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Life Sciences - Health - 19.12.2022
How does the same DNA result in more than 200 different cell types?
How does the same DNA result in more than 200 different cell types?
Every human body starts out as one single cell: a fertilized egg. This cell develops into all kinds of cell types: skin cells, liver cells, blood cells. Although these cell types look and function differently, they all contain exactly the same DNA. Tuncay Baubec and his research group try to understand how the same genetic code is used to build the more than 200 different cell types in our body.

Environment - Life Sciences - 14.12.2022
Biodiversity is crucial to cope with climate change
Biodiversity is crucial to cope with climate change
This week, the biodiversity conference takes place in Montreal, after it was postponed by Covid-19 in the Chinese city of Kunming last May. That postponement was worrying, says Professor of Land Use and Biodiversity Merel Soons , because time is running out for nature conservation. The reason our biodiversity is declining so much is well known.

Life Sciences - History / Archeology - 09.12.2022
Medieval and contemporary Ashkenazi Jews are genetically virtually identical, and that's surprising
Medieval and contemporary Ashkenazi Jews are genetically virtually identical, and that’s surprising
Unique genetic research shows that the Ashkenazi Jewish community has been a virtually closed group since the 14th century. The international and interdisciplinary Genetic Legacies project examined DNA from the teeth of dozens of medieval and contemporary members of the community from the German city of Erfurt.

Health - Life Sciences - 06.12.2022
'Collective reflection needed for way out of crisis Alzheimer's research'
’Collective reflection needed for way out of crisis Alzheimer’s research’
A vast amount of money is involved in Alzheimer's disease research. However, scientists have been unable to achieve substantial clinical results in recent decades. In a recent analysis of the situation, Utrecht University historian of science Bert Theunissen and his colleague from Erasmus University Rotterdam Noortje Jacobs now argue that a deadlock has developed that makes progression unlikely.

Health - Life Sciences - 05.12.2022
Nutrition as medicine for heart failure in diabetes
Treat heart failure in type 2 diabetes with simple nutritional supplements? That seems too easy to be true, but researchers at Maastricht UMC+ have discovered that a particular mixture of amino acids could provide a cure for diabetic heart failure. A crucial step in addressing a problem facing a growing group of patients.

Health - Life Sciences - 02.12.2022
Droplets in cells determine the accumulation of proteins in age-related diseases
Droplets in cells determine the accumulation of proteins in age-related diseases
Tiny droplets in our cells can accelerate the accumulation of protein deposits in diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, but they can also hinder this accumulation. While they will worsen the accumulation if the proteins stick to the edge of the droplets, the situation actually improves when they are incorporated into the droplets.

Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 29.11.2022
COPD patients have a higher risk of brain problems, possibly due to inflammation
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have a higher chance of suffering from brain-related problems such as anxiety, depression and memory problems. PhD candidate Charlotte Pelgrim discovered that inflammation in the brain and a less protective barrier of the blood vessels in the brain may play a role.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 21.11.2022
Major breakthrough for brain-like computers
A breakthrough at the University of Twente is bringing new brain-like computers one step closer. An international group of researchers led by Professor Christian Nijhuis has developed a new type of molecular switch that can learn from previous behaviour.

Environment - Life Sciences - 09.11.2022
Biologist Joeri Zwerts experiences the impact of his biodiversity research at global FSC meeting
Biologist Joeri Zwerts experiences the impact of his biodiversity research at global FSC meeting
By presenting his research findings at a major international meeting, Joeri Zwerts experienced how he makes societal impact as a scientist. Last month, Zwerts spoke at the general assembly of global forest certification organization the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). At this meeting, he presented his research about the effect of FSC conservation measures on wild mammal populations in Gabon and Congo.

Life Sciences - Health - 08.11.2022
New ways to grow human 'mini-bones'
New ways to grow human ’mini-bones’
Bregje de Wildt explored different ways to grow -mini-bones- in the lab that could be used to test newly developed medicines for bone diseases. Human bones can recover from small fractures, but if the fractures are too large or the regrowth process is unbalanced, as is the case with osteoporosis, treatment is required.

