Dancing DNA: How Rad51 chooses the perfect partner

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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Protein structure prediction with machine learning


Shuichiro Makigaki and Dr Takashi Ishida, from the Department of Computer Science at Tokyo Institute of Technology, are developing a new sequence alignment generation model that employs machine learning and dynamic programming to predict protein structures. This novel methodology can also be applied to homology detection which is fundamental to bioinformatics. A protein’s function is dictated by its three-dimensional structure. If the structure is […]

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The origin of life: The conditions that sparked life on Earth

The origin of life on Earth has been a long-debated issue. There have been many theories as to how life evolved, but Professors Shigenori Maruyama (ELSI, Tokyo Institute of Technology), Ken Kurokawa (National Institute of Genetics), and Dr Toshikazu Ebisuzaki (RIKEN) have found a way to narrow the field to a single likely theory. By identifying a list of nine […]

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Carbon capture utilisation in the deep ocean: The hydrothermal fuel cell

Deep-sea hydrothermal vents are one of the most hostile environments on Earth, and yet they support complex ecosystems. Dr Ryuhei Nakamura of the RIKEN Centre for Sustainable Resource Science and Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, has been researching how hydrothermal vents operate as a fuel cell for microbial life, their potential for deep-sea carbon capture through electrochemical carbon […]

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Where the river meets the sea: Understanding underexplored river estuarine ecosystems

River estuaries are vital bodies of water that provide multiple ecological services, such as nutrient cycling, climate change adaptation, and habitats for a wide range of ecologically and economically important species. In recent years, estuary habitats have been highly degraded by human activities. For this reason, their protection, restoration, and conservation are fundamental. Dr Rei Itsukushima and colleagues at the […]

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New photosensitisers for photodynamic therapy

Light plays an important role in the fight against cancer. Phototherapies, that work by shining light at the cancerous tumours, are effective treatments for some malignant cancers. However, for photodynamic therapy to destroy only cancerous cells, photosensitisers have to be used before surgery, so the light is mostly absorbed by the tumour, not the healthy tissue. Professor Hideya Yuasa at the Tokyo Institute of Technology has […]

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