Keeping plant-cell motors on track

In a growing plant cell, motor proteins called kinesins work as transporters that haul materials built in one part of the cell to the place where they are needed. Now, biologists at Washington University in St. Louis have discovered the molecular brakeman that holds kinesins in check until their cargo is needed.

Advancing well-being with global partnerships

Washington University in St. Louis strives to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. As such, the university is fully engaged with a global network of partners, via education programs and research initiatives, to develop tangible and lasting solutions. That effort was evidenced when Washington University recently arranged a cross-disciplinary international symposia highlighting the intersection of social policy, engineering and medicine.

Engineers examine chemo-mechanics of heart defect

Elastin and collagen serve as the body’s building blocks. Any genetic mutation short-circuiting their function can have a devastating, and often lethal, health impact. For the first time, new research led by engineers at Washington University in St. Louis takes a closer look at both genetic and mechanical attributes, to better understand a disorder that affects how elastin and collagen function.

New use for a pesky weed

Dandelions are much-maligned weeds, with a paratrooper-like seed dispersal system that makes them difficult to eradicate. However, new research from an engineer at Washington University in St. Louis finds a great benefit in an unlikely place for the pesky dandelion: each of its tiny seeds can be used as a perfect pipette in the laboratory setting.