Jumping spider Phidippus mystaceus feeding on a tree-dwelling moth caterpillar (photo by David E. Hill, Peckham Society, Simpsonville, South Carolina)

 

It has long been suspected that spiders are one of the most important groups of predators of insects. Zoologists at the University of Basel and Lund University in Sweden have now shown just how true this is – spiders kill astronomical numbers of insects on a global scale. The scientific journal The Science of Nature has published the results. With more than 45,000 species and a population density of up to 1,000 individuals per square meter, spiders are one of the world’s most species-rich and widespread groups of predators. Due to their secretive lifestyle – many spiders are nocturnal or live well camouflaged in vegetation – it was previously difficult to demonstrate their ecological role, but zoologists at the University of Basel and Lund University (Sweden) have now used calculations to conclude that spiders indeed have an enormous ecological impact as natural enemies of insects.

 

University of Helsinki researchers have uncovered a novel gene associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in dogs. The new research on this fatal disease may also help us understand the mechanisms of respiratory diseases in humans. A new genetic study has uncovered the cause of acute respiratory distress in Dalmatian dogs. ADRS has an early onset, with puppies or young dogs experiencing difficulty in breathing, which rapidly leads to death. The gene study used material which was previously collected at the University of Helsinki Veterinary Teaching Hospital as well as canine biobank samples.

Many mature oligos_red-myelin_green-oligodendrocyte cell

 

Queen’s University Belfast scientists have discovered that specific cells from the immune system are key players in brain repair – a fundamental breakthrough that could revolutionise the treatment of debilitating neurological disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The research study, led by Dr Yvonne Dombrowski and Dr Denise Fitzgerald at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, is being hailed as a landmark study in unravelling the mysteries of how the brain repairs damage. This is crucial in the fight against MS, which affects 2.3 million people world-wide and over 4,500 people in Northern Ireland.

Many mature oligos_red-myelin_green-oligodendrocyte cell

 

Queen’s University Belfast scientists have discovered that specific cells from the immune system are key players in brain repair – a fundamental breakthrough that could revolutionise the treatment of debilitating neurological disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The research study, led by Dr Yvonne Dombrowski and Dr Denise Fitzgerald at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, is being hailed as a landmark study in unravelling the mysteries of how the brain repairs damage. This is crucial in the fight against MS, which affects 2.3 million people world-wide and over 4,500 people in Northern Ireland.

The Yangtze Finless Porpoise is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. These animals are threatened by incidental catch, vessel collision, pollution, and habitat degradation. Photo: Huigong Yu

 

Freshwater megafauna such as river dolphins, crocodilians and sturgeons play vital roles in their respective ecosystems. In a recent scientific publication, researchers of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin have teamed up with international colleagues to illustrate the factors that currently threaten these large vertebrates. The authors also call for a more comprehensive assessment on these large freshwater animals and for a more targeted conservation plan. Also, a wider range of freshwater species and freshwater ecosystems suffering from biodiversity decrease have the potential to benefit from such megafauna-based actions.

The image, created with OPT, shows the pancreas of a healthy mouse. The individual pancreatic islets have been color-coded and their exact volume and 3D-coordinates can be precisely determined throughout the pancreas. The exocrine pancreatic tissue (in grey) has partly been digitally removed. Image: Ulf Ahlgren.

 

Umeå researchers have created datasets that map the three-dimensional distribution and volume of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The wealth of visual and quantitative information may serve as powerful reference resource for diabetes researchers. The Umeå University researchers are now publishing their datasets in Scientific Data, which is a Nature Research journal for scientifically valuable collections of research data with high reuse potential. The hormone insulin – which is needed to regulate the blood sugar levels of the body – is produced by the pancreas and plays a key role in the development of diabetes. Insulin-producing cells are organised in the so-called Islets of Langerhans (or pancreatic islets), which are scattered by the thousands in the pancreas. In diabetes research, it is often important to study the quantity and distribution of insulin-producing cells. At present, such studies are generally based upon analyses of chosen cross-sections of pancreatic tissue. These in turn form the basis for attempting to gain an overall picture of the pancreas.

In March 2017 the H2020 funded project BestRES celebrates its first year of implementation. The project aims to investigate the current barriers and to improve the role of Energy Aggregators in future electricity market designs. New renewable energy business models that allow aggregators to successfully participate in the market by combining different RES technologies, energy storage, and flexible demand will be assessed and improved. BestRES project will foster the full market integration of renewable energy sources. Renewable energy aggregators can significantly accelerate the integration of intermittent electricity sources, enhance demand flexibility and decrease the reliance on renewable energy support schemes.

Differences between a map of thermal data type and a 3D SIG based map o the same element (Estela de Cenicientos, Madrid)

 

A research carried out at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid suggests a new mapping method based on non-destructive testing on historic buildings using SIG techniques. A female researcher from the School of Architecture at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid has mapped data of heritage constructions that was not possible before with conventional methods.  Thanks to the new method, the researcher was able to map diverse factors such as humidity, evaporation, salinity and material degradation. Thus, this powerful tool can interpret the dynamic processes of deterioration on historic buildings by providing a right and rigorous interpretation of data in order to restore such buildings.

Stem cells are unspecialised cells that can develop into any type of cell in the human body. So far, however, scientists only partially understand how the body controls the fate of these all-rounders, and what factors decide whether a stem cell will differentiate, for example, into a blood, liver or nerve cell. Researchers from the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg and an international team have now identified an ingenious mechanism by which the body orchestrates the regeneration of red and white blood cells from progenitor cells. “This finding can help us to improve stem cell therapy in future,” says Dr. Alexander Skupin, head of the “Integrative Cell Signalling” group of LCSB. The LCSB team has published its results in the scientific journal PLOS Biology (DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.2000640).

 

Scienzaonline con sottotitolo Sciencenew  - Periodico
Autorizzazioni del Tribunale di Roma – diffusioni:
telematica quotidiana 229/2006 del 08/06/2006
mensile per mezzo stampa 293/2003 del 07/07/2003
Pubblicato a Roma – Via A. De Viti de Marco, 50 – Direttore Responsabile Guido Donati

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