For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to travel through space. There was only one problem...I get motion sickness from rolling over in bed. So, I opted to keep my feet on the ground. However, for those who can stomach zero gravity, NASA wants to keep such hardy ones healthy. So the agency awarded the University of Michigan Medical School's Center for Biologic Nanotechnology a $2 million grant to develop nanosensors—nano-scale devices that travel inside astronauts' white blood cells. These sensors will detect early signs of damage from radiation or infection. Created from synthetic polymers called dendrimers, the devices are fabricated layer-by-layer into spheres with a diameter of less than five nanometers. Because the sensors are so small, they easily pass through membranes into white blood cells called lymphocytes, where they can detect the first signs of biochemical changes from radiation. To identify cell damage, researchers also plan to develop a retinal-scanning device—a laser capable of detecting fluorescence from infected lymphocytes as they pass one-by-one through narrow capillaries in the back of the eye. For more information, contact: Sally Pobojewski at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone, (734) 615-6912.
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