age and size. Specifically, it is about 1289,11 hectares of beech forest in the Northern Velebit National Park or 2031,87 hectares of forest in the Paklenica National Park. The inclusion of new areas on the World Heritage List has resulted in an integrity that is of exceptional value and is proof of the natural and undisturbed development of Europe’s beech forest ecosystems.The director of the Northern Velebit National Park, Irena Glavičić Sertić, pointed out that being on the world heritage map is both an exceptional honor and a responsibility for them. Natalija Andačić, director of the Paklenica National Park, said that beech forests are a valuable ecosystem in which there are species and habitats that are mostly endangered in Europe. This charter will significantly contribute to the preservation not only of beech as a species, but also of the overall ecosystem it supports.This is the third extension of the list of countries with beech forests. Beech forests of Slovakia and Ukraine were the first to be inscribed on the World Heritage List “Primitive Beech Forests of the Carpathians” in 2007. The expansion followed in 2010 with the entry of German ancient beech forests while the third expansion is the result of an international research project launched in 2012 under the leadership of Austria. During the project, a list of 126 areas of significant pristine and ancient beech forests of Europe was obtained, of which 63 were selected for nomination. These are areas in Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Ukraine and Croatia.The inscription on the World Heritage List is a confirmation that the natural beauties of Croatia are managed in the best possible way with the aim of protection for future generations and that Croatia is among the richest European countries in terms of biodiversity and natural beauties.Related news:INITIATIVE LAUNCHED TO DECLARE IMOT LAKES UNESCO GEO PARKTHE VISA ARCHIPELAGO BECOMES THE SECOND UNESCO GEOPARK IN CROATIAPAPUK NATURE PARK THE FIRST CROATIAN GEOPARK UNDER UNESCO PROTECTIONMUNICIPALITY OF MRKOPALJ LAUNCHES INITIATIVE TO PUT WHITE AND SAMARA ROCKS UNDER UNESCO PROTECTIONTHE STONE LACE OF THE ISLAND OF BALJENAC WILL CANDIDATE FOR UNESCO!STEĆKI inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;&lt;br /&gt;<br />
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Hillary Clinton endorses Joe Biden’s presidential bid

first_img Clinton, a onetime US secretary of state, former senator from New York and wife of past President Bill Clinton, lost the 2016 presidential race against Trump in an election that is still the source of anger and consternation among many liberals who expected to elect the first female president but also wrestled with whether they chose the right candidate.The endorsement came at a Biden campaign town hall focused on the impacts of the novel coronavirus on women, who are expected to play a critical role in the most competitive swing states in the election. Biden introduced Clinton as the woman who should be president now.Biden is already his party’s presumptive nominee after his rivals dropped out, including Senator Bernie Sanders, who bitterly clashed with Clinton when they contested their party’s 2016 primary.Biden was Barack Obama’s vice president, and Clinton his first secretary of state. Both simultaneously considered presidential runs, but Biden ultimately decided against mounting a campaign then as he grieved over the death of his son Beau. Obama endorsed Biden’s current campaign two weeks ago.Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said in a statement, “There is no greater concentration of Democrat establishment than Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton together. President Trump beat her once and now he’ll beat her chosen candidate.”  Topics : Former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton endorsed fellow Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign for the office she once sought on Tuesday.”This is a moment that we need a leader, a president like Joe Biden,” she said during a joint event online with the former vice president.The endorsement, while no surprise, marks the latest in a series of high-profile Democrats lining up behind Biden ahead of what is expected to be a tight Nov. 3 election rematch between their party and Republican President Donald Trump.last_img read more

