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January 16, 2019

Good Morning,

BS 20183D Printing is a remarkable process, but what's even more remarkable is the speed at which these devices can function. Now, thanks to light beams, the process is even more accelerated. Faster than fast, folks!

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,

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*-- Light powers faster 3D printing --*

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Scientists have developed a new technique for faster, more efficient 3D printing. Instead of building objects layer by layer, the new method uses light to solidify 3D shapes from a vat of liquid.

Traditional 3D printing methods don't make sense for small-batch manufacturing jobs with a quick turnaround time.

The new technique, which uses a pair of light beams to control which bits of liquid resin become solidified and which remain in fluid form, could allow manufacturers to turn around small batch projects in a couple of weeks.

Whereas traditional 3D printers build three dimensional objects using additive techniques, combining 1D lines or 2D cross sections, bit by bit, the new device relies on a phase change to build a 3D object with a single shot.

"It's one of the first true 3D printers ever made," Mark Burns, professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan, said in a news release.

Previous attempts to solidify objects in a vat of liquid were held up by various technical hurdles. Early models were foiled by solidifying resin on the window through which the light penetrated. As quickly as the printing process began, it stopped, the light thwarted by a wall of solidified resin.

Researchers attempted a variety of workarounds, but each new attempt faced new difficulties. The latest method solves the window problem by deploying a second light beam designed to prevent resin near the vat window from solidifying.

The resin features both photoactivator and photoinhibitor additives, which react to different light wavelengths to trigger either solidification or liquefaction.

The double beam technique allows the object to form within a large region of liquid resin, freeing up researchers to use thicker, more viscous resins reinforced with powdered additives.

"You can get much tougher, much more wear-resistant materials," said Timothy Scott, associate professor of chemical engineering at Michigan.

Researchers described their novel technique this week in the journal Science Advances.

*-- Cellular energy route finding may improve understanding of aging, chronic disease --*

Scientists have found a cellular route for energy that could shed more light on how humans age and develop chronic diseases.

Researchers from the Washington University of St. Louis have uncovered a once unknown path for nicotinamide mononucleotide, or NMN, which helps fuel the human body, according to a new study published Monday in Nature Metabolism.

"To achieve such fast uptake of NMN into the tissues, we speculated that there must be a specific NMN transporter that moves NMN directly into cells, even though no one had ever seen such a thing," Shin-ichiro Imai, a professor of developmental biology at Washington University, said in a news release.

For this protein highway, the researchers found that cells must create a molecular transport system. First, NMN provides energy to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD, a key molecule that also helps fuel the body. When people age, they lose NAD, causing the body to lose energy and function.

To transport fuel, NMN needs a transporter protein called Slc12a8, which requires sodium ions to make the delivery. Cells call on the Slc12a8 gene when NAD levels begin to lag.

The researchers tested the importance of Slc12a8 by purposely lowering NAD levels within test mice and injecting them with NMN to make up for the loss. Not only did NAD produce more NMN, it increased the amount of Slc12a8 to make way for more NMN. It's similar to how an expanded bridge can carry more cars.

The researchers concluded that it's not enough to provide more NMN to increase energy levels of older subjects, but to also improve the capability of Slc12a8.

In past work, Imai observed that more NMN enhanced metabolism throughout the bodies of lab mice, including better liver function, bone density, eye function, insulin sensitivity, immune function, body weight and activity levels.

"What may be important in a future strategy is the combination of giving NMN along with stimulating the transport of NMN into cells," Imai said. "With aging, we see a bottleneck in NAD production. The body loses its ability to manufacture NAD over time. At the same time, it seems to begin burning more NAD, likely due to chronic inflammation. If we can give NMN and aid its transport into cells, that may be a way to bypass the bottleneck."

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