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Dr Panicos Shangaris | Optimising the Prenatal Treatment of Inherited Diseases

Dr Panicos Shangaris | Optimising the Prenatal Treatment of Inherited Diseases

The greatest challenge for ageing populations is that vaccines can be less protective for the elderly due to the age-related decline of the immune system. This means that improving the efficacy of vaccines in the ageing population is crucial to public health. Dr Lei Jin and colleagues from the University of Florida set out to develop a novel strategy to directly address this key issue.

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Professor Olubukola Oluranti Babalola | Improving The Production of Cowpea, a Sustainable Superfood

Professor Olubukola Oluranti Babalola | Improving The Production of Cowpea, a Sustainable Superfood

Cowpea is an extremely versatile food crop. Packed with high-quality protein, it has become a staple legume in many households in Africa, where it is indigenous. Cowpea also cycles nutrients back into the soil, supporting sustainable farming and healthy ecological networks. However, the production of this sustainable crop faces many hurdles, including drought, pesticide use, and declining soil quality. In a recent review, Professor Olubukola Oluranti Babalola of North-West University in South Africa outlines the issues facing cowpea production and highlights potential solutions.

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Dr Laura Tipton | Symbiotic Science through a Shared Language

Dr Laura Tipton | Symbiotic Science through a Shared Language

Many scientific concepts are applicable to multiple disciplines and across spatial scales, from the microscopic to the global. As such, scientists from different disciplines must communicate effectively – through a shared scientific language – for effective collaboration and scientific advancement. With this aim, Dr Laura Tipton of Chaminade University and her colleagues from the University of Hawai’i investigate the history of ecological terminology, in order to work towards building a common lexicon that bridges ecology and microbiome science.

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Dr Jennifer Botha – Analysing Bones to Gain Insight into Mammalian Evolution

Dr Jennifer Botha – Analysing Bones to Gain Insight into Mammalian Evolution

It may be surprising to know, that you – and all other mammals – are technically cynodonts. The first cynodonts appeared approximately 260 million years ago as small creatures about the size of a house cat. A particular group of cynodonts evolved to become more ‘mammal-like’, eventually evolving into the first true mammals. Dr Jennifer Botha from the National Museum, Bloemfontein in South Africa studies the anatomy and life history of specimens along the cynodont–mammalian transition, to gain key insights into the origins and evolution of mammals.

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Dr Zsuzsanna Balogh-Brunstad | Getting to the Root of Plant-Fungi Symbiosis

Dr Zsuzsanna Balogh-Brunstad | Getting to the Root of Plant-Fungi Symbiosis

An ancient relationship between plants and fungi could help us improve forestry and agriculture, while also responding to the challenges posed by climate change. These beneficial fungi, along with their bacteria helpers, help plants to grow bigger and healthier, and survive droughts. An international team of researchers has been investigating how these fungi and bacteria increase mineral availability for Scots pine and red pine seedlings through mineral weathering.

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Dr Laura Tipton | Symbiotic Science through a Shared Language

Dr Laura Tipton | Symbiotic Science through a Shared Language

Many scientific concepts are applicable to multiple disciplines and across spatial scales, from the microscopic to the global. As such, scientists from different disciplines must communicate effectively – through a shared scientific language – for effective collaboration and scientific advancement. With this aim, Dr Laura Tipton of Chaminade University and her colleagues from the University of Hawai’i investigate the history of ecological terminology, in order to work towards building a common lexicon that bridges ecology and microbiome science.

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Dr Helen Greenwood Hansma | Energy: A Clue to the Origins of Life

Dr Helen Greenwood Hansma | Energy: A Clue to the Origins of Life

Energy is vital for life. It allows important functions to occur in living systems, from the molecular level to the scale of the whole organism. Dr Helen Greenwood Hansma, from the University of California in Santa Barbara, believes that the types of energy used in living cells can provide clues to help us understand the origins of life. In her recent research, she explores how mechanical energy could have driven the processes that gave rise to early life in the absence of chemical energy.

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Investigating the Impact of Tannins on Gut Bacteria in Pigs

Investigating the Impact of Tannins on Gut Bacteria in Pigs

Weaning is an important time in the pig lifecycle, and changes in diet and environment can lead to unbalanced gut microbiota and pathogen colonisation. Prof. Luciana Rossi, Dr. Matteo Dell’Anno from the University of Milan, and Dr. Maria Luisa Callegari from Catholic University of Sacred Heart, have been investigating the impact on gut bacteria of adding natural compounds known as tannins to piglet food. Importantly, they found that tannins do affect the gut bacteria; with increases seen in bacteria associated with improved growth and gut health, and in particular, those that produce butyrate – a substance with proven health benefits.

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Dr Christa Mulder – Understanding How Flowering Plants Respond to Climate Change

Dr Christa Mulder – Understanding How Flowering Plants Respond to Climate Change

A welcome sign of a change in seasons, the year’s first flowers usher in the start of spring. Yet, as the climate warms, some flowers are blooming earlier. Since plants respond to environmental cues, such as temperature, shifts in their annual development has long been considered an effect of climate change. However, significant warming does not always lead to earlier flowering.

