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Diagnosing cancer: new process for identifying biomarkers established

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Scientists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum have established a process for identifying biomarkers for the diagnosis of different types of cancer. With the aid of a specific type of infrared (IR) spectroscopy, the researchers applied an automated and label-free approach to detect tumour tissue in a biopsy or tissue sample. Unlike with label-based processes, such as are currently deployed by pathologists, the tissue remains unmodified. This, in turn, facilitates detailed protein analyses in the next step. Studying tissue samples from patients who suffered from lung or pleural cancer, the researchers identified protein biomarkers that are typical of the respective subtype of cancer. The team of the research consortium “Protein Research Unit Ruhr within Europe” (PURE) has published their report in the journal “Scientific Reports”.


Ritratto di sistema planetario in formazione

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Il disco di polvere che circonda la giovane stella HD 169142 ripreso da ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) dell’ESO


Un team di ricercatori guidati da Davide Fedele, dell’Istituto nazionale di astrofisica di Firenze, ha individuato la traccia della presenza di due pianeti in formazione attorno alla giovane stella HD 169142, distante da noi circa 470 anni luce. I due pianeti avrebbero masse paragonabili a quella del nostro Giove. Il disco di polvere che circonda la giovane stella HD 169142 ripreso da ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) dell’ESO. Gli anelli vividi sono ampie strisce di polvere, separate da profondi spazi vuoti. Crediti: ALMA (ESO / NAOJ / NRAO)/ Fedele et al Grazie alle dettagliate riprese del telescopio Alma (Atacama Large Millimeter-submillimeter Array) dell’Eso, un team internazionale di ricercatori guidati da Davide Fedele, dell’Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica di Firenze, ha individuato la traccia della presenza di due pianeti in formazione attorno alla giovane stella Hd 169142, distante da noi circa 470 anni luce e situata in direzione della costellazione del Sagittario. I due pianeti avrebbero masse paragonabili a quella del nostro Giove.


A new leak detection surveillance system tested in France

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Aerial view from WADI first test flights


The first test phase of the WADI project has been successfully completed. During the month of February 2017 WADI partners ONERA and SCP tested the innovative airborne water leak detection surveillance service developed by the project. A Busard airplain equipped with hyper-spectral and infrared cameras flew over the facilities of Canal de Provence (SCP), in the South-East of France, and recorded images of the irrigation network including buried ductile iron pipes in three locations: Rians (close to Aix en Provence), Valtrède (Martingues) and Cabardelle (Salon de Provence). The three flights provided high quality images in the spectrum of IR (band III, between 8000 and 12000 nm), SWIR (between 1400 and 3000 nm) and VNIR (between 400 and 1400 nm). ONERA, scientific coordinator of the WADI project, is currently processing the images in order to define the most efficient wavelength among the 416 collected for the detection of soil humidity. This test will lead to the design of a measurement strategy for future campaigns. In the next few weeks, SCP will release controlled leaks in view to a second test phase (WADI -2), scheduled for the end April 2017.



Bio-based materials facing the challenges of the construction industry

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Isobio Panel discussion

The use of bio-based materials is often met with scepticism from architects, insurers and contractors in the construction industry, which has led to slow market uptake. This scepticism generally results from a lack of adequate training and support with regard to regulatory frameworks. This was the backdrop of the ISOBIO workshop, held 22 March in Brussels where the project team met with representatives from Earth Building UK and Ireland, BC architects & studies, the ECO-SEE project and the German Association for Building with Earth. The aim was to identify the levers for faster adoption of bio-based material in the construction sector.


Relazione tra il ritardo dello sviluppo del cervello infantile e infiammazione

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Bloccare l’infiammazione per ridurre le disabilità cognitive


Per la prima volta uno studio pubblicato sulla prestigiosa rivista eLife dimostra la relazione diretta tra le disabilità cognitive che caratterizzano i disturbi dello sviluppo del cervello infantile e l’infiammazione che colpisce le sinapsi, cioè le strutture cerebrali di smistamento di informazioni e segnali a tutto il corpo. Questa importante scoperta potrebbe aprire la strada al trattamento con antinfiammatori E’ nota da diversi anni la relazione tra i difetti genetici nella produzione di proteine che operano a livello delle sinapsi nel cervello e i disturbi del neurosviluppo caratterizzati da deficit cognitivi. Tuttavia, una percentuale di tali patologie non ha chiare cause genetiche. Uno studio realizzato da Humanitas e Istituto di neuroscienze del Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche (In-Cnr), in collaborazione con l’Universidad Miguel Hernández lnstituto de Neurociencias, per la prima volta identifica la relazione tra alti livelli di infiammazione e aumentata espressione della proteina MeCP2.



