Research Outreach Blog
July 13, 2023

Research Outreach – Issue 136: Private messages, browning vegetables, and unnecessary organs

Research Outreach Issue 136 has a wide range of thought-provoking articles that reveal the scope of research in the modern world. Ranging from the genomic editing of eggplant to an ongoing debate about the significance of an organ inside the human nose, the research featured in this month’s publication will surely have something for everyone.

We were privileged to speak with Lidia Borrell-Damián, Secretary General at Science Europe, an association that works to fund groundbreaking research throughout Europe. She discusses effective science communication, research collaboration, and funding.

With the increasing prevalence of digital communication comes the associated concern for our privacy. One study conceptualises ‘anamorphic cryptography’ that promises to protect private messages, even from the government if necessary. Finally, one study investigates the difficulties surrounding drone as air currents in an urban setting have the potential to disrupt and destabilise drones in mid-air.

Ongoing research at the Khalifa Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, UAE investigates high-yielding yet non-browning eggplants using genetic modification.

Cut of the crop: High-yields of non-browning eggplant via genome editing

Producing crops can be challenging, particularly if they tend to brown when damaged or cut. Eggplant, or aubergine, is a globally produced crop that is particularly prone to browning when cut. A recent study has used genome editing to improve eggplant, including making it more fruitful and non-browning.

The human vomeronasal organ: To preserve or not?

A little-known organ in the nose has been the subject of debate as to whether it should be preserved during surgery, as it can potentially be permanently damaged during nasal surgery. It isn’t known whether the vomeronasal organ has any function in humans – while it does in other animals like snakes, reptiles, and other mammals.

Science Europe represents major public organisations that fund groundbreaking research across Europe, promoting open, collaborative research networks within – but not limited to – the European research arena.

Science Europe: Building an open network for researchers in Europe with global perspectives

Science Europe is an international association that represents multiple public organisations that fund research across Europe. They are working to break down the various barriers that exist when aiming to collaborate cross-borders on research opportunities. One key way they aim to tackle the less well-known barriers is through more effective science communication.

Anamorphic cryptography: How can we ensure private communication?

Tension between governments and the technology industry has led to the so-called ‘Crypto Wars’. Secure messaging has become a battleground: to protect someone’s right to private communication vs the ability to monitor for potential threats. One recently conceptualised method involves anamorphic cryptography, enabling communication to remain private – even from the government if required.

Dr Abdulghani Mohamed studies gusts encountered by flying vehicles such as drones or air taxis in proximity to buildings.

Urban Drone Operation: How wind in cities could affect air taxis of the future

Many companies are now interested in the concept of urban air mobility vehicles, although there are still pitfalls to overcome before that is a reality – such as how to cope with a windy city. A recent study has investigated flow fields that form in urban environments, and discusses the regulations that could be put into action to keep drones safe.


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