The research reactor at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is back in action and better than ever.

After $70 million in renovations and more than a year of meticulous system checks, ORNL’s High Flux Isotope Reactor was restarted this week, taken to 10 percent power, and reached its peak power of 85 megawatts Wednesday.ORNL's High Flux Isotope Reactor has been used for neutron-scattering studies since 196g. Credit: ORNL

Physicists at the University of Pittsburgh have demonstrated a new form of matter that melds the characteristics of lasers with those of the world’s best electrical conductors. The work introduces a new method of moving energy from one point to another as well as a low-energy means of producing a light beam like that from a laser.

Up to 25,000 people may die needlessly each year due to the failure to prevent blood clots known as venous thromboembolisms (VTE) in UK hospitals, say experts in this week's BMJ.

Their warning follows the publication of official guidelines on the issue last month by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which are also summarised in this week's journal.

Now that the genome sequences of hundreds of bacteria and viruses are known, we can design tests that will rapidly detect the presence of these species based solely on their DNA. These tests can detect a pathogen in a complex mixture of organic material by recognizing short, distinguishing sequences—called DNA signatures—that occur in the pathogen and not in any other species.

Passive immunization through the development of fully human antibodies specific to Plasmodium falciparum may be effective at controlling the disease, report researchers led by Dr. Richard S. McIntosh from the University of Nottingham. The researchers developed these novel reagents by antibody repertoire cloning generated from immune Gambian adults.

Researchers at the University of Illinois have constructed the first global family tree of metabolic protein architecture. Their approach offers a new window on the evolutionary history of metabolism.

Their work relies on established techniques of phylogenetic analysis developed in the past decade to plot the evolution of genes and organisms but which have never before been used to work out the evolutionary history of protein architecture across biological networks.

By applying the techniques of computer engineering to a mechanistic diagram describing the development of the Nematode C. elegans, a group of researchers in Switzerland has been able to tease out what laboratory experiments have not – how and when the crucial cross-talk between cellular signaling pathways takes place in order to determine the fates of individual cells.

Protected by its own nutrients and blood supply, a beating heart supported by an investigational organ preservation device was successfully transplanted into a 47-year-old man with congestive heart failure and pulmonary hypertension on Sunday, April 8. The surgery was performed at UPMC by Kenneth R. McCurry, M.D., assistant professor of surgery, division of cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and director of cardiopulmonary transplantation at UPMC's Heart, Lung and Esophageal Surgery Institute.

A key aspect of how embryos create the cells which secrete insulin is revealed in a new study published tomorrow (18 May) in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The researchers hope that their findings will enable the development of new therapies for diabetes, a condition caused by insufficient levels of insulin.

Scientists at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), in cooperation with the CSIC, have developed a new electro-chemical biosensor which detects the presence, in food, of very small amounts of atrazine –one of the most widely used herbicides in agriculture and which also has very long lasting effects on the environment- as well as antibiotics in food.