This week in science (April 26 – May 3)


By Bryan Donoghue

Graphic | Joe DeVoogd

Technology – Bioprinted Cartilage

Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden have managed to generate cartilage tissue by bioprinting stem cells using a 3D bioprinter. Researchers found a procedure that ensured cell survival from printing so they could multiply. This allowed researchers to develop a protocol that causes the cells to differentiate to form cartilage. The bioprinted tissue is not only able to repair cartilage damage, but can be used to treat osteoarthritis, a condition where joint cartilage degenerates and breaks down.



Graphic | Joe DeVoogd

Technology – Artificial Womb

A team of researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania have engineered a fluid-filled “biobag” that allows premature lambs to develop in an artificial womb. Alan Flake, a pediatric surgeon and the head of the research team said his goal is to help premature infants with this artificial womb. It may be a while before it’s implemented in hospitals. Flake estimates that human testing is at least three years off.



Graphic | Joe DeVoogd


Space – Cassini to go through Saturn’s Rings

The Cassini spacecraft, which has been circling Saturn for the past 13 years, skimmed over the planet’s largest moon, Titan, last Saturday. Titan’s gravity will pull Cassini into the narrow gap between Saturn and its innermost ring, a place where no man made satellite has gone before. The spacecraft will enter that gap about once a week until Sept. 15, when it will crash into Saturn and be destroyed.




Graphic | Joe DeVoogd

Paleontology – Ancient Humans in California

An archeological research team headed by study leader and paleontologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum, Tom Deméré, said they’ve found signs of ancient humans in California between 120,000 and 140,000 years ago. This is more than one hundred thousand years before humans were thought to exist in the Americas. If the research team’s findings are correct, their findings at the Cerutti mastodon site could rewrite the history of humankind.


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