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Blavatnik Awards 2014 Nominates Iranian Scientists

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review

*Blavatnik Awards 2014 nominates Iranian scientists

Three Iranian scientists have entered the final list of nominees for the 2014 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the United States.

Selected out of 300 candidates, the three Iranian scientists were named in the list of 30 finalists of 2014 Blavatnik Awards.

Ali Reza Javeheri from California Institute of Technology, and Ali Khadem Hosseini from Harvard University and Ali Haji-Miri from the California Institute of Technology.

All the three candidates have worked on life sciences, physics, engineering and chemistry.

The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists National Competition honors America’s most innovative young faculty-rank scientists and engineers.

The Blavatnik Awards rewards the winners in three disciplinary categories including Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists in Life Sciences , Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists in Physical Sciences and Engineering and Blavatnik National  Award for Young Scientists in Chemistry.

Nominations are accepted from a pre-selected group of research universities, independent research institutions, academic medical centers, and government laboratories from around the United States.

Every year, one nominee in each category is named a Blavatnik Laureate and awarded $250,000 in unrestricted funds.

The awards will be conferred during a formal ceremony on September 15, 2014 in New York City.

*NASA Kepler Telescope confirms Iranian professor's predictions

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Kepler Space Telescope has confirmed the predictions of Iranian professor over black holes and white dwarfs.

Sohrab Rahvar, a professor of Sharif University of Technology Physics Department in an article published in 2011, predicted that the black holes and white dwarfs are some types of compact objects in the space that are not directly observable.

The researchers of the University of Washington also have experimentally observed the predictions of the Iranian expert after examining the Kepler Space Telescope data.

*Iranian among winners of New York housing contest

For its Living Cities competition, Metropolis magazine asked participants for solutions to the housing crisis facing New York.
According to the magazine, the city is expected to gain a million more residents by 2040, placing a strain on housing and transport, Gizmag wrote.

The winners have now been announced and include a twisting tower on the High Line and a multi-transport, entertainment and residential hub. The competition sought designs that were based within the five boroughs of New York, that incorporated a 30-40 story residential tower and that included an “innovative structural steel system”.

Participants were also asked to consider sustainability, multi-use strategies, lifestyle amenities and multi-generational design.
Vivo was designed and submitted by Andrew Duffin and NBRS+Partners. It reworks the concept of New York’s High Line, a redevelopment of the West Side Line railroad that was opened in 1934 before falling into disuse and which has spawned similar projects in places such as Sydney. The concept “engulfs” the High Line and extends it vertically. “It’s a hybrid structural system where the triangulated diagrid system acts as an exoskeleton providing lateral stability and vertical support,” explains the Vivo team.

“This frees the internal space from needing intermediate internal structure allowing ultimate flexibility for remodeling or use changes over its lifespan. Vivo is alive and responds to the daily and seasonal energy of NYC.” The second winner was a design by Chad Kellogg, Matthew Bowles and Nina Mahjoub of AMLGM. Named Urban Alloy, it is a huge road and rail transport interchange, with the sprawling steel tendrils of the structure appearing to suck in the surrounding train lines and freeways proving a central connecting point for people across New York. In addition to the transport hub, the building also houses residential units and entertainment spaces, made easily accessible by the transport links.

“Unlike concrete structures that benefit from a very regular floor to floor height because of the need to reuse formwork, steel structures can efficiently be constructed with each unique member cut by an automated system,” explains the Urban Alloy team. The winners each receive a prize money of $10,000.

Mahjoub graduated in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2006. She completed her masters in the same field at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007

*Nader Engheta Receives Balthasar van der Pol Gold Medal

Nader Engheta, H. Nedwill Ramsey Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering, is the recipient of the Balthasar van der Pol Gold Medal from the International Union of Radio Science (URSI) for "groundbreaking contributions and innovations in electromagnetic theory and applications of composite materials, metamaterials and nanoscale optics, bio-inspired imaging and sensing, and material-based optical nanocircuitry."