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Maersk Oil lifts profit on higher oil price, lower costs

first_imgMaersk OIl-operated Culzean development in the UK North SeaDanish oil company Maersk Oil increased its profit and revenues for the second quarter of 2017 helped by higher oil prices and lower costs. According to a financial report on Wednesday by Maersk Oil’s parent company, A.P. Moller – Maersk, Maersk Oil recorded an underlying profit of $184 million in the second quarter of 2017, compared to $130 million in the prior-year period.This result was driven by a higher average oil price of $50 per barrel versus $46 per barrel in 2Q 2016, lower costs and one-off income totaling $66 million related to tax and provisions. The result was partly offset by the lower entitlement production.The company’s revenues also increased totaling $1.37 billion in the second quarter of this year compared to $1.29 billion in the prior-year period.Maersk Oil reduced operating expenses excluding exploration costs and costs related to purchase of oil and gas for resale, by 3%, to $452m versus $468m in 2Q 2016.Cash flow used for capital expenditure was $259m, versus $330m in 2Q 2016, primarily directed at the Culzean, UK and Johan Sverdrup, Norway developments.The reduced entitlement production of 284,000 boepd, versus 331,000 boepd in 2Q 2016, was due to Qatar, where cost reduction and higher oil price led to fewer entitlement barrels for cost recovery in addition to unplanned production losses lowering the gross production.Maersk Oil exited Qatar in July after 25 years, having produced more than 1.75bn barrels of oil from the Al Shaheen field. The company said the exit from Qatar by mid-July progressed as planned. The economic finalization of the exit is still subject to review; however, Maersk Oil does not expect any adverse impact from this.Lower year-on-year production from mature assets in the UK also contributed. In Denmark, Kazakhstan, US, Algeria and Iraqi Kurdistan, production was in line with or slightly higher than same period last year due to good operational performance offsetting natural decline.The oil price is impacted by the prolonged OPEC production cuts agreed in May 2017 and was within a range of $44-55 per barrel in 2Q 2017 compared to $40-50 in the same period last year. Global supply surplus appears to extend also into 2018, however, significant uncertainty remains in the oil price outlook, the company concluded.Offshore Energy Today Stafflast_img read more

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More NCAA Corruption

first_imgBig time college basketball took another hit last month.  According to an article by Tom Hayes & Associates in the Indy Star, a federal jury in New York found former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager Christian Dawkins, and amateur league director Merl Code guilty of fraud.  These 3 were accused and found guilty of handing out money under the table to high school star players.  For example, prosecutors claimed they gave out $100,000 to try to lure a prospect to go to a college that used Adidas equipment.According to testimony, the college was not aware of these payments.  However, it cost Rick Pitino of Louisville his job and Bill Self of Kansas to be closely monitored with one young man who is currently waiting to be cleared to play for the Jayhawks.  Coach Self vehemently denies any knowledge of such transactions, but he is holding the player out of action until the matter is resolved.If you are a parent of a highly skilled young athlete, you have to be very observant of what your son/daughter is being promised if they choose to go to a certain college.  According to my knowledge of NCAA rules, the only thing they can offer you is a scholarship.  Supposedly, even the gift of any athletic equipment or clothing is illegal.  These are considered bribes.  It is a shame how some of these young athletes are targeted by outsiders who are not interested in their education, but only the money that they could make if the athlete attends a school that they sponsor.last_img read more

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Two-night IMCA One Night Stand is this weekend at LaSalle Speedway

first_imgLaSALLE, Ill. – One night of IMCA racing just won’t be enough for the One Night Stand at LaSalle Speed­way.Presented by Hoker Trucking, the third annual spe­cial retains its name while expanding to two days Friday and Saturday, Aug. 4 and 5.IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Late Models and Karl Chevro­let Northern SportMods race each race for $1,000 to win on opening night and for $3,000 to win on night two.Both Modified features are qualifying events for the 2018 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot. IMCA Speed­way Motors Weekly Racing National and Allstar Per­formance State points will be awarded both nights in all three divisions; Side Biter Chassis North Central Re­gion points will be given for each Modified show as well. There are no entry fees.Minimum start money on Friday is $200 for Late Mod­els and $125 for Modifieds. Late Models get $250 to start, Modifieds $150 to start on Saturday. Start money both nights for Northern SportMods is $100.Tow money in all three divisions is $75.Pit gates open at 2 p.m. and the grandstand opens at 3 p.m. both days. Hot laps are at 6 p.m. with racing to fol­low. Spectator admission for adults is $20 on Friday and $25 on Saturday. Kids 11 and under get in free when accom­panying a paid adult and pit passes are $35 both days.The Thursday, Aug. 3 open practice runs from 6-10 p.m. Pit passes are $25 and there is no charge for grand­stand admission.More information is available by calling 815 223-6900 or by emailing tony@lasallespeedway.com.last_img read more

