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February 2014
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June 2014

Cray doubles manufacturing capacity

Cray Inc. has doubled down on Chippewa Falls, and a tangible sign of that is now on display just off Seymour Cray Sr. Boulevard.

That’s where a Cray sign in front of a building at 1955 Olson Drive signifies the company’s new supercomputer manufacturing facility, just a couple of miles away from its original one at 1050 Lowater Rd.

Recent upgrades at that primary manufacturing site, coupled with the new facility here, have essentially doubled Cray’s manufacturing capacity to approximately 213,000 square feet.

The move assures that Cray’s supercomputers will be made for years to come in the city where Seymour Cray launched the company back in 1972.

“For more than 40 years now, we have enjoyed a proud and storied history with Chippewa Falls, and the opening of our new manufacturing facility affirms our commitment to building our supercomputers in a town that is synonymous with Cray,” said Peter Ungaro, president and CEO of Cray.

“I am pleased our new facility is now up and running, and producing Cray supercomputers that are proudly made in Chippewa Falls.”

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Stem cell advance yields mature heart muscle cells

by Renee Meiller

A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has induced human embryonic stem cells (hESC) to differentiate toward pure-population, mature heart muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes.

A substrate patterned with a precisely sized series of channels played a critical role in the advance.

Published online in the journal Biomaterials, the research could open the door to advances in areas that include tissue engineering and drug discovery and testing.

Researchers currently can differentiate hESC into immature heart muscle cells. Those cells, however, don't develop the robust internal structures — repeating sections of muscle cells called sarcomeres — that enable cardiomyocytes to produce the contracting force that allows the heart to pump blood. Other cell components that allow heart muscle cells to communicate and work together also are less developed in immature cardiomyocytes.

One barrier to efforts to produce more mature cells is the culture surface itself; hESC are notoriously finicky. "It's really hard to culture stem cells effectively and to provide them with an environment that's going to help them to thrive and differentiate in the way you want," says lead author Wendy Crone, a professor of engineering physics, biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering at UW-Madison.

Full story.