The van der Pol Gold Medal is one of the highest awards URSI gives and is awarded only once every three years. The Medal is awarded to outstanding scientists for career achievements with evidence of significant contributions within the most recent six-year period. The award honors the memory of Balthasar van der Pol, a physicist who was closely associated with URSI for many years.

Engheta's research activities span a broad range of areas involving the physics of fields and waves. He is a leading figure in the field of metamaterials, which combines physics, engineering and nanotechnology to bend and manipulate waves in ways that natural materials cannot. He has also published numerous journal papers, book chapters, conference articles, and is a Guggenheim Fellow, an IEEE Third Millennium Medallist, a Fellow of American Physical Society, a Fellow of IEEE, a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a Fellow of SPIE-The International Society for Optical Engineering, and a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, and has received numerous other awards and distinctions, such as the 2012 IEEE Electromagnetics Award and the 2013 SINA Award in engineering, for his scholarly research contributions and teaching activities.

The International Union of Radio Science (Union Radio-Scientifique Internationale) is a non-governmental and non-profit organization under the International Council for Science. It is responsible for stimulating and coordinating, on an international basis, studies, research, applications, scientific exchange, and communication in the fields of radio science.

To read more about Engheta and his research, please visit his website.

*Iranians, Finns devise model to decipher nanocomposites

Iranian researchers from Isfahan University of Technology, in association with Finnish researchers from Alto University, have presented a micromechanical model that can predict mechanical properties of various types of polymeric and metallic nanocomposites.

Taking into account the malfunctions of nanocomposites, the model is able to present an appropriate and ideal method for the production of a nanocomposite with the best mechanical properties, Fars News Agency reported.

The method has applications in various industries, including aerospace, automobile manufacturing and medical engineering.

Theoretical methods commonly used for the calculation of mechanical properties of nanocomposites are not in agreement with results obtained from experimental data. The main reason for the disagreement is malfunctions such as accumulation and compression of strengthening nanomaterials and their separation from the composite bed.

The model is in conformity with the reality of the problem and takes into consideration the separation of strengthening materials during the mechanical loading.

By observing the significant difference between experimental data and existing theories, the researchers proposed a new micromechanical model that is able to determine the size of strengthening particles and their surface adhesive energy with the bed material.

Evaluation of the proposed model showed that there was a small difference between results obtained from the theoretical model and the experimental data.

In order to prevent damage caused by the separation of strengthening materials, tension-stress curves obtained from different methods can be compared with results obtained from the theory so that an ideal method is achieved to produce nanocomposites.

In other words, a comparison of results showed the best method to create higher surface adhesion energy and an optimum size for strengthening particles to prevent separation

*UCLA Iranian  professor Mona Jarrahi wins Presidential Early Career Award

Mona Jarrahi, an associate professor of electrical engineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, has received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) — the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering researchers in the early stages of their careers.

Jarrahi, who is working to develop ultra-fast optoelectronic technologies for use in health care, telecommunications, remote sensing and other applications, joined the UCLA Engineering faculty in 2013. She is one of 102 scientists and engineers to receive a 2013 PECASE. The awards were announced Dec. 23.

"The impressive achievements of these early-stage scientists and engineers are promising indicators of even greater successes ahead," President Obama said in announcing the awards. "We are grateful for their commitment to generating the scientific and technical advancements that will ensure America's global leadership for many years to come."

Jarrahi, who came to UCLA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she was a faculty member, focuses on developing next-generation devices and integrated systems for terahertz/millimeter-wave sensing, imaging, computing and communication systems.

Jarrahi's group investigates novel materials, plasmonic nanostructures and device concepts that work at terahertz frequencies, with the potential to improve sensing and imaging of opaque substances and deepen our understanding of their molecular constituents.

