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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



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Life Sciences - 05.11.2021
Researchers detect a diffusion barrier inside fly brain
Researchers detect a diffusion barrier inside fly brain
The neurons, located in the brain are interconnected in a complex pattern and establish special communication points, the synapses. All neurons require a constant environment in order to function reliably. To ensure this, the brain is surrounded by the so-called blood-brain barrier. It ensures, for example, that the nutrient balance always remains the same and that harmful influences do not reach the neurons.

Life Sciences - 04.11.2021
Aquatic plant's genome reveals evolutionary surprises
Aquatic plant’s genome reveals evolutionary surprises
International research team including Göttingen University sequence whole genome of quillwort The quillwort is an aquatic plant belonging to an ancient lineage of vascular plants, meaning plants that have tissues to transport water, sap and nutrients. This lineage diverged from the other vascular plants more than 400 million years ago.

Life Sciences - Environment - 02.11.2021
Not yet silent spring: shifting sounds of birdsong
Not yet silent spring: shifting sounds of birdsong
Researchers including Göttingen University use citizen science to study birdsong over last 25 years Natural sounds, and birdsong in particular, play a key role in building and maintaining our connection with nature. Birds have been declining due to changing land use and climate change. But how has this affected the dawn chorus around us?

Life Sciences - Computer Science - 29.10.2021
Solving Complex Learning Tasks in Brain-Inspired Computers
Solving Complex Learning Tasks in Brain-Inspired Computers
Researchers from Heidelberg and Bern develop a new training approach for spiking neural networks Developing a machine that processes information as efficiently as the human brain has been a long-standing research goal towards true artificial intelligence. An interdisciplinary research team at Heidelberg University and the University of Bern (Switzerland) led by Dr Mihai Petrovici is tackling this problem with the help of biologically-inspired artificial neural networks.

Life Sciences - 25.10.2021
Insect digestive enzyme activates sugar-containing plant defence substance: Removing the sugar component changes the food plant chosen by cockchafer larvae
Insect digestive enzyme activates sugar-containing plant defence substance: Removing the sugar component changes the food plant chosen by cockchafer larvae
Plants are not entirely at the mercy of their herbivore enemies. Often, chemical defences ensure that the plants are inedible, or even toxic, and as a result insects and other hungry animals steer clear of them. A new study has shown, for the first time, that the degradation of plants' defence substances by insects' digestive enzymes can influence the insects' preference for certain food plants.

Life Sciences - Mechanical Engineering - 22.10.2021
'Feeling' the living cell's life cycle using optical tweezers
’Feeling’ the living cell’s life cycle using optical tweezers
Göttingen researchers use laser to reveal that the inside of living cells softens and fluidifies when dividing Living cells are the basic building blocks of all organisms. We, as humans, are essentially a collection of trillions of living cells: and all these cells emerge from a single fertilized egg.

Health - Life Sciences - 19.10.2021
New values for better diagnoses
New values for better diagnoses
MHH study develops reference tool for blood tests Lymphocytes belong to the white blood cells. They consist of several subgroups with different tasks in immune defence. Which and how many lymphocytes are in the blood provides information about our current state of health as well as congenital or acquired immune deficiencies.

Health - Life Sciences - 13.10.2021
New test improves diagnosis of rare liver disease
New test improves diagnosis of rare liver disease
Polyreactive antibodies as markers for autoimmune hepatitis Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a chronic liver inflammation that is triggered by an immunological malfunction. In this case, the immune system falsely recognises the patient's own liver cells as "foreign to the body". The symptoms of this rare liver disease are unspecific, and the exact cause is not yet known.

Environment - Life Sciences - 12.10.2021
Insects in the Light of Land Use and Climate
Insects in the Light of Land Use and Climate
Urbanisation appears to be another key factor for insect decline. This is shown by a study in which the impact of climate and land use on insects was disentangled for the first time. Worldwide, the quantity and diversity of insects are declining: scientists have reported more and more evidence for this in recent years.

Life Sciences - 12.10.2021
Protective role of cells in overwintering fungi
Göttingen researchers find cells involved in sexual development produce chemicals that deter hungry predators Scientists have discovered a new role for cells that are known to nurture the reproductive structures in the fungus Aspergillus nidulans through the winter. The findings suggest that Hülle cells in this fungus also play a key part in its chemical defence strategies to ward off hungry predators.

