Research

  • #IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

    Computer science

    GESIS will host the 3rd annual International Conference on Computational Social Science (IC2S2). The conference has quickly grown into the premier venue specialized on the new field of computational social science. The conference features distinguished keynote speakers who attract attention beyond the borders of their individual research disciplines.

  • Aachen – The 3D Valley

    Additive manufacturing of metal or plastic components is the focus of the 3D Valley Conference on September 14 and 15, 2016 in Aachen. © Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.

    Major players in the aerospace and automotive sectors are modifying 3D printing processes for use in large-scale production, while small and medium-sized companies also increasingly recognize the technology’s huge potential. However, the costs and know-how associated with 3D printing still represent major obstacles to its introduction. Now researchers and manufacturers have joined forces in Aachen to offer users customized solutions.

  • Affordable detectors for gamma radiation

    single crystals made of lead halide perovskites Empa

    A research team at Empa and ETH Zurich has developed single crystals made of lead halide perovskites, which are able to gage radioactive radiation with high precision. Initial experiments have shown that these crystals, which can be manufactured from aqueous solutions or low-priced solvents, work just as well as conventional cadmium telluride semi-conductors, which are considerably more complicated to produce. The discovery could slash the price of many radio-detectors – such as in scanners in the security sector, portable dosimeters in power stations and measuring devices in medical diagnostics.

  • Allergy Research: Response to House Dust Mites is Age-Dependent

    Immunohistochemical staining of nasal polyp tissue: components of the leukotriene cascade (green and red) are active in epithelial cells and infiltrating inflammatory cells (cell nuclei in blue).   Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    Neuherberg, August 26, 2016. In adults with a house dust mite allergy, a cascade of inflammatory signals on the surface of the airways leads to airway remodeling. This process cannot be influenced by standard cortisone therapy. Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich have reported these findings in the latest issue of the ‘Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology’.

  • Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

    The matrix depicts the formation energy – an indicator of stability – of around two million possible compounds. (Image: University of Basel, Department of Chemistry)

    With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

  • Cancer Research - How Cells Die by Ferroptosis

    A Fibroblast Undergoing Ferroptosis. Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    Ferroptosis is a recently discovered form of cell death, which is still only partially understood. Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have now identified an enzyme that plays a key role in generating the signal that initiates cell death. Their findings, published in two articles in the journal ‘Nature Chemical Biology’, could now give new impetus to research into the fields of cancer, neurodegeneration and other degenerative diseases. The term ferroptosis was first coined in 2012. It is derived from the Greek word ptosis, meaning “a fall”, and ferrum, the Latin word for iron, and describes a form of regulated necrotic cell death in which iron appears to play an important role.

  • CRISPR/Cas9 technology to inactivate cancer mutations

    As for many other biomedical and biotechnology disciplines, the genome scissor “CRISPR/Cas9” also opens up completely new possibilities for cancer research. Scientists of the National Center for Tumor Disease (NCT), the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK) and the Medical Faculty of the TU Dresden have shown that mutations that act as cancer drivers can be targeted and repaired. The most relevant mutations could therefore be diagnosed faster, improving personalized therapies.

  • Cyclotron opens up new prospects for fundamental & applied research in radiopharmaceutical chemistry

    PETtrace 700S cyclotron with closed radiation shield   photo/©: Stefan F. Sämmer, JGU

    New particle accelerator generating radioactive isotopes for use in nuclear chemistry will be employed to create new medical radiopharmaceuticals

  • Deep Insight Into Interfaces

    Film of lanthanum cobalt oxide shows a sequence of positively and negatively charged atomic layers. Without electronic reconstruction an enormous electrostatic field would form between the layers Graphic: J.E. Hamann-Borrero & Vladimir Hinkov

    Interfaces between different materials and their properties are of key importance for modern technology. Together with an international team, physicists of Würzburg University have developed a new method, which allows them to have an extremely precise glance at these interfaces and to model their properties.

  • Effect of humidity on graphene sensors demistified

    Humidity effect on graphene doping.

    Graphene produced with chemical vapor deposition (CVD) will form the cornerstone of future graphene-based chemical, biological, and other types of sensors. Graphene, however, is extremely sensitive to air, in particular to humidity. To avoid unwanted background coming from humidity and to calibrate future sensors, it is highly important to investigate the mechanisms by which water (in the form of environmental humidity) affects graphene sheets.

  • Efficient Recycling of Lithium-Ion Batteries – Launch of Research Project NEW-BAT

    A new method will allow to recover valuable battery materials. © K. Selsam-Geißler, Fraunhofer ISC

    Funding was granted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to develop an innovative recycling process for valuable battery materials to be reinserted into the battery supply chain. The goal of the NEW-BAT project is a robust, energy efficient and economically viable system with wide application potential. Lithium-ion batteries are key elements in electromobility and a successful energy turnaround. The widespread use of these energy storage devices will come along with large quantities of spent batteries which itself constitute a valuable source of raw materials.