"I am delighted and honored that my work on terahertz optoelectronics has been recognized with the presidential award," Jarrahi said. "I plan to employ the terahertz device technologies developed in my group for medical imaging and diagnostics, biological sensing, atmospheric sensing, pharmaceutical quality control and security screening." Vijay K. Dhir, the dean of UCLA Engineering, said Jarrahi is the eighth current member of the school's faculty to receive a PECASE.

"It is great news that Professor Jarrahi's work has been recognized by the president," Dhir said. "We are certain that she will continue to distinguish herself and will contribute as UCLA Engineering sustains and improves its reputation for teaching the engineers and leaders of the future, performing public service and engaging in cutting-edge research."

Jarrahi has received many honors, including the National Academy of Engineering's Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Award, an early career award from the National Science Foundation, and young investigator awards from the Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Advanced Projects Agency. "I would like to thank the current and former members of my research group for their great contributions and the excitement they bring to our projects," Jarrahi said. "I also would like to thank our funding agencies — ONR, NSF, DARPA, ARO and NASA — for supporting our research."

*Mashhad University professor awarded in Geneva

A Mashhad University of Medical Sciences professor has been awarded in the 42nd International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva.Dr. Ehsan Soltani won the gold medal and special prize for inventions of Switzerland.

Soltani, who is specialist in general surgery and a lecturer, won the prize for design and manufacture of device for blood exchange transfusion for infants with severe neonatal hyperbilirubinemia.

The International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva was held 1-7 April with inventors from US, France, Germany, Korea Republic, Russia, Switzerland, Thailand, Spain, and Iran in different fields.

Dr. Soltani said about the invention presented in the exhibition that the gold medal was awarded to the invention of automotive device used for Blood exchange transfusion for infants with severe neonatal hyperbilirubinemia.

However he added that blood transfusion for infants with severe neonatal hyperbilirubinemia was now carried out by nurses and by hand. “Operation of the device and all clinical tests has been done within borders, which minimizes the human error and controls the blood transfusion automatically,” he added.

*Iran’s Ershaqi joins US engineering academy

An Iranian petroleum engineering professor, Iraj Ershaqi, has become a member of the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Teaching at the University of South California, Ershaqi has been selected as a member of the NAE, ISNA reported.

Ershaqi holds a BS in petroleum engineering from Tehran University. He also holds an MS and PhD in petroleum engineering from the University of South California.

The Iranian professor has made innumerable contributions to the university over the past four decades. In 2012, he received the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ highest distinction, the Honorary Member Award, and in 2010, the John Franklin Carll Medal.

Under his leadership over 27 years as its chair, the USC Petroleum Engineering Program has become one of the most renowned in the country.

An internationally known expert in petroleum technology, Ershaqi also helped establish a number of innovative programs in the curriculum, including the nation’s first and only master’s in petroleum engineering in smart oilfield technology.

As co-director of CiSoft, a partnership between USC Viterbi and Chevron Corp,. Ershaqi has played an integral role in its success by helping build teams of university scholars, scientists and students to undertake important research. In recognition of its educational impact, the Orange County Engineering Council last year named CiSoft as its Engineering Project of the Year.

The NAE was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. Members have distinguished themselves in business and academic management, in technical positions, as university faculty and as leaders in government and private engineering organizations.

Members are elected to NAE membership by their peers (current NAE members).

*University of Tehran Researchers Invent Non-Enzyme Sensor to Detect Blood Sugar

Iranian researchers at University of Tehran produced a very highly sensitive sensor to measure the amount of blood sugar.

The newly-invented sensor has applications in foodstuff and medical industries to measure the concentration of glucose in samples.

Carbon nanotubes/iron oxide nanoparticles have been used in the production of the sensor. The sensor is non-enzyme type and it has high repeatability, stability and selectivity.

In the presence of interrupting species such as ascorbic acid and uric acid, the sensor's response is exact and without interruption in determination of glucose.

Taking into consideration the nature of enzymes, instability is the most common problem in the application of enzyme biosensors. Moreover, the activity of glucose oxide is easily affected by temperature, pH value, humidity, and toxic chemicals. The production of this non-enzyme biosensor resolves all these problems.