Life Sciences - Health - 03.11.2022
Methane-eating relative of tuberculosis bacteria found in Romanian cave
Methane-eating relative of tuberculosis bacteria found in Romanian cave
Bacteria living on the walls of a cave in Romania use methane as their only source of food. Researchers from Utrecht University and national and international colleagues describe the previously unknown microbes in a paper in Nature Microbiology . Knowledge about the new species might contribute to the development of new techniques that reduce the concentration of methane in the atmosphere.

Life Sciences - Health - 03.11.2022
Major recognition for research on fat metabolism in brain
Neuroscientist Rik van der Kant (VU Amsterdam and Alzheimer Center Amsterdam UMC) and chemist Martin Giera (Leiden University Medical Centre) have been awarded a Neurodegeneration Challenge Network (NDCN) grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Life Sciences - 03.11.2022
New view on the brain: It’s all in the connections
It's not the individual brain regions but rather their connections that matter: neuroscientists propose a new model of how the brain works. This new view enables us to understand better why and how our brains vary between individuals. The researchers publish it in a special issue of Science on November 4th.

Life Sciences - Microtechnics - 19.10.2022
How flying insects and drones can discern up from down
Scientists have developed a theory that can explain how flying insects determine the gravity direction without using accelerometers. It also forms a substantial step in the creation of tiny, autonomous drones. Scientists have discovered a novel manner for flying drones and insects to estimate the gravity direction.

Environment - Life Sciences - 13.10.2022
WWF report: Climate action also needed to reverse biodiversity losses
WWF report: Climate action also needed to reverse biodiversity losses
The new Living Planet Report 2022 of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reveals that populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish have declined by an average of 69% since 1970. The report highlights the stark outlook of the state of nature and warns governments, businesses and the public to take action to reverse the decline in biodiversity.

Health - Life Sciences - 27.09.2022
’Love hormone’ may support memory in people with Alzheimer’s
Oxytocin may be able to support memory in people with Alzheimer's disease. This is the conclusion of a study led by Maastricht University in which oxytocin was administered to mice with Alzheimer's-related problems. The research is based on epigenetics, the external effects that turn parts of our DNA on or off during our lifetime.

Life Sciences - 27.09.2022
Why domestic cats may have small brains
Why domestic cats may have small brains
Domestic cats have smaller brains than their wild ancestors. Smaller brains need less energy. Cats might thus be able to spend more energy on other energetically costly organs. In the scientific journal Integrative Biology, a group of international researchers suggest that domestic cats have used this energy to enlarge their gut length to adapt their digestive system to the human environment.

Environment - Life Sciences - 26.09.2022
Scientists estimate more than half of palm species may be threatened with extinction
Scientists estimate more than half of palm species may be threatened with extinction
An international team of biologists, including W. Daniel Kissling of the University of Amsterdam, has used artificial intelligence techniques to estimate the conservation status of nearly 1900 palm species across the world. They found that more than 1000 of the species may be at risk of extinction.

Life Sciences - 26.09.2022
Virus discovered in world's most widely used research plant
Virus discovered in world’s most widely used research plant
A previously unknown virus has been found to occur worldwide in the most widely studied plant species, thale cress ( Arabidopsis thaliana ). The presence of the virus, which was discovered by researchers at Utrecht University and Wageningen University & Research, potentially has far-reaching implications for research projects.

Life Sciences - Microtechnics - 26.09.2022
Next level plant science in new NPEC lab
With the completion of NPEC at the end of this month, plant research enters a new era. The era of automation and a lot of data. NPEC stands for Netherlands Plant Eco-phenotyping Centre. The focus here is not the plant's genetic baggage - its genotype - but its outward appearance, or phenotype. The research entails measuring aspects of the plant's appearance and the influence of the environment.
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