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News from the Lab (news.myScience.ch)

  • News from the Lab’ is a selection of scientific works that are significant or interesting for a broad readership. 
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Life Sciences - Health - 22.09.2015
Ringing in the ears and chronic pain enter by the same gate
Ringing in the ears and chronic pain enter by the same gate
Tinnitus and chronic pain have more in common than their ability to afflict millions with the very real experience of "phantom" sensations. Scientists noted similarities between the two disorders more than thirty years ago. Now advances in brain imaging and associated techniques have enabled researchers to begin homing in on their structural and functional bases, revealing what appears to be a central gatekeeping system implicated in both chronic pain and tinnitus.

Physics - Life Sciences - 22.09.2015
Capturing light - for the computers of tomorrow
Capturing light - for the computers of tomorrow
Light is ideally suited to data transfer, as it can transmit large quantities of information in a very short time, and is an indispensable part of the IT world of today and tomorrow. However, a stumbling block so far has been the storage of large quantities of data directly in the optical domain. While optical fibre cables - and, with them, data transfer by means of light - have long since become part of our everyday life, data on a computer are still processed and stored electronically.

Life Sciences - Health - 31.08.2015
Overlooked for 30 years: a new kid on the block
A team led by Christian Haass has identified a novel peptide that plays a role in Alzheimer's disease: The previously overlooked eta-amyloid interferes with neuronal function and may antogonize beta-amyloid - a finding that has implications for ongoing clinical trials. Alzheimer's disease is associated with the appearance of characteristic neurotoxic protein aggregates in various regions in the brain.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 28.08.2015
A Barcode For Shredding Junk RNA
A growing, dividing cell uses most of its energy store to make its "protein factories", the ribosomes. An important player in their "assembly" is the exosome, a molecular shredding machine that breaks down excess ribonucleic acid (RNA). Researchers working with Ed Hurt at the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center (BZH) have discovered how the exosome identifies its target RNA.

Life Sciences - 24.08.2015
Activated Neurons Produce Protective Protein against Neurodegenerative Conditions
Activated Neurons Produce Protective Protein against Neurodegenerative Conditions
Activated neurons produce a protein that protects against nerve cell death. Hilmar Bading and his group at Heidelberg University's Interdisciplinary Center for Neurosciences have found out how this effect comes about and defined a crucial player. "We already knew that brain activity promotes neuroprotection," Prof. Bading says.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 11.08.2015
Latest Findings on Skeletal Structure of the Cell
Scientists at Freie Universität Improve Methods for Imaging the Organization of the Cytoskeleton Scientists at Freie Universität Berlin and the Dutch University of Utrecht have developed a method for mapping the structure of the cytoskeleton. The cytoskeleton is the backbone of every cell of the human body.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 11.08.2015
How Human Cells Can Dissolve Damaging Protein Aggregates
Cellular repair systems can dissolve aggregated proteins and now Heidelberg researchers have successfully decoded the fundamental mechanism that is key to dissolving these protein aggregates in human cells. Their in-vitro experiments uncovered a multi-stage biochemical process in which protein molecules are dissolved from the aggregates.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 06.08.2015
Membrane Research Continues
German Research Foundation Extends Funding for Collaborative Research Center 958 "Scaffolding of Membranes - Molecular Mechanisms and Cellular Functions" The Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 958 "Scaffolding of Membranes - Molecular Mechanisms and Cellular Functions" at Freie Universität has been granted funding by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for an additional four years.

Life Sciences - Health - 04.08.2015
Simply Turn Off a Virus
Scientists at Freie Universität Develop a New Method for the Detailed Investigation of Functional RNA Elements Scientists at Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Strasbourg (France) have developed a new method for studying the function of ribonucleic acid (RNA) that provides more detailed results, is more cost-effective, as well as easier to work with than previous methods.

Life Sciences - Health - 03.08.2015
Stroke: News about platelets
Stroke: News about platelets
Platelets play a key role in strokes: They can even drive nerve cells in the brain into a kind of suicide mode, as scientists from the University of Würzburg now report in the journal "Blood". A stroke typically develops as follows: A blood vessel supplying the brain with vital oxygen and nutrients is blocked by a blood clot, resulting in nerve cell death.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 13.07.2015
Heidelberg Researchers Investigate Cytotoxic Effect of Ebola Virus
Heidelberg Researchers Investigate Cytotoxic Effect of Ebola Virus
In the course of basic research in membrane biochemistry scientists at Heidelberg University have gained new insight into the cytotoxic effect of the Ebola virus. Employing biochemical and cell biological methods they have shed light on the molecular relationships between the Ebola glycoprotein and its role in mediating cytotoxicity.