The use of carbon nanotube in the production of this sensor increases electrode surface up to five times. On the other hand, changes in the surface of nanotubes by using iron oxide nanoparticles improve catalytic activity of the biosensor in the oxidation of glucose.

The use of carbon nanotubes and iron oxide nanoparticles also improved electron transfer properties and increased the rate of electrochemical reaction. As a result, the electrochemical properties of the produced non-enzyme sensor have been improved. The sensor has a controlled electron transfer process with electron transfer coefficient of 0.35.

Results of the research have been published in Journal of the Electrochemical Society, vol. 161, issue 1, November 2013, pp. 19-25.

*Eight Iranian-Americans among recipients of the 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor 

Eight Iranian-Americans are among the recipients of the 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor which will be awarded on May 10th, 2014. The medals are presented annually to American citizens who have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic groups while exemplifying the values of the American way of life.

Iranian Americans being awarded the 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor:

•Dr. Kamiar Alaei - Director of Global Institute for Health and Human Rights at the University of Albany
•Ms. Iran Davar Ardalan - Senior Producer of NPR's Tell Me More
•Ms. Sherry Bahrambeygui -- Managing member at the Price Group, LLC .
•Mr. Shaygan Kheradpir - CEO of Juniper Networks, Inc.
•Dr. Aria Mehrabi - Principal of Pacific Star Capital
•Mr. Ali Mojdehi -- Partner in the Cooley Bankruptcy & Restructuring practice group.
•Dr. Darioush Nasseri - Orthopedic Surgeon at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
•Mr. Pejman Nozad - Founding General Partner of Amidzad Partners

The Ellis Island Medal of Honor was founded by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) and intended to pay homage to the immigrant experience. The medals honor the contribution made to America by immigrants and the legacy they left behind in the successes of their children and grandchildren. Many Medalists take pride in documenting their family's entry to the country via Ellis Island. The medals are awarded to native-born and naturalized U.S. citizens from various ethnic backgrounds. The honorees are said to "exemplify outstanding qualities in both their personal and professional lives, while continuing to preserve the richness of their particular heritage."

The medals were established at the time of NECO's founding in 1986. A ceremony is held each May on Ellis Island. All branches of the United States Armed Forces traditionally participate. Both the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate have officially recognized the Ellis Island Medals of Honor. Each year's recipients are read into the Congressional Record.The Great Hall where immigrants were once processed hosts the gala dinner which follows the ceremony. Approximately 100 Medalists are honored each year. Past Medalists include six Presidents, as well as Nobel Prize winners and leaders of industry, education, the arts, sports and government.

*Iranians help produce hydrogen as green fuel

Iranian researchers from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences studied the thermodynamic stability of layered components of manganese oxide and compared them to other manganese oxides.

Conducted in association with the University of California, the researchers showed layered manganese oxide had vindicator properties with high performance in oxidation reactions, Fars News Agency reported.

The research can result in designing and producing more effective catalysts for the oxidation of water and production of hydrogen as a green fuel.

In this research, various concentrations of potassium permanganate were dissolved in water, and manganese acetate and calcium acetate were added to it in the alkaline media. In the next stage, the obtained solid was strained and dried. It results in the synthesis of a number of layered oxides with various characteristics.

The high area of the compounds helps the oxidation of water due to their nanometric scale. Moreover, it is considered as an effective catalyst due to its high thermodynamic stability and high surface area and low surface energy.

“By using nanotechnology, a nanostructured layer was obtained although distance regularity is not observed in it. The structure provides a very high area. Besides, thermodynamically speaking, it can be assumed that this type of oxide has been formed during the reaction between an acidic compound (manganese oxide) and an alkaline oxide (calcium oxide). This assumption explains the high stability of the oxide,” Nayyeri, one of the researchers, said.

*Iranian helps discover molecular shift in brain

An Iranian scientist Mahsan Mobser, along with his colleagues at the University of British Columbia, identifies an important molecular change that occurs in the brain when we learn and remember.

