How Penn State Scientist Christine Keating Is Making Cell-Like Vesicles Out of Non-Living Polymers

Synthetic Cells

by Tom Imerito

Chris Keating wants to know something basic about how cells work. “How does a given molecule within a cell get to the place where it wants to go?” she asks.

To find the answer, a great many researchers have tried taking cells apart. But Keating, an assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State, is using a different approach: she’s building a cell from scratch.

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Plextronics' Organic Nano-Wires Make Electricity from Light and Light from Electricity

Recipes For Cooking Lightby Tom Imerito

In a world roiling in new technologies, few companies have received the early stage notoriety of Pittsburgh’s own Plextronics. Spun out of Carnegie Mellon University in 2002, the company’s technology centers on the molecular self assembly of non-metallic nanowires that, depending on their molecular structure, are able to absorb light and transform it into electrical current or, alternatively, to use electrical current to emit light. Given the technology’s revolutionary nature, I couldn’t keep myself from asking Plextronics’ CEO Andy Hannah for a brain-dump and a plant tour, which he happily granted. [Continue Reading…]