Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Making light of food allergies

Researchers in Spain are taking steps towards ‘allergy-free’ food, by treating allergy-inducing proteins with a pulsed light treatment that makes them easier to digest.

 The scientists at the University of Granada and the AZTI-Tecnalia Food Research Institute studied the protein β-lactoglobulin, which acts as an excellent emulsifier in milk and other food products but has a compact structure that defies easy digestion. This lack of digestibility is linked to allergenicity, explains team member Julia Maldonado-Valderrama: ‘If the protein is not completely digested, the body reacts as if it is an allergen, which can trigger an allergic reaction.’ Pre-treatment could break down the protein structure before eating; however, it’s a balancing act. ‘If you break the protein down too much in order to facilitate digestion, they lose their functionality and can’t be used to make foams and emulsions in food products,’ says Maldonado-Valderrama.

To read the full article please visit Chemistry World.

Improved digestibility of β-lactoglobulin by pulsed light processing: dilatational and shear study
Teresa del Castillo-Santaella, Esther Sanmartín-Sierra, Miguel Cabrerizo-Vílchez, J Arboleya and Julia Maldonado-Valderrama 
Soft Matter, 2014
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM01667J, Paper

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Colloidal caterpillars get a wiggle on

Researchers have devised a new method to transport micro cargo – by attaching it to chains of colloidal particles that wiggle their way through liquid crystals.

The research team, led by Hiroshi Orihara from Hokkaido University, Japan, and Christian Bahr from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Germany, created colloidal ‘caterpillars’ from surface-modified silica particles which self-assemble into chains when placed in a liquid crystal medium. To make them move, the team exploit an effect called electrohydrodynamic convection (EHC), where the application of an electric field creates a convective pattern of parallel rolls within the medium. The caterpillars travel in an undulating motion across successive rolls, driven by a combination of hydrodynamic flow and electric field effects. Excitingly, the caterpillars can be attached to and used to transport larger particles and liquid droplets, which are in themselves too big to be moved by the EHC rolls.

To read the full article visit Chemistry World.

Colloidal Caterpillars for Cargo Transportation
Yuji Sasaki, Yoshinori Takikawa, VSR Jampani, Hikaru Hoshikawa, Takafumi Seto, Christian Bahr, Stephan Herminghaus, Yoshiki Hidaka and Hiroshi Orihara  
Soft Matter, 2014, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM01354A, Paper

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Soft matter goes digital

Already used in everything from paints to optical materials, colloids have found an entirely new application: as computing elements capable of high density information storage.

US collaborators Sharon Glotzer from University of Michigan and David Pine from New York University have designed a system of reconfigurable colloidal clusters which show potential for performing computational functions in unconventional environments. The team’s ‘digital colloids’ are based on specially designed dimpled particles, which, through entropic interactions, can be made to assemble onto a central sphere and explore various configurations on the sphere’s surface.

To read the full article please visit Chemistry World.

Carolyn L. Phillips, Eric Jankowski, Bhaskar Jyoti Krishnatreya, Kazem V. Edmond, Stefano Sacanna, David G. Grier, David J. Pine and Sharon C. Glotzer
Soft Matter, 2014, Advance Article DOI: 10.1039/C4SM00796D
Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Enrico Fermi Summer School on Soft Matter Self-Assembly

Making plans for next summer?

The International School of Physics Enrico Fermi is holding a Summer School on Soft Matter Self-Assembly on June 28-July 7 2015 in Varenna, Italy.  

The 10-day school will be a great opportunity for PhD students and postdocs to engage with the some of the most exciting and current topics in the physics of colloids, through a series of mini-courses and seminars hosted by leading figures in the field.

Topics include:

  • Colloids with directional bonding (David Pine, New York University, US)
  • Pathways to self-organization (Christoph Dellago, University of Vienna, Austria)
  • Particles at interfaces (Kathleen Stebe, University of Pennsylvania, US)
  • Self-assembly hydrodynamics (Julia Yeomans, Oxford University, UK)
  • Driven self-assembly (Peter Schurtenberger, Lund University, Sweden )
  • Polymer structure and dynamics (Michael Rubinstein, University of North Carolina, US)
  • Liquid-crystal colloid dispersions (Randall Kamien, University of Pennsylvania, US)
  • DNA-based self-assembly (Oleg Gang, Brookhaven National University, US)
  • Self-organizing nanosystems (Willem Kegel, Utrecht University, the Netherlands)

For more information, take a look at the website of the International School of Physics Enrico Fermi, or contact the summer school directors Christos Likos, University of Vienna, Francesco Sciortino, Sapienza Universita di Roma, or Primoz Ziherl, Jozef Stefan Institute.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

A second look at dry eye syndrome

Measurements highlighting the different mechanical properties of healthy and diseased tear film could provide fresh understanding of the underlying causes of dry eye syndrome, and point to new treatments to ease the discomfort of millions of sufferers.