Published in Nature Neuroscience, the research shows that learning stimulates our brain cells in a manner that causes a small fatty acid to attach to delta-catenin, a protein in the brain, ISNA reported.

This biochemical modification is essential in producing the changes in brain cell connectivity associated with learning, the study finds.

In animal models, the scientists found almost twice the amount of modified delta-catenin in the brain after learning about new environments. While delta-catenin has previously been linked to learning, this study is the first to describe the protein’s role in the molecular mechanism behind memory formation.

“More work is needed, but this discovery gives us a much better understanding of the tools our brains use to learn and remember, and provides insight into how these processes become disrupted in neurological diseases,” says co-author Shernaz Bamji, an associate professor in UBC’s Life Sciences Institute.

It may also provide an explanation for some mental disabilities, the researchers say. People born without the gene have a severe form of mental retardation called Cri-du-chat syndrome, a rare genetic disorder named for the high-pitched cat-like cry of affected infants. Disruption of the delta-catenin gene has also been observed in some patients with schizophrenia.

“Brain activity can change both the structure of this protein, as well as its function,” says Stefano Brigidi, first author of the article and a PhD candidate in Bamji’s laboratory.

“When we introduced a mutation that blocked the biochemical modification that occurs in healthy subjects, we abolished the structural changes in brain’s cells that are known to be important for memory formation.”

According to the researchers, more work is needed to fully establish the importance of delta-catenin in building the brain connectivity behind learning and memory.

Disruptions to these nerve cell connections are also believed to cause neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington disease.

Understanding the biochemical processes that are important for maintaining these connections may help address the abnormalities in nerve cells that occur in these disease states.

*Iran, Spain study nanostructured steel

Iranian researchers from Sahand University of Technology, in association with researchers from the National Center for Metallurgical Research in Madrid, Spain, studied microstructural changes of nanostructured bainitic steel at low temperature and succeeded in its thermal stabilization during low-temperature thermal operation.

Microstructure stability is very important in low-temperature nanostructured bainitic steel to identify its limitations and to resolve them, Fars News Agency reported.

Microstructure stability in this group of industrial alloys can be investigated in two mechanical and thermal aspects.
The microstructure of nanostructured bainitic steel is thermodynamically instable due to its nature and bainitic evolution mechanism. Therefore, the importance of the subject becomes sensible when the mentioned steel is used at a specific range of temperature for a long time.

It is necessary to predict changes in the microstructure at operational temperature because these microstructure changes affect mechanical properties.

The unique mechanical properties of this type of steel are directly affected by the nanometric microstructure. That’s why the present study is important.

The prediction and control of mechanical properties can be possible by controlling the microstructure during changes in parameters such as temperature and time.

The aim of the present study was to study microstructure changes in a specific type of bainitic steel during austempering operation at low temperature (in the range of bainitic evolution) and over a long time. Promising results were obtained in this research.

Generally speaking, low-temperature nanostructured bainitic steel has various applications in military industries, car manufacturing and railroad industries due to its very desirable combination of strength and flexibility properties. This research will play an important role in the development of steel and its applications.

*Smoking impacts renal carcinoma survival

For patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma, smoking exposure adversely impacts cancer-specific survival and increases the risk of death from another cause, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of Urology.

Behfar Ehdaie, MD, MPH, from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues examined the impact of smoking exposure on cancer-specific survival in 1,625 patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma, Oncology Nurse Advisor said.

Data were collected from patients treated with surgery from 1995 through 2012 and the correlations between smoking status with advanced disease and cancer-specific survival were determined during a median follow-up of 4.5 years.

The researchers found that the prevalence of current, former and never smoking was 16, 30 and 54 percent at diagnosis. A smoking history of 20 pack-years or greater was associated with a significantly increased risk of advanced disease on univariable analysis (odds ratio, 1.43).

