Looking At Zebra Fish to Explain Brain Diseases

Some researchers at the Ohio State University have been observing the rapidly developing brain in the zebrafish embryo. This is helping them to begin to better understand the basis of brain disorders like autism and schizophrenia.

These researchers are interested in understanding the changes that can take place during neurological development, the kind of changes that come from genetic defects that are often associated with neurological disease. They are particularly interested in figuring out why the loss of the gene Protocadadherin-19. It is already known that this loss-mutation is linked to many brain disorders—this study looks into the mechanics of “why?”

The research demonstrates that a clustering of cell interactions is a likely culprit to healthy brain development.

The study examined normal “wild” zebra fish versus those in which the researchers created PCDH19 loss. They found that, maybe, cell interactions after PCDH19 loss cold be a culprit.



Posted in OSU

New Bench Honors Fallen University Police Officer

Like many features and objects on the campus of the Ohio State University a new bench has been installed in honor of a deserving Buckeye.

The new bench recently installed at the front of Blankenship Hall at the main campus of the Ohio State University is intended to honor the only member of the Ohio State police department to be killed in the line of duty.

On February 10, 1997 Officer Michael Blankenship was responding to a suspicious person call near the Wexner Center for the Arts. Blankenship was shot by the suspect who committed suicide themselves only days later.

The new bench is an additional honor to Blankenship’s service and resides on the grounds of the building that already bears his name.

The dedication came as part of National Police Week. The Ceremony honored all officers killed in the line of duty along with Blankenship.

Posted in OSU

Much Ado About Batteries

OSU researchers are making strides in the important area of energy storage—as the need to switch over to renewable energy increases, the world needs more efficient ways to store that energy. The technology may also mean much longer-lasting batteries for mobile devices.

The journal Batteries and Supercaps the researchers have published their new findings focused on a battery’s cathode build. The cathode stores energy via a chemical reaction in a metal-air or metal-oxygen environment. The researchers believe that cheaper and better storage will make power sources like wind and solar much more viable and affordable options at both the power grid and home level.

Renewable energy sources don’t emit carbon dioxide, however many sources (again wind and solar are good examples) are always producing energy to be capture, thus when it is being made in abundance (a sunny or windy day) there needs to be an efficient and long lasting way to store that energy.

OSU, like companies, scientists and governments from all over the world are working on such storage solutions. Some solutions include large lithium-ion batteries. These would be bigger versions of those batteries used in many electric and hybrid vehicles. Other solutions involved batteries literally the size of a big box store using a metal called vanadium. The Ohio State researchers solution is just one of many humanity will need to push forward into the future.

OSU Researchers Discover New Fossil Sea Creature

At the Ohio State University scientists have found a new creature that is about 500 million years old. It is an echinoderm, making it related to your modern day sea urchins, sea stars, sea cucumbers etc. This fossil is special in that it demonstrates evolution by echinoderms that parallel important ecological changes that took place in marine sediments.

The full discovery took about 30 years and the results were published in the Bulletin of Geosciences. The work provides some insight into how the creatures made the evolutionary leap. The leap saw the echinoderms switch from living to sediment grains held to together by algae to being able to live attached to hard or shell like surfaces the way their modern decedents do.

This new sea critter got named Totiglobus spencencis and lived in the Cambrian Period (about 507 million years ago, the Earth being about 4.5 billion years old). The fossil itself was found in the shale of Spence Gulch, eastern Idaho, by a family of fossil hunters in 1992.