Health - Life Sciences - 07.10.2021
Dysfunction in the mitochondrial respiration leads to cartilage degenerative diseases
A disturbed energy metabolism in the cells causes cartilage tissue to be built up incorrectly / research group of the UoC's Faculty of Medicine publishes study in the 'Journal of Biological Chemistry' A team led by Professor Dr Bent Brachvogel, Head of Experimental Neonatology at the Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, has discovered previously unknown regulatory mechanisms of tissue organization.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 05.10.2021
An unusual molecule protects nerve cells from degeneration
An unusual molecule protects nerve cells from degeneration
An international research team led by Professor Stephanie Grond from the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the University of Tübingen has found that the natural substance collinolactone reduces artificially-induced stress on nerve cells, protecting them from the kind of damage that occurs in neurodegenerative diseases.

Life Sciences - Physics - 30.09.2021
Cell labelling method from microscopy implemented for PET imaging
Cell labelling method from microscopy implemented for PET imaging
Researchers develop imaging methods to examine bodily processes from the individual building blocks to the whole system / Proof-of-principle study on SNAP-tag technology published in the journal "Chemical Communications" Video in English, subtitles available in English and German. Processes and structures within the body that are normally hidden from the eye can be made visible through medical imaging.

Environment - Life Sciences - 23.09.2021
Diversity matters
Diversity matters
09/23/2021 The higher the biological diversity in an ecosystem, the better the important processes there function. A heterogeneous environment promotes this effect, while intensive land use weakens it, as a new study shows. Microorganisms, plants, and animals accomplish great feats every day. For example, by decomposing material, producing plant biomass, or pollinating flowers, they keep nature 'up and running,' thereby securing the livelihood of humans.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 23.09.2021
How Poxviruses Multiply
How Poxviruses Multiply
09/23/2021 Poxviruses have found a unique way of translating their genes into proteins in the infected organism. A team of researchers from Würzburg shows for the first time how the molecular machinery involved works at an atomic level. The last case of smallpox worldwide occurred in Somalia in October 1977.

Life Sciences - Environment - 21.09.2021
Insect species survives without sexual reproduction
Insect species survives without sexual reproduction
International researchers including the University of Göttingen demonstrate for the first time that animals can survive very long periods of time without sex It was thought that the survival of animal species over a geologically long period of time without sexual reproduction would be very unlikely, if not impossible.

Life Sciences - Health - 17.09.2021
B cells of the immune system discovered in the meninges
B cells of the immune system discovered in the meninges
A comprehensive analysis of white blood cells in the tissue surrounding the brain / Study published in the journal "Nature Neuroscience" The brain holds numerous unsolved medical mysteries. Only a few years ago it was discovered that the outer layer of the meninges is interlaced with lymphatic vessels.

Health - Life Sciences - 14.09.2021
Molecular Achilles heel of cancer cells discovered
Molecular Achilles heel of cancer cells discovered
Changes in fat metabolism of colorectal cancer cells demonstrated for the first time Where does a malignant tumor obtain the energy to keep growing? That is a key question in cancer research. If the energy source were known, the tumor could be "starved". Researchers have now laid the foundation for this approach: For the first time, they have demonstrated a fundamental difference in the fat metabolism of healthy cells in the inner lining of the intestinal tract and colorectal cancer cells.

Life Sciences - Health - 06.09.2021
Messengers from gut to brain
Messengers from gut to brain
Seen for the first time: T cells traveling from the gut and skin to the central nervous system Scientists have long been aware of a link between the gut microbiome and the central nervous system (CNS). Until now, however, the immune cells that move from the gut into the CNS and thus the brain had not been identified.

Life Sciences - Health - 03.09.2021
Fish Eyes from a Petri Dish
Fish Eyes from a Petri Dish
A research team from the Centre for Organismal Studies (COS) of Heidelberg University has demonstrated that complex retinal tissue can be cultured in a Petri dish from embryonic stem cells of bony fish. Until now, stem cells from mammals, including humans, have been used in organoid research. For the first time, researchers led by Joachim Wittbrodt have demonstrated that stem cells from medaka and zebrafish can also form highly organised neural structures under controlled laboratory conditions.
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