Biology

Unravelling the signalling cues controlling vertebrate reproductive behaviour

How do vertebrate brains integrate information from external social cues and internal physiological states to produce appropriate behaviours? This is one of the big questions that Dr Karen Maruska and her research team at Louisiana State University (LSU) are striving to answer. Dr Maruska leads a research group that uses fish models to investigate how animals process and translate multisensory […]

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Biology

Novel 3D microscope provides unprecedented moving images of biological processes

Dr Chunqiang Li and his team of the University of Texas at El Paso have developed a novel three-dimensional (3D) optical microscope that uses a spectrally shaped pulse laser. Whilst most prior microscopes used scanning to achieve high speed 2D imaging, Dr Li’s approach obtains the z-position from a technique called ‘temporal focusing’ that use ‘diffraction’ rings and clever mathematics […]

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Biology

Energising life on earth: the third way

Almost all living organisms on earth get their energy, ultimately, from the sun. Energy is fixed in carbohydrates by plants and cyanobacteria during photosynthesis, then both animals and plants release it by breaking down those carbohydrates. Until now, only two main routes of carbohydrate breakdown were thought to be present in cyanobacteria and plants. However, Dr Kirstin Gutekunst, of Christian-Albrechts-University […]

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Biology

Unlocking the chemical secrets of microbial conversations

Dr Matt Traxler of the University of California, Berkeley, is changing the way we study microbes. Gone are the days of thinking about a single species in a pure culture in the lab – Traxler and his team of graduate students and postdocs are developing a version of mass spectrometry which promises to allow single microbial cells, and their interactions […]

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Biology

Florida’s Archbold Biological Station gives online access to unusual natural history collection

The Archbold Biological Station, a world-renowned ecological field station based in Florida, USA, is uploading its natural history collection onto the Internet for the first time. The diverse collection, containing 270,000 specimens of more than 10,000 species will provide researchers and students around the world, with access to this rich source of ecological data. This highly collaborative project, which involves […]

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Biology

A sustainable approach to environmental management

Ten faculty members from the University of South Dakota and eleven undergraduate students from across the United States including Puerto Rico, came together through the Sustainable RIVER (Remediating InVasives to Encourage Resilience) program to study how a complex suite of historical and contemporary factors affect the current functioning and management of the Upper Missouri River. Most of society’s grand challenges […]

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Biology

From beer to brains: how yeast molecular genetics prove the importance of introns

Scientific discoveries often come from the most unlikely of places, and Dr Tracy Johnson’s work is no exception. Using a yeast system typically used to make beer or bread, Dr Johnson and her team at UCLA have uncovered important genetic findings that could highlight the importance of intron retention during gene expression. Her research looks at the science of gene […]

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Biology

Communicating the language of plants through inositol phosphates

Organisms require a variety of signalling pathways to communicate with and respond to their environment. Components such as signalling molecules function as the communicators of cellular language. Dr Imara Perera and her colleagues are investigating one group of signalling molecules, inositol phosphates and their derivatives, to understand its role in plant communication. All organisms interact with and respond to their […]

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Biology

Development of immunity in basal metazoans

Dr Mauricio Rodriguez-Lanetty from Florida International University (FIU), is currently conducting research that focuses on immunological priming in corals and anemones, a process by which an animal can resist pathogens through repeated, non-lethal exposure. As corals are at risk due to climate change, this is an important project to help further our understanding of their immunology. The project also includes […]

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Biology

Crossing kingdoms between plants, fungi and bacteria

Professor Teresa Pawlowska and her team from the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University have performed an in-depth study on the evolutionary genomics of the recently discovered mycoplasma-related endobacteria (MRE). They are currently in the process of investigating the complex interrelationship between these endobacteria, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and their host – terrestrial plants. This is one of […]

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