After adjustment for age and gender, the correlation was not independent. On multivariable competing risks analysis, pathological stage and Fuhrman grade adversely affected cancer-specific survival.

On multivariable analysis, the correlation between smoking and cancer-specific survival did not achieve statistical significance (hazard ratio, 1.5; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.89 to 2.52), although there was a trend toward an adverse effect of smoking. The risk of death from another cause was significantly higher for current smokers than never smokers (hazard ratio, 1.93).

The authors write treatment plans encouraging smoking cessation in survivorship programs are recommended for these patients.

*Iranian helps overcome antibiotic resistance

A group of researchers at the University of Notre Dame, led by Iranian scientist Shahriar Mobashery, have discovered a new class of antibiotics that can treat antibiotic-resistant infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.

The group was led by Shahriar Mobashery and Mayland Chang. The study was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society titled “Discovery of a New Class of Non-beta-lactam Inhibitors of Penicillin-Binding Proteins with Gram-Positive Antibacterial Activity, ISNA reported.

The class, called Oxadiazoles, was discovered using a silico screening and showed great promise when it was used to treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in mouse models of the infection. After the researchers tested 1.2 million compounds, they discovered that the oxadiazoles inhibited PB2a, a protein that binds to penicillin, and the biosynthesis of the cell wall that allows MRSA to be resistant to other medications.

The oxadiazoles discovered at Notre Dame was also effective when taken orally, which is important because currently there is one oral medication designed to treat MRSA.

Greg Crawford, the dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame, said Mobashery and Chang’s discovery of a new class of compounds that fight drug-resistant bacteria such as MRSA could save thousands of lives all over the world.

Crawford also said the college is grateful for their persistence and leadership in combating drug resistance.

Chang said Professor Mobasheri has been working on finding the mechanism that causes MRSA to be resistant.
“As they continue to understand the mechanisms, they can create solutions to create compounds that battle MRSA,” she said.

Dr. Asad Ansari, who treats pediatric infectious diseases, said the new class of antibiotics is a different way to treat MRSA.

*Iranian scientist helps design computer by light

A group of scientists led by an Iranian researcher Mohammad Hafezi have a new way to edge around a difficult problem in quantum physics.

The research team from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and University of Maryland’s Joint Quantum Institute has proved their recent theory about how particles of light flow within a novel device they built.

While the problem itself how to find an easier way to study the quantum Hall effect may be unfamiliar to many, the team’s solution could help computer designers use light instead of electricity to carry information in computer circuits, potentially leading to vast improvements in efficiency, ISNA reported.

The quantum Hall effect is observed when there is a magnetic field perpendicular to a flat wire that has electrons flowing through it. The field pushes the electrons over to one side of the wire, so their flow is concentrated along its edge.

Although a fairly exotic piece of physics, the quantum Hall effect already has been applied to make better standards for electrical conductance. But the effect is hard to study because measuring it requires stringent lab conditions, including extremely low temperatures and samples of exceptional purity.

The team looked for a way around these issues, and in 2011 they found a potential, albeit theoretical, answer: Build a model system in which particles of light behave exactly like electrons do when subjected to the quantum Hall effect, and study that system instead.

“We knew building an analogous system that uses photons would have additional advantages,” said NIST physicist Mohammad Hafezi. “Light can carry much more information than electricity, so working with a photon-based system also could help us design computer components that use light.” To test their theory, the team built an array of tiny, nearly flat silicon rings atop an oxide surface. Beaming photons of the right wavelength at one of the rings makes these photons loop around the ring many times.

The rings—which look like 25-micrometer wide racetracks—sit about 150 nanometers from one another, close enough that a photon in one ring can hop to an adjacent one. If a ring happens to be defective, which can and does happen in the fabrication process, the photon instead hops to another ring, but eventually finds its way back to the edge of the array, where it continues traveling. Thus, the device transports photons from one place to another even if some of the rings don’t function, a key point for manufacturers, who will want devices that work even if they are not physically flawless.

