Health & Medicine

Direct cardiac reprogramming to regenerate the heart

Infarction causes the loss of a consequent number of cardiac muscle cells. Unable to self-regenerate, these cells are replaced by fibroblasts. This can lead to heart failure. Priyadharshni Muniyandi, doctoral researcher and Dr M. Sheikh Mohamed, Associate Professor at the Bio-Nano Electronics Research Centre, Toyo University, work on direct cardiac reprogramming. Their technique uses microRNA encapsulated in a non-viral nanocarrier: […]

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Behavioural Sciences

Social dilemmas reveal selective inattention in indirect reciprocity

Cooperation with others generates prosperity within human society, yet research into the evolution of cooperation, particularly indirect reciprocity, has left much unexplained. Indirect reciprocity involves assessment rules and draws on moral judgment. Most studies assume that people will consider all the information available to them before deciding whether to cooperate. Dr Isamu Okada, Associate Professor at Soka University, Japan, has […]

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Physical Sciences

Hydrogen? Just add water and sunlight

Hydrogen has been sold to the public as having the potential to be the ultra-clean fuel for the future’s economy. What’s less likely to be mentioned is that 96% of hydrogen is produced from natural gas, coal or other fossil fuels – producing it using renewable electricity is simply too expensive. To realise hydrogen’s full potential, the world needs better […]

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Biology

Dancing DNA: How Rad51 chooses the perfect partner

Professor Hiroshi Iwasaki, Tokyo Institute of Technology, aims to learn more about a biological process called homologous recombination, which is crucial to maintaining the integrity of DNA. His laboratory-based research means that we can learn more about this process and a key protein called Rad51. An increased understanding of this complex mechanism could be translated to the DNA repair processes […]

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Informatics & Technology

Unsupervised feature extraction applied to bioinformatics

In his new book, Professor Y-h Taguchi, from Chuo University, Tokyo, Japan, takes two classical mathematical techniques, principal component analysis and tensor decomposition, and demonstrates how they can be used to perform feature selection in his cutting-edge research. Both unsupervised learning methods are applied to carry out feature extraction in a wide range of ‘large p small n’ problems. This […]

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Physical Sciences

Facilitated ion transfer through liquid-liquid interfaces

The migration of charged ions through interfaces between immiscible liquids plays an important role in several natural and technological processes. Prof Akihiro Morita of Tohoku University in Japan uses molecular dynamics simulations to develop models of the complex phenomena involved in the motion of ions across interfaces under the effect of external electric fields. This powerful approach is providing detailed […]

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Informatics & Technology

A new academic discipline: Advancing factory science, economics and artifacts science

Professor Masayuki Matsui from The University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo, proposes that Industrial Engineering and Operational Research (IEOR) can be viewed as the art of his 3M&I-body system. His methods have led to a new academic discipline that contribute to the integration of knowledge and intelligence in nature versus artifacts science. This research facilitates the realisation of the cyber/real world, including […]

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Health & Medicine

Understanding the EGFR mutation aids the fight against lung cancer

Genetic mutations are known to be responsible for several different types of cancer. One type, known as non-small cell lung cancer, is sometimes caused by mutations in a gene called EGFR. A group of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors are often used to treat patients with this type of cancer. Unfortunately, patients can develop genetic alterations, namely mutation, amplification (an […]

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Health & Medicine

Unpacking primary biliary cholangitis and its burden in Japan

Itch, fatigue, anxiety, abdominal pain. These are just some of the symptoms faced by primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) patients. The chronic autoimmune disease sees white blood cells attack bile ducts in the liver, causing bile overflow, cell damage and potentially scarring and liver failure. Although it can be successfully managed, some symptoms can linger, hampering patients’ health-related quality of life […]

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Physical Sciences

This polymer hardens as it heats up

Dr Takayuki Nonoyama, Assistant Professor of the Faculty of Advanced Life Science at Hokkaido University, has made a polymer material with a rather strange property: at room temperature, it is rubbery, and at higher temperatures it solidifies. Cool it back down, and it becomes rubbery again. To create a material which exhibits this counter-intuitive behaviour, Nonoyama took inspiration from the proteins in […]

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