Biology

When cells are threatened, for example by viral infection, special sensors are activated to kick-start the immune system. Now, new genetic techniques are increasing our knowledge about how this response mechanism actually unfolds.
The 2017 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has gone to three scientists for their lasting work in the cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) field. The imaging techniques mark a significant breakthrough in atomic structures and biochemistry.
As Alzheimer’s disease is associated with a wide variety of symptoms, usually observed through patients’ behaviour and actions, effective and timely treatment has proven elusive. An EU-funded project has contributed towards the capture of images which show the changes a brain with Alzheimer’s undergoes, at different ages, with promise for future diagnostics and treatment.
With around 100 million domestic cats estimated to be living in Europe, they are quite possibly the most popular pet. Yet, despite the clear incentive to maximise well-being both for our feline friends and so ourselves, remarkedly little research has gone into their early socialisation – until now.
Not long ago it was orthodoxy that microscopes could not see images smaller than 200 nanometres. The relatively nascent field of nanoscopy has challenged this, with the EU-funded NANOSCOPY project leading the way.
Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) is a relatively unknown disease affecting less than 0.1 in 10 000 EU citizens. Yet evidence suggests that its incidence is increasing. Whilst the market is too small for pharmaceutical companies, an EU-funded consortium has successfully conducted a Phase I clinical trial on PHMB as a treatment for AK, potentially preventing permanent visual impairment or blindness in patients.
It is known that the range of microbes found on farms protect children from asthma and allergies. Immunologists have now discovered that farm animals themselves also provide protection against inflammation of lung tissue, opening possibilities for new treatments.
If the knowledge that our brains can produce new cells in adulthood is ever going to help in the fight against neurodegenerative disease, we need to understand the underlying mechanisms more effectively. Towards this end, a new study drawing on EU-funded research, sheds further light on the role the protein APP plays in neuroplasticity.
Part-supported through the EU-funded RE-AGEING project, researchers offer population forecasting studies which encourage societies to break from outdated ageing measures and instead start categorising on how we live our lives.
The announcement earlier this month that a US-South Korean team have successfully modified disease causing DNA in embryos, has been widely heralded as a landmark in the long-promised genetic revolution for medicine. However, alongside recognition of the achievement has come the familiar mix of utopian and dystopian voices. But do these voices drown out measured consideration of the advance?
New research led by Columbia University using multiple datasets, including those gathered through three comprehensive EU-funded projects focused on ageing, has highlighted how women''s cognitive functioning improves in countries that emphasise the importance of gender equality.
Shocking new research suggests that Western men’s sperm count has more than halved between 1973 and 2011, an average of 1.4 % per year. Scientists are still uncertain as to the cause of the dramatic drop but have argued that their findings must be taken seriously and that action must be taken to address what could become a major public health crisis.
A study using electrical brain stimulation demonstrates that when it comes to creativity, too much learning can be a bad thing.
They exist above us in ice particles and cloud droplets, below us in rocks and oil fields, and even inside us helping with drug delivery. Yet despite their ubiquity, until now, relatively little has been known about the surface of miniscule water droplets.
Two newly published studies have shown that regular consumption of coffee – at least three cups – results in a lower risk of stroke, heart disease, liver disease and can boost immunity and extend your lifespan. However, it is still to be proven as to whether it’s the coffee itself that protects against such illnesses or whether the lifestyles of regular coffee drinkers are simply healthier than non-coffee drinkers.
Recent archaeological analyses of ochre finds in Ethiopia builds on a previous EU-funded project which discovered the emergence of symbols usage by homo sapiens, earlier than previously thought
Using light pulses to create resonance in mammalian cell circuits, the EU-funded R’BIRTH project has succeeded in switching on and off signalling pathways, and now hope their achievement will feed into the treatment of degenerative neurological conditions.
For decades, scientists have believed that it is impossible to extract DNA from Ancient Egyptian mummies. An international team of scientists have refuted this theory and have successfully sequenced genomes from 90 Ancient Egyptian mummies, revealing that the ancients were more genetically similar to the peoples of modern Levant, rather than present-day Egyptians.
Barriers on Europe’s rivers can improve fishing, be a source of energy and reduce the passage of invasive species, but they can also be a flood risk, interfere with migration patterns and fragment habitats. So what’s the best approach to reconnecting our rivers? One EU-funded project is providing some answers.
New research part-supported by the EU-funded FLIACT project has shown that gut bacteria ‘speak’ to the brain to control food choices, identifying two specific species of bacteria that have an impact on animal dietary decisions.
Identifying the environmental factors driving larval settlement is crucial to understanding the population dynamics of marine invertebrates. EU-funded research feeds into a new study that takes three environmental factors into consideration in an attempt to predict larval presence and intensity.
A new study has shown that bilingual people think about time differently depending on the language context in which they are estimating the duration of events.
Premature lambs have been kept alive for weeks using artificial wombs resembling plastic bags. It is hoped the advancement will one day offer premature babies a better chance of survival.
Researchers have made a chance discovery on how wax moth larvae commercially bred for fishing bait have the ability to biograde polyethylene – in essence, they can eat our waste, sparking widespread excitement that these little critters could become a potent weapon against environmental pollution.
Bronchitis and pneumonia may be harmful, but by studying the genetic structure of the bacteria that causes them, EU-funded scientists have been able to gain a better understanding of how genes function. Their research suggests DNA is organised the same way in all living organisms, a finding that may hold the key to new vaccines and drug therapies.
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Study in Poland