Experimenting with living cells

A team of Missouri S&T students recently created a breathalyzer using cultured yeast cells and an E. coli-infested bacterium that changes colors in response to the presence of sugar. But they weren’t trying to gross each other out with creepy inventions. They were participating in a competition at MIT last November.

The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, or iGEM, pits 37 teams of university students against one another in the quest to develop genetically engineered machines designed to make living cells perform specific tasks not typically found in nature.
In the case of the breathalyzer, the students used their knowledge of biochemical reactions to make the yeast cells produce a visual response to the presence of ethanol. Then they engineered a device that could display an individual’s blood alcohol level.
“The iGEM students are learning skills that will have applications in the development of biosensors,” says David
J. Westenberg, associate professor of biological sciences at Missouri S&T and one of the team’s advisors.

Around the Puck

Q&A: Miners got game

What was the most memorable sports team during your time on campus? As part of his research for the S&T 150th history book, Larry Gragg, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, asked you to share your memories. Here are a few of your answers.

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Honoring new academy members

In October, 12 alumni and friends were inducted into Missouri S&T academies. Academy membership recognizes careers of distinction and invites members to share their wisdom, influence and resources with faculty and students. Some academies hold induction ceremonies in the fall, others in the spring.

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Boosting cyber-physical security

A wide array of complex systems that rely on computers — from public water supply systems and electric grids to chemical plants and self-driving vehicles — increasingly come under not just digital but physical attacks. Bruce McMillin, professor and interim chair of computer science at Missouri S&T, is looking to change that by developing stronger safeguards […]

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MXene discovery could improve energy storage

In spite of their diminutive size, 2-D titanium carbide materials known as MXenes are “quite reactive” to water, a discovery S&T researchers say could have implications for energy storage and harvesting applications such as batteries, supercapacitors and beyond. Their findings were published in 2018 in the American Chemical Society journal Inorganic Chemistry.

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A faster charge for electric vehicles

One drawback of electric vehicles (EVs) is the time it takes to charge them. But what if you could plug in your EV and fully charge it as quickly as it takes to fill up a conventional car with gasoline? Missouri S&T researchers, in collaboration with three private companies, are working to make speedy charging […]

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