With the concern over bioterrorism in the air, physicists and biologists at Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL) have teamed up to incorporate biological matter into nanoscale machines. One project involves the cretion of a hybrid biological/mechanical actuator. Researchers plan to power a nickel rod, 100 nanometers in diameter, with the same proteins that muscles use to move. This tiny motor would travel through the body, performing such functions as delivering medicine to the center of a tumor or controlling the flow of blood in a damaged artery. A second project involves the development of a nano-sized biological sensor that can detect a single molecule of specific substances in the body or viruses in the air. From this, scientists hope to develop a portable blood chemistry test kit that doctors could carry in their pockets, for example, to immediately determine whether or not someone has suffered a heart attack. For more information, contact Bryant Chase at (850) 644-0056 or Stephan von Molnar at (850) 644-2246.
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