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Effects of DNA Repair Mechanisms, Oestrogen and Environmental Chemicals on Risk for Breast Cancer | Dr Joseph Jerry

Effects of DNA Repair Mechanisms, Oestrogen and Environmental Chemicals on Risk for Breast Cancer | Dr Joseph Jerry

All women are exposed to oestrogen from puberty through menopause. Oestrogen is a natural hormone that is important for breast development and the maintenance of tissues in women but is also linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. As many as 1 in 8 women in the USA will be diagnosed with breast cancer over their lifetime, and the majority of these breast cancers are sensitive to oestrogen. Dr Joseph Jerry and his collaborators at the University of Massachusetts are studying the environmental exposures and genetic differences that alter the consequences of exposure to oestrogens.

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Revealing How Ocean Chemistry Controlled Earth’s Ancient Atmosphere and Microbial Evolution | Dr Romain Guilbaud

Revealing How Ocean Chemistry Controlled Earth’s Ancient Atmosphere and Microbial Evolution | Dr Romain Guilbaud

Important clues buried within ancient rocks that were deposited on the ocean floor around one billion of years ago could help scientists understand the evolutionary history of life on Earth. Dr Romain Guilbaud and an international team of researchers from the UK and China analysed the chemical composition of these rocky sediments from the Huainan Basin in North China. Their findings demonstrate how changes in ocean chemistry occurring between one billion and 800 million years ago strongly limited the production of atmospheric oxygen, which is a necessary prerequisite for the planet to host complex life.

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Discovering Unmapped Molecular Targets for Novel Covalent Drugs | Dr Mikail Abbasov

Discovering Unmapped Molecular Targets for Novel Covalent Drugs | Dr Mikail Abbasov

Covalent drugs are molecules that irreversibly bind to specific, targeted sites in the body. They work to inhibit the disease-causing functions of certain proteins by preventing them from interacting with other substances. This is a highly promising field of drug development and the focus of Dr Mikail Abbasov from Cornell University, New York, USA. By creating and utilising new technologies and through collaborative research, Dr Abbasov has mapped novel molecular targets for potential covalent drugs to treat ailments ranging from cancer to autoimmune diseases.

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Dr Alexandra (Sasha) Pavlova – Professor Paul Sunnucks | Genetic Rescue Saves Species from Extinction

Dr Alexandra (Sasha) Pavlova – Professor Paul Sunnucks | Genetic Rescue Saves Species from Extinction

When a species’ habitat shrinks, its populations decline. Individuals that persist in remaining islands of habitat have no choice but to breed with their relatives, reducing the health and fertility of their offspring. Researchers at Monash University seek to increase genetic diversity in small populations, helping them rebound. They have established ‘genetic rescue’ methods to save many endangered species from extinction, collaborating with wildlife agencies to test solutions.

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Dr Helen Greenwood Hansma | Energy: A Clue to the Origins of Life

Dr Helen Greenwood Hansma | Energy: A Clue to the Origins of Life

Before the first living organisms were brought into being, molecules were already moving and changing. Many energy sources, including light and heat from the sun, were available to provide the energy needed to drive chemical reactions. Mechanical energy, which describes the energy of motion, was also readily available before life’s emergence. Dr Helen Greenwood Hansma from the University of California in Santa Barbara explores how mechanical energy could have driven the processes that gave rise to early life.

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Dr Laura Tipton | Symbiotic Science through a Shared Language

Dr Laura Tipton | Symbiotic Science through a Shared Language

Many scientific concepts are applicable to multiple disciplines and across spatial scales, from the microscopic to the global. As such, scientists from different disciplines must communicate effectively – through a shared scientific language – for effective collaboration and scientific advancement. With this aim, Dr Laura Tipton of Chaminade University and her colleagues from the University of Hawai’i investigate the history of ecological terminology, in order to work towards building a common lexicon that bridges ecology and microbiome science.

read more
Dr Conrad Labandeira | Which Came First: Pollinating Insects or Flowers?

Dr Conrad Labandeira | Which Came First: Pollinating Insects or Flowers?

Historically, controlled forest burning in western North America created a forest patchwork that limited the size and severity of wildfires. Over the last 200 years, however, fire suppression created large areas of dense tree stands. As droughts and temperatures increase due to climate change, these dense forests are now at increasing risk from extremely severe wildfires.

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Controlling the Worldwide chaotic Spreading of COVID-19 Through Vaccinations | Dr Aldo Bonasera

Controlling the Worldwide chaotic Spreading of COVID-19 Through Vaccinations | Dr Aldo Bonasera

Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, we face challenges that require innovative and strategic responding. Dr Aldo Bonasera at Texas A&M University in the USA and Laboratori Nazionali del Sud, Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare in Italy, and Dr Hua Zheng at the School of Physics and Information Technology, Shaanxi Normal University in China, have taken a mathematical approach to compare the current COVID-19 pandemic with the Spanish Flu. Their findings have led to important recommendations for managing the current pandemic through vaccination programmes.

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