But why go through the trouble of making the photons go ring-hopping? Hafezi said the rings encourage the photons to travel only along the edge of the array instead of taking a path through its midsection—just like electrons experiencing the quantum Hall effect do in a conductor. The secret, he said, lies in the rings’ arrangement and its peculiar effect on the photons. “Our theory showed the topology of the ring array would create the effect we wanted and our experiment confirms it,” Hafezi said. “We now have a robust silicon device that can transport photons at room temperature. We hope it will prove useful for both fundamental studies of physics as well as practical component design.”

*Partovi twins quietly emerge as top Silicon Valley angel investors

Ali and Hadi Partovi may not be household names, but the twins have quietly helped launch some of Silicon Valley's biggest startups of recent vintage.

Hadi co-founded Tellme Networks, which Microsoft bought for a reported $800 million. Ali co-founded Internet advertising pioneer LinkExchange, which Microsoft bought for $265 million; he later became one of the first investors in Zappos, the online shoe retailer launched by LinkExchange co-founder Tony Hsieh. Amazon bought that one for about $850 million.

The Partovis also snapped up early stakes in Dropbox and Facebook. And while they're both still active angel investors, they've gotten increasingly involved in philanthropic work, including founding Code.org. The nonprofit, which encourages kids to learn software development, made a splash last year with a video that featured tech celebrities such as Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and Bill Gates.

*Iranian scientist heads team for lab-grown organs

Researchers of Royal Free Hospital headed by Alexander Seifalian have succeeded in growing various body organs such as nose and ear using stem cells.

The hospital is affiliated to UCL (University College London).

Various laboratories worldwide seek to produce transplantable lab organs using stem cells.

Only a small number of patients in the UK have used the organs grown in laboratories including arteries, lacrimal canaliculus and windpipe.

The laboratory nose, which has been manufactured for a cancer patient, is waiting for the organ transplant permit.
However, researchers hope to produce more organs for transplantation in the future.

According to Professor Seifalian, head of the research team, the method for growing lab organs is like baking a cake. Various organs are grown in different moulds using stem cells. The polymer products are put in a special machine to grow these organs.

The researchers made a laboratory-grown nose for a patient who had lost his/her nose due to cancer.

The researchers created a sponge-like texture by adding salt-sugar combination to the mould.

Stem cells, extracted from body fat, were cultivated in laboratory for two weeks. Then, they were used for covering the nose scaffold. Later, the nose was implanted into the man’s forearm so that skin would grow to cover it. The researchers are also growing other organs such as ear and coronary arteries. But manufacturing ear is more complicated than nose.

The clinical trial of laboratory-grown ears will begin on patients in India and London by the yearend.

Researchers seek extensive use of lab-grown arteries on patients in 2016 after obtaining necessary permits.

*Iranian lens tests blood sugar, helps the blind

An Iranian scientist working for Google Company, Babak Parviz, along with his colleagues, has designed an eye lens for checking blood sugar.

The contact lens can also provide hope for millions of blind people. The ingenious invention contains a tiny computer with a “super zoom” feature that can magnify objects allowing users to “see”, according to ISNA.

A built-in camera can process images while a super-smart microchip analyses the data to inform the wearer of any approaching objects.

The concept is in its early stages, but intellectual property blog Patent Bolt believes the smart contact lens could one day be used to benefit the 180 million people worldwide who are blind or visually impaired.

They said: “A blind person wearing Google’s contact lens may want to cross the road. The analysis component of the lens can process raw image data of the camera to determine if a car is approaching.”

Google also said the lens will be able to detect faces and its wireless capabilities can link it up to mobile phones and other devices.

It comes after Google developed a smart contact lens for diabetics, which analyses tears to warn users if their sugar levels are low.

Announcing their breakthrough last month, founders Babak Parviz and Brian Otis said, “We hope this could one day lead to a new way for diabetics to manage their disease.”

Parviz’s project dubbed Bionic Contacts was listed as one of the top 50 inventions in Time 2008.

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