Stress, our hated guard: Or how theoretical physics could explain the phenomenon of life

In his new book – Generalized Lagrangian Approach and Behavior of Living Systems – Professor Uziel Sandler, from the Lev Academic Centre (JCT), explains how a specific generalisation of a Lagrangian function can help theoretical physics to describe the phenomenon of life. He demonstrates how the generalised Lagrangians allow Lagrangian dynamics to be used to describe the behaviour of living […]

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An introduction to the information dimension

Boyd’s theory on emergent information present a new angle on one of the most pressing questions facing AI.

The difficulty of defining the true nature of information has sparked a rich, seemingly unending variety of questions over the past centuries; from the nature of the human soul to whether artificial intelligence can gain consciousness. Now Daniel Boyd, an independent researcher in the Netherlands, believes that these problems could be solved if we view information as a substance residing […]

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Flowering phenology of spring ephemerals in the Appalachians

Research-Outreach-Jim-Anderson

The historical records of when plant species burst into flower can highlight changes in seasonal events (phenology) that may mirror ecosystem responses to climate change. A team of four researchers, Jim Anderson (Professor of Forestry and Natural Resources at West Virginia University), Lori Petrauski (Field Ecologist for the National Ecological Observatory Network), Sheldon Owen (Extension Wildlife Specialist for the West […]

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Explaining how the mind works: A new theory

How and why do humans think and act in the ways that we do? To answer this question, Dr Paul Badcock and his colleagues have recently proposed a theory of the human brain that combines evidence from evolutionary and developmental psychology, neuroscience, and biology. This theory posits that the human brain is a complex adaptive system, composed of relatively specialised […]

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Advances in CNS drug development

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 […]

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Fruit flies help shed light on drug discovery for ALS

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, […]

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In-situ monitoring of microbial circuitry

In-situ monitoring of microbial circuitry

Microbial metabolisms are valuable tools in industrial biotechnology. The ability to monitor and measure the productivity of microbes is essential, but many standard techniques are limited by issues of labour- and time-intensity. With funding from the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office, Office of Science, and Environmental Management Program as well as the Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction agency. Dr Charles (Chuck) […]

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The acidic brine lakes of Chile: A surprising microbial community

The acidic brine lakes of Chile: A surprising microbial community

  The Andean salt flats of Chile are well known for their vast natural beauty. Interspersed within their white salt-crusts, small lakes, springs and creeks can be found alongside the unique microbial communities that inhabit them. Drs Cecilia Demergasso and Guillermo Chong along with a multidisciplinary research team from the Universidad Católica del Norte of Chile, are currently investigating the […]

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Machine metaphors: Ethical and philosophical challenges in synthetic biology

The emerging field of synthetic biology faces a growing need for conceptual clarification and ethical deliberation. Dr Joachim Boldt from the University of Freiburg has analysed the use of machine metaphors in describing biological systems, and how language affects the approaches we have towards synthetic biology research. In addition to oversimplifying biological systems, machine metaphors can create new biosafety risks and […]

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Extracellular vesicle DNA: A promising cancer biomarker

Lung cancer patients could one day receive faster, cheaper and more accurate diagnoses thanks to extracellular vesicle DNA found in liquid biopsies. These were the findings of a research team led by Professors Kye Young Lee and Jae Young Hur of Konkuk University’s School of Medicine. Their work offers an alternative to invasive tissue biopsies which are currently used to detect […]

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