  • Enough is enough - stem cell factor Nanog knows when to slow down

    STILT generates simulated protein expression of dividing cells based on measured data and a dynamic model. Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    The transcription factor Nanog plays a crucial role in the self-renewal of embryonic stem cells. Previously unclear was how its protein abundance is regulated in the cells. Researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich, working in collaboration with colleagues from ETH Zürich, now report in ‘Cell Systems’ that the more Nanog there is on hand, the less reproduction there is. Every stem cell researcher knows the protein Nanog* because it ensures that these all-rounders continue to renew. A controversial debate revolved around how the quantity of Nanog protein in the cell is regulated.

  • Every atom counts in Protein structures

    Every atom counts in Protein structures | Tailored parallel X-rays perfectly matching the dimensions of the protein crystals enabled the scientists to determine the proteasome structure in unprecedented detail. Illustration: Hartmut Sebesse / Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

    Malignant cancer cells not only proliferate faster than most body cells. They are also more dependent on the most important cellular garbage disposal unit, the proteasome, which degrades defective proteins. Therapies for some types of cancer exploit this dependence: Patients are treated with inhibitors, which block the proteasome. The ensuing pile-up of junk overwhelms the cancer cell, ultimately killing it. Scientists have now succeeded in determining the human proteasome’s 3D structure in unprecedented detail and have deciphered the mechanism by which inhibitors block the proteasome. Their results will pave the way to develop more effective proteasome inhibitors for cancer therapy.

  • Faster diagnosis of sepsis pathogens

    High-throughput sequencing of sepsis pathogens at Fraunhofer IGB. Fraunhofer IGB

    Microbial pathogens can be diagnosed unambiguously and within just 24 hours by means of high-throughput sequencing of their genetic makeup and special bioinformatics evaluation algorithms. Fraunhofer researchers have validated this in a clinical study with sepsis patients. The researchers present the NGS diagnosis platform at Medica in Düsseldorf from November 14–17, 2016. It is estimated that in Germany alone around 150,000 people fall ill with sepsis every year; despite medical advances, between 30 and 50 percent of the patients still die of the consequences. One of the reasons for the high mortality rate: the diagnosis often comes too late for the lifesaving therapy with antibiotics that only combat the specific causative pathogen.

  • Fraunhofer ISE and NREL collaborate on Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research

    Left to right (standing): Bryan Pivovar, NREL; Sunita Satyapal, U.S. DOE; Helge Pols, BMVi; Klaus Bonhoff, NOW. Left to right (sitting): Keith Wipke, NREL, Christopher Hebling, Fraunhofer ISE. ©NREL

    The two largest research organizations for renewable energy research in the world, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Germany and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory NREL have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for close collaboration on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies research. The official launch took place on Monday, October 10th at the “f-cell / World of Energy Solutions” conference in Stuttgart.

  • Helpers for energy acquisition from plants

    Investigated the chloroplasts of Arabidopsis thaliana: Barbara Kalisch and Prof. Peter Dörmann of the Institute of Molecular Physiology and Biotechnology of Plants at Universität Bonn. © Photo: Barbara Frommann / University of Bonn

    Research into plant cells is far from complete. Scientists under the biochemist Professor Peter Dörmann at Universität Bonn have now succeeded in describing the function of chloroplasts in more detail. These are plant and algal cell structures that are responsible for photosynthesis. The results have now been published in the scientific journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA" (PNAS).

  • How Does Friendly Fire Happen in the Pancreas?

    Treatment with an antagomir directed against miR92a results in reduced attacks of immune cells (green) on the insulin (white) producing beta cells directly in the pancreas. Moreover, the treatment leads to more regulatory T cells (red) able to protect the beta cells. Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

    In type 1 diabetes, the body attacks its own insulin-producing cells. Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München, partner in the German Center for Diabetes Research, and their colleagues at Technical University of Munich have now reported in the journal ‘PNAS’ about a mechanism used by the immune system to prepare for this attack. They were able to inhibit this process through targeted intervention and are now hoping this will lead to new possibilities for treatment.

  • In Search of Ultraphosphates in Living Organisms

    Graphic: Henning Jessen

    Volkswagen Foundation grants researchers at the Universities of Freiburg and Lausanne a total of 100,000 euros in funding. The chemist Prof. Dr. Henning Jessen from the University of Freiburg’s Institute of Organic Chemistry and Prof. Dr. Andreas Mayer from the University of Lausanne’s Department of Biochemistry are conducting a joint research project to study whether ultraphosphates are present in living organisms. The various forms of phosphates are essential for all life functions, but the group of ultraphosphates has not yet been detected in living organisms. As these compounds are supposedly unstable and break down rapidly, the scientists suspect that they may have been overlooked so far.

  • Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection

    Under the influence of interferons, chronic viral infections cause strong inflammation. This causes the B cells to initiate an inadequate immune response. Department of Biomedicine, University of Basel

    Scientists at the University of Basel discovered a fundamental new mechanism explaining the inadequate