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GEN videos are informative, entertaining, and encompass all aspects of biotechnology.

Designer Cells as MRSA Assassins

Martin Fussenegger, Ph.D., and colleagues are using synthetic biology to develop next-generation cell therapies. In this video from Cell Reports, Dr. Fussenegger claims that “designer cells” are superior to small molecule–based treatments for diseases such as antibiotic-resistant infections (including MRSA) and implant-associated infections.

  • Designer Cells as MRSA Assassins

    Martin Fussenegger, Ph.D., and colleagues are using synthetic biology to develop next-generation cell therapies. In this video from Cell Reports, Dr. Fussenegger claims that “designer cells” are superior to small molecule–based treatments for diseases such as antibiotic-resistant infections (including MRSA) and implant-associated infections.

  • New Synthetic Nerve Could Transform Prosthetics

    A new artificial sensory nerve may potentially improve the future of people with prosthetics as show in this video from Science. Researchers detached a leg from a cockroach, inserted an electron connecting the artificial neuron to the neuron in the roach leg, and made the muscles in the leg contract.

  • More Than One: The Transition to Multicellularity

    Scientists have found 350 gene families in a single-cell organism which were once thought to be exclusive to multicellular organisms. According to this video from Science, Choanoflagellates, similar in shape to specialized cells from sponges, seem to already possess the genes necessary for the jump to a multicellular organism.

  • Alzheimer's May Be Caused by Viral Infections

    Despite a long history of failed drug candidates, the prevailing hypothesis is that amyloid-beta cascade and plaque formation are the principal causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Now, according to research published in Neuron, a new hypothesis, the Pathogen Hypothesis, posits that viral infection—specifically two non-STI herpes viruses—may play some role in early stages of the disease. This video from SciShow explains that researchers used mathematical modeling and brain banking samples to develop this hypothesis.

  • Young Scientist Creates Bandage Sensor for Wound Healing

    Anushka Naiknaware is the youngest winner of the Google Science Fair, at the age of 13. In researching diabetes-related chronic wounds, she identified an unmet need for moisture monitoring. With the support of teachers and family, but no major grants, she invented a “smart bandage” that has the potential to save limbs.

  • The Present and Future of Mini Brains

    Since 2013, developments in cerebral organoids have shown promise in areas such as in vitro disease modeling (most recently microcephaly in Zika infections) and drug discovery. In this video from SciShow, hear about about some of the things we’ve learned from mini brains and what we might learn in the future.

  • Neuronal Stem Cell–Signaling Gene Responsible for Human Brain Size

    In a recent article in Cell, researchers identified a gene called NOTCH2NL which they believe may be responsible for the large, neuron-packed brains in humans. This video from SciShow explains how the gene originated about 3-4 million years ago and what happens if its deleted in organoids.

  • Mini-Antibodies Discovered Could Lead to Drugs for Cancer and Other Diseases

    Nanobodies are small molecules derived from mini-antibodies from animals such as camels and sharks. As shown in this animated video from Science, the recent development of a nanobody library in yeast cells has sped up the production process and paved the way to developing tumor-adhering nanobodies for cancer imaging.

  • Painting a Butterfly’s Wings

    George Washington University researchers are investigating the genomic basis of the diversity of butterflies’ color patterns using CRISPR technology. As shown in this video from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the team is attempting to knockout the “master paintbrush” genes to gain a better understanding of the interaction between wing color genes.

  • Plug-and-Play Diagnostics

    A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers are developing a modular testing system made from inexpensive materials that can be used by both scientists and students alike. The system, called ampli, uses removeable blocks and test strips to rapidly prototype diagnostic tests.

  • CRISPR Diagnostics

    This new animated video from Science explains how CRISPR technology can be used to develop diagnostic tests using optogenetics. Recent advances in technologies such as The Broad Institute’s SHERLOCK may lead the way to CRISPR-based disease detection systems for conditions including Zika viral infection.

  • Math Can Help Uncover Cancer's Secrets

    In a recent TEDtalk, Irina Kareva, Ph.D., research scientist, EMD Serono Research Center, Billerica, MA, talked about using mathematical models to look for cell behaviors, including cancer cells.

  • Celebrating 65 Years of DNA Discoveries

    National DNA Day is not only a celebration of the structure and sequence of the double-helix, but also the tireless commitment of researchers to understand the complexities of our genetic blueprint. This year is even more special as we celebrate the 15th anniversary since the completion of the human genome sequence. Let’s revel in all things DNA and watch a video timeline highlighting 65 years of significant dates in DNA discovery.

  • 3D Microscopy of Immune Cell Migration in Zebrafish Ear

    Nobel-prize-winning physicist Eric Betzig, Ph.D., recently lead a team to develop a revolutionary way of imaging live cells. As reported in Science, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute team used a combination of adaptive optics and lattice-sheet microscopy to create a 10-foot-long microscope for creating movies of living organisms. A tabletop version is currently in development.

  • What Is Machine Learning?

    Many of the buzzwords thrown around in biotechnology these days come from computer science. One of these is “machine learning”. In this short video from the National Science Foundation, the CEO of Insightfinder explains the concept in simple terms.

  • Genotype-Tissue Expression Project

    GTEx is a large gene expression database with approximately 1,000 participants donating 50 tissue samples each. Researchers across the life sciences can use this as a baseline reference point for rare genetic diseases. The data easily accessible through the GTEx Portal website.

  • Mutating DNA Caught on Film

    Cellular mutations, it turns out are much more common than we thought. And fatal mutations, at least in bacteria, are far less common than we thought. This video from Science shows the tracking of spontaneous mutations of bacteria and their cell fate, using microfluidic chips.

  • GMO Yeast Makes Beer without Hops

    Hops. This single plant, originally an ale preservative, has been used to create the flowery flavor of beer that adults have enjoyed for millennia. Now, researchers at UCal Berkeley have used CRISPR/Cas9 technology to modify several strains of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (Brewer’s Yeast) to produce a hoppy flavor without using the signature plant. In a blind taste test facilitated by the Lagunitas Brewing Company, testers detected notes of “fruit loops” and “orange blossom” in the GMO-made beer.

  • Tracking Live Cells Deep within Animals’ Bodies

    In this video by Science, scientists adapt firefly biology to create bioluminescent cells detectable from outside the body. In the future this technique could be used in medical imaging. It could help scientists know where stem cells end up, help in the success of gene editing, and track tumor growth.

  • Rapid Disease Detective

    In this video from The Broad Institute, two grad students from the lab of Feng Zhang, Ph.D., demonstrate rapid infectious disease testing using SHERLOCK (specific high-sensitivity enzymatic reporter unlocking) technology, a variant of CRISPR technology.