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Ward rebuilds, repeats in IMCA’s Dirt Works Eastern Region

first_imgA.J. Ward repeated as champion of IMCA’s Dirt Works Eastern Region for Modifieds. He is pictured with IMCA President Brett Root. (Photo by Bruce Badgley, Motorsports Photography)IONIA, Mich. – A.J. Ward was as fast on the interstate as he was on the dirt.He’s got a second straight Dirt Works Eastern Region championship, among a trailer full of IMCA hon­ors, to show for all that speed.The Ionia, Mich., driver got on line to find a new ride after getting caught up in an early May wreck. He bought and picked up a 2015 BMS ride out of Iowa mid-week, drove home and rebuilt the car in just a day and a half, then promptly topped a $1,500 to win event at I-96 Speedway.He finished the season with 17 feature wins, earning track titles at I-96 and Crystal Motor Speedway and another Allstar Performance Michigan State crown.“I don’t believe you’re a true champion until you stay on top,” said Ward. “Our whole goal this year was to repeat as regional champion and have a solid shot at the national points, and we accomplished that.”He rallied after restarting at the back of the field to beat Gary VanderMark and Myron DeYoung to the checkers at Lake Odessa in a late June outing. Ward went no more than five races (the span from July 3-15) without a win before getting back in sync.“We hit kind of a dry spell at Crystal but we got our motivation back and got nine wins in our last 15 starts,” he said. “Our whole focus was spot on. I was racing better and the number of wins showed it.”Ward’s track-by-track numbers showed nine wins at I-96, six at Crystal and two, including the Battle by the Bay, at Tri-City Motor Speedway.A two-time heat winner, Ward raced his way into qualifying features three nights at the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s. He ran third in his final sanctioned start of the sea­son, Crystal’s Great Lakes Nationals.Ward will go into 2018 with 81 IMCA Modified career wins and new regional and national aspirations.“I want to get to 100 career wins, hopefully by or just after mid-season,” he said. “We will have new sponsors and new equipment and are going to hit everything as hard as we ever have next year. Hopefully the wins and the points will follow.”The only other Michigan driver to win an IMCA Eastern Region title is Rick Stout, in 1995 and 1996.Starts-38Wins-17Additional Top Fives-10 HIS CREW: Ryan Bennett, Tony Williams, father Frank, son Kraton, Spencer Flint, Jeff Dygert, Kyle Shattuck, Brandon Linderman and Jordan King.HIS SPONSORS: Four Seasons Mobile Pressure Washing, Level 5 Construction, Darin Elliott with Green Ridge Realty, CL Trucking & Excavating, Smokey Mountain Tobacco, Ionia Race Car Swap Meet, the Ben­nett family, Tommy Fochmocher, and Animal House Dog Grooming, all of Ionia; XLT Engineering of Kaw­kawlin; Abbott Hayes Pool Construction of Bath; TWI Installation and S and M Video, both of Stanton; Seaver Motorsports of Sheridan; Wellman & Son Machine Shop and White’s RV Rental, both of Fenwick; Brinn Inc. of Bay City; BMS of Great Bend, Kan.; Friesen Chevrolet of Sutton, Neb.; Wehrs Machine of Ban­gor, Wis.; Bob Harris Enterprises of Ames, Iowa; Quickcar Racing Products of Lebanon, Tenn.; and Close Racing Supply of Eldred, Pa.last_img read more

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