Biology

How a minority can swiftly shape collective actions

Understanding how groups of animals react to sudden threats has eluded researchers for many years and previous models failed to provide a mechanism for how social information can disseminate quickly through the ranks. For the past ten years, Dr Bertrand Lemasson, based at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Oregon, USA, has studied how and when an individual’s actions within […]

Read More…

Biology

DNA replication: Unravelling the secrets of the replisome

Every cell needs to divide and produce more cells. This is an essential part of every living organism. The first step is to make a copy of its own DNA to pass on to daughter cells. This is known as DNA replication and has been the focus of Professor Michael O’Donnell’s lab for many years. The team, based at The Rockefeller University, New […]

Read More…

Biology

A hitherto unseen matrix involved in cell division is revealed

Cell division has been fascinating researchers for decades. This process could not occur without the spindle to organise the chromosomes neatly in two sets, one for each daughter cell. It’s commonly accepted that the spindle is formed by a series of filaments that puts chromosomes into place, but there may be more to it than that. This is certainly the […]

Read More…

Biology

Advances in CNS drug development

The global prevalence of diseases affecting the central nervous system (CNS) demands the development of efficacious therapies for these unmet needs. However, drug development for CNS diseases is complicated by a limited ability to measure whether a drug candidate is accessing and affecting the human brain, particularly in early-stage human trials. Research by Dr Eugenii (Ilan) Rabiner and his colleagues: Dr […]

Read More…

Biology

Are wildfires following bark beetles more severe?

Bark beetles are responsible for large numbers of dead trees in ponderosa pine forests in the United States. The relationship between tree mortality caused by bark beetles and increasingly severe wildfires has been analysed by Carolyn Sieg and colleagues using a detailed physics-based fire behaviour model. The team seeks to understand if fires that follow beetles are more severe, that […]

Read More…

Biology

Predicting protein function and annotating complex pathways with machine learning

Dr Daisuke Kihara’s team at Purdue University have created novel computational approaches for predicting protein functions. Instead of following a one-protein-one-function approach, their algorithms can predict the functional relationships of entire groups of proteins related to a specific biological process. The team has also expanded into mining oversighted or previously unknown proteins that have multiple, independent functions. The team’s methods […]

Read More…

Biology

Secrets of the stalk: Regulating plant temperature from the inside out

Have you ever questioned the reasoning behind hollow stems in some plants? When we think about it there are a surprising number of plants with this feature. A common misconception would be to believe it is solely for nutrient or water transport. In fact, the reality has much more to do with temperature regulation. Dr Peter Kevan from the University of Guelph […]

Read More…

Biology

Fruit flies help shed light on drug discovery for ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating and incurable neurodegenerative disease that affects people in adulthood. It leads to the death of neurons involved in muscle control, eventually affecting almost all facets of the body, including walking, swallowing and breathing. Drs Nancy Bonini and Leeanne McGurk at the University of Pennsylvania are using fruit flies, mammalian cellular systems like neurons, […]

Read More…

Biology

Honeycomb wings created by nature’s mechanics

Forces shape the world we live in, including the bodies we grow in to. Tiny motors in our cells push and pull to create different shapes, surrounding cells respond and react to create diverse patterns of tissue resulting in a world full of unique plants and animals. Drs Sugimura and Ikawa, from Kyoto University, studied the Drosophila fly wing to […]

Read More…