Social Sciences - Life Sciences - 09.06.2015
Global collapse in huge songbird population
Global collapse in huge songbird population
With its canary-yellow colouring, the yellow-breasted bunting - about the size of a sparrow - is one of the more striking species of songbirds. Until a few years ago it was one of the commonest birds found in northern Europe and Asia. Since then, however, ornithologists have recorded sharp declines in many regions.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 30.04.2015
The Regulating Hand in Ribosome Formation
Ribosomes, which use a fixed genetic programme to manufacture cell proteins, also form according to a strict hierarchical plan. In an interdisciplinary approach, the research teams of Ed Hurt of the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center (BZH) and André Hoelz of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena (USA) have decoded the mechanism that regulates this process.

Life Sciences - 09.04.2015
Signal replicas make a flexible sensor
LMU researchers have shown how signals from the spinal cord adjust the sensitivity of hair cells in the inner ear to accommodate shifts in head position associated with active locomotion - thus ensuring that balance is maintained. Fluorescence image showing two nerves (stained in red and green), which are responsible for transmitting information from the hair cells to the brain and from neurons (small green dots) that alter hair cell sensitivity, respectively.

Environment - Life Sciences - 07.04.2015
Small Differences, Big Effect
Small Differences, Big Effect
New Findings: Variability Helps Mammals to Become Invasive From the time humans began discovering and conquering new continents, they also started transporting animals and plants around the world and releasing them in locations where they had never been before. Most of these alien species died out quickly, but many established populations and some even multiplied and became invasive, causing tremendous economic and environmental harm.

Life Sciences - 12.01.2015
Revolution averted
Who came first - sponges or comb jellies? A new study by an LMU team reaffirms that sponges are the oldest animal phylum - and restores the classical view of early animal evolution, which recent molecular analyses had challenged. The answer to the question of whether the sponges or the comb jellies (also known as sea gooseberries) represent the oldest extant animal phylum is of crucial importance to our understanding of organismic evolution.

Life Sciences - Health - 09.12.2014
Invasion to the inside
In order to multiply, influenza viruses are dependent on cells of a human or animal body. They board those cells, for example all along the lung surface, and their genetic material migrates into the nucleus, where it is replicated. As a result, new viruses come to life. A team led by scientists from the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence (CiM), University of Münster, has now, for the first time, succeeded in visualizing structures of the viral genome inside of human cells by light microscopy.

Life Sciences - Computer Science - 03.04.2014
Schleimige Computer: Künstlerisch-wissenschaftliche Studie zu Schleimpilz-Forschung
Der Computer der Zukunft könnte um einiges schleimiger sein als die Silizium-Geräte, mit denen wir es heutzutage zu tun haben. Genau damit befasst sich die Studie, die Theresa Schubert (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Professur Gestaltung medialer Umgebungen) und Andrew Adamatzky (University of the West of England, Bristol) in dem renommierten Journal 'Materials Today' veröffentlicht haben.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 10.09.2013
Unique snapshot of an enzyme in action
Unique snapshot of an enzyme in action
Göttingen scientists unravel fundamental mechanisms of biochemical reactions (pug) Enzymes are the molecular catalysts of life performing vital metabolic functions in every cell. To date, it has been speculated that enzymes literally bend and break their substrates during biochemical reactions. For the first time, scientists at the Göttingen Center for Molecular Biosciences (GZMB) succeeded in experimentally confirming this hypothesis with certainty.

Life Sciences - Health - 27.04.2012
Spin-off Eliminates Animal Testing
Chemical, medication and cosmetic manufacturers are obligated to test their products for possible health risks using appropriate means, as stipulated by various European guidelines. Animal testing is frequently used to determine the dangers of such products to the human eye. Aside from ethical reasons, arguments against this form of testing include high costs, delays due to approval procedures, and concerns whether the results from animal testing can be extrapolated safely to human beings.
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