Electronic control to ensure photovoltaic systems always work at maximum power

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The researcher Oscar Barambones behind a solar panel at the University of the Basque Country (Nuria González / UPV/EHU)


Researchers at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country have managed to maintain the maximum power point of solar panels despite changes in irradiation and load. The Advanced Control Group of the UPV/EHU’s Department of Systems Engineering and Automation has developed a control system designed to ensure that photovoltaic generators always work at their maximum power point by adapting them in terms of the level of irradiance received from the sun and the load connected to the system. This constitutes an improvement in the efficiency of photovoltaic generators with respect to current control systems, although it also requires the use of more powerful processors and elements and therefore more expensive ones.


Two new mechanisms for herbicide resistance found in Palmer amaranth

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Palmer amaranth infestation


Palmer amaranth is a nightmare of a weed, causing yield losses up to 80 percent in severely infested soybean fields. It scoffs at farmers’ attempts at control, having evolved resistance to six classes of herbicides since its discovery in the United States 100 years ago. And now, scientists have discovered it has two new tricks up its sleeve. About a year ago, a group of researchers discovered Palmer is resistant to the herbicide class known as PPO-inhibitors, due to a mutation—known as the glycine 210 deletion—on the PPX2 gene. “We were using a quick test that we originally developed for waterhemp to determine PPO-resistance based on that mutation. A lot of times, the test worked. But people were bringing in samples that they were fairly confident were resistant, and the mutation wasn’t showing up. We started to suspect there was another mechanism out there,” says University of Illinois molecular weed scientist Patrick Tranel.


New research into meningitis bacteria by Kingston University experts could hold key to developing improved vaccines

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Dr Ruth Griffin in the laboratories at Kingston University


Kingston University London scientists have completed the genome sequence for a deadly strain of the bacteria that causes meningitis and septicaemia – a breakthrough which could lead to improved vaccines to help prevent its spread. Meningococcal infections are the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in the United Kingdom, a life-threatening disease that poses a continuing threat worldwide. With growing fears around the increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, understanding why certain strains don't respond to vaccines could prove vital in helping reduce the number of global deaths from the disease. The Kingston University London team focused on meningococcal B (menB) strains, which have historically proven problematic to vaccinate against. As part of their work examining how bacteria respond to vaccines, the researchers have now been able to determine the complete DNA sequence of the genome for a particular strain called L91543.


Tiny plankton wields biological ‘Gatling gun’ in microbial Wild West

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Close-up of Polykrilos kofoidii. Photo: Urban Tillmann.


Researchers have obtained an unprecedented view of the ‘ballistic’ weaponry of planktonic microbes, including one that can fire projectiles as if wielding a Gatling gun. “We think of plankton as the tiny alphabet soup of the ocean, floating around passively while larger organisms eat it,” says biologist Gregory Gavelis, who lead the study while a researcher at the University of British Columbia (UBC). “But some planktonic microbes, like dinoflagellates, are predators and have developed incredible defensive and prey capture mechanisms.” Until now, how dinoflagellates acquired and fired these projectiles, called extrusomes, was unclear. Gavelis and colleagues studied two types of dinoflagellates: Polykrikos kofoidii and Nematodinium sp. They were able to capture the first 3D views of the microbes’ interior and determined Polykrikos launch a harpoon-like structure to snag their prey, then tow it in. Nematodinium, on the other hand, discharge the contents within a ring of capsules, like a Gatling gun.



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Stazione Gps della rete Ring di Mormanno (Cosenza) Evidenziata per la prima volta in Italia, nella zona del Pollino, la presenza di movimenti lenti di faglia durante le sequenze di terremoti di bassa magnitudo che contribuiscono a spiegare perché, rispetto al resto dell’Appennino, in...



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