With risk factors including contact lens wear and extended periods in front of a computer screen, the discomfort and visual disturbance associated with dry eye syndrome (DES) is a growing public health concern.

To read the full article please visit Chemistry World.

Surface relaxations as a tool to distinguish the dynamic interfacial properties of films by normal and diseased meibomian lipids
Georgi As. Georgiev, Norihiko Yokoi, Slavyana Ivanova, Vesselin Tonchev, Yana Nencheva and Rumen Krastev  
Soft Matter, 2014,
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM00758A
Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

2014 Soft Matter Lectureship awarded to Eric Dufresne

Eric Dufresne (L) in the lab

We are delighted to announce Professor Eric Dufresne (Yale University) as the recipient of the 2014 Soft Matter Lectureship. This award is given annually to honour a scientist who, although still in the earlier stages of their career, has made a remarkable contribution to the soft matter field.

Eric is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Yale University.  His research group is focused on experimental soft matter physics, with emphases on colloids, capillarity and cell biology.  Eric earned his Ph.D. with David Grier at the University of Chicago and was a post-doc with David Weitz at Harvard.

Here is a sample of Eric’s recent Soft Matter papers:

Traction force microscopy in physics and biology Robert W. Style, Rostislav Boltyanskiy, Guy K. German, Callen Hyland, Christopher W. MacMinn, Aaron F. Mertz, Larry A. Wilen, Ye Xu and Eric R. Dufresne

Imaging stress and strain in the fracture of drying colloidal films Ye Xu, Guy K. German, Aaron F. Mertz and Eric R. Dufresne

 
We would like to thank everybody who nominated a candidate for the Soft Matter Lectureship- the high calibre of the nominees meant that selecting this year’s recipient was not an easy decision for our Editorial Board.  Please keep an eye on the blog for more Lectureship news, including information on where Eric will be presenting his Soft Matter lecture.
 
Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Anna Balazs is made a Materials Research Society Fellow

Congratulations to Soft Matter Editorial Board member Anna Balazs, who has been made a Fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS) this year.

This recognition honors MRS members who are notable for their distinguished accomplishments and their outstanding contributions to the advancement of materials research, worldwide. 

Anna, who is a Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, was awarded the Fellowship “for pioneering contributions to the prediction of materials behavior, ranging from nanocomposites to self-healing materials to oscillating gels, through the development of novel computational models.” Congratulations, Anna, on an excellent achievement!

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Paul Janmey joins the Soft Matter Editorial Board

We are delighted to welcome our new Soft Matter Editorial Board member Professor Paul Janmey.

Soft Matter Associate Editor Paul JanmeyPaul Janmey is a Professor of Physiology at the Institute for Medicine and Engineering, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (USA).  After receiving his PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Professor Janmey undertook a post-doctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he developed an approach to apply polymer physics methods to study the cytoskeleton.
 
In his research work, Professor Janmey uses a variety of imaging, scattering and rheologic methods to study of cell mechanics. His current interests include:

  • viscoelastic properties of biopolymer networks
  • how and why cells respond to their mechanical environment
  • the regulation of cytoskeletal and extracellular matrix assembly
  • new biocompatible materials for tissue engineering and wound healing

As a Soft Matter Associate Editor, Professor Janmey will be handling submissions to the journal. Why not submit your next paper to his Editorial Office?

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Soft Matter 2014 Lectureship: Update

Thank you to everyone who nominated a candidate for the Soft Matter 2014 Lectureship. The response has been fantastic and we now have an extensive list of excellent nominees for our Editorial Board to consider. We will be announcing the winner next month-do keep an eye on the blog for further news!

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Redefining moisturiser – Soft Matter article in Chemistry World

The secret to soft skin is not necessarily increasing its water content but retaining molecular fluidity © Shutterstock

Scientists in Sweden have probed the outermost layer of skin to gain molecular insights into how naturally occurring molecules in this layer protect it from drying out.

Healthy skin with a normal degree of hydration is soft and pliable. This is not the case for dry skin, which is brittle and easily cracks. To treat dry skin it is common to apply a cosmetic containing a humectant  ̶  a type of “moisturiser” – like glycerol or urea. These substances are also components of natural moisturising factor (NMF), a group of molecules naturally present in the skin barrier. The beneficial function of these compounds if often claimed to be their capacity for increasing skin hydration, although the underlying mechanisms are generally described with a rather weak molecular basis.

Interested to know more? Read the full news article by Jennifer Newton in Chemistry World here…

Read the paper by Sebastian Björklund et. al for free until 23 May 2014:

Stratum corneum molecular mobility in the presence of natural moisturizers
Sebastian Björklund, Jenny Marie Andersson, Agnieszka Ewa Nowacka, Quoc Dat Pham, Daniel Topgaard and Emma Sparr
Soft Matter, 2014, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM00137K, Paper

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)