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Image: connection between nerve cells; Copyright: Kristian Herrera and authors

Signaling Strength between nerve cells depends on size of connections

22/01/2021

The neocortex is the part of the brain that humans use to process sensory impressions, store memories, give instructions to the muscles, and plan for the future. These computational processes are possible because each nerve cell is a highly complex miniature computer that communicates with around 10,000 other neurons. This communication happens via special connections called synapses.
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Image: researching cartilage under a microscope; Copyright: Medical University of Vienna

Cartilage matrix for cartilage regeneration

20/01/2021

Just a few millimetres thick, articular cartilage plays a crucial role in our musculoskeletal system, since it is responsible for smooth (in the truest sense of the word) movement. However, the downside of its particular structure is that even minor injuries do not regenerate. Timely treatment of cartilage damage is therefore essential.
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Image: Smiling man with a dark suit in front of a window; Copyright: Sven Döring

Stem cells against blindness: ERC Proof of Concept

11/01/2021

Prof. Volker Busskamp from the University of Bonn has received a "Proof of Concept Grant" worth 150,000 euros from the European Research Council (ERC). He and his team are working at the Eye Clinic of the University Hospital Bonn on a technology to rapidly program human stem cells to photoreceptor for retinal research and treating blindness in the future.
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Image: cancer cell; Copyright: PantherMedia / dtkutoo

Cell therapies for cancer powered by big data

27/11/2020

Finding medicines that can kill cancer cells while leaving normal tissue unscathed is a Holy Grail of oncology research. In two new papers, scientists at UC San Francisco and Princeton University present complementary strategies to crack this problem with "smart" cell therapies.
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Image: mouse fibroblast cell imaged on a metasurface; Copyright: Kaoru Tamada, Kyushu University

Higher-resolution imaging of cells using plasmonic metasurfaces

09/11/2020

In the quest to image exceedingly small structures and phenomenon with higher precision, scientists have been pushing the limits of optical microscope resolution, but these advances often come with increased complication and cost.
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Image: Chromosome segregation in a human stem cell; Copyright: Carolina Pereira & Inês Milagre

Stem cells: new insights for future regenerative medicine approaches

30/10/2020

Researchers discover that a specialized part of the chromosomes, essential for a correct cell division, is smaller and weaker in stem cells, when compared to the ones of differentiated cells.
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Image: microfluidic platform; Copyright: Department of Chemistry, University of Basel

An artificial cell on a chip

29/10/2020

Researchers at the University of Basel have developed a precisely controllable system for mimicking biochemical reaction cascades in cells. This "cell on a chip" is useful not only for studying processes in cells, but also for the development of new synthetic pathways for chemical applications or for biological active substances in medicine.
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Image: multiple IM30 proteins ; Copyright: Dirk Schneider, Benedikt Junglas

A membrane-attached protein protects bacteria from stress

26/10/2020

Stress is present everywhere, even bacteria and plant cells have to cope with it. They express various specific stress proteins, but how exactly this line of defense works is often not clear. A group of scientists headed by Professor Dirk Schneider of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has now discovered a protective mechanism in cyanobacteria as well as in chloroplasts of plant cells.
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Image: Two knees of a woman next to each other, the left knee has a surgical suture; Copyright: panthermedia.net/wujekspeed

Regenerative medicine: creating a new body?

03/02/2020

Regenerative medicine aims to repair the human body after injuries, accidents or major cancer surgery. Unfortunately, we are still not at a stage where this process can achieve optimal results for every conceivable situation. Having said that, various new methods are on the cusp of breakthrough.
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Image: The shoulder of a man with a surgical suture; Copyright: panthermedia.net/JPCPROD

Regenerative medicine: helps the body healing

03/02/2020

Severe wounds heal slowly and leave scars. This is why we have been using regenerative therapies for some time now to accelerate and improve healing. They also help to avoid permanent damage. Still, complex applications like replacing organs or limbs will rather remain vision than become reality for a long time.
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Image: Graphic rendering of several cells in a petri dish; Copyright: panthermedia.net/dani3315

Organ-on-a-chip systems: limited validity?

01/02/2019

Organ-on-a-chip systems are technically a great enhancement of medical research because they facilitate testing of active ingredients on cell cultures in the chambers of a plastic chip. This replaces animal testing and improves patient safety. That being said, they are not a true-to-life replication of the human body and can only simulate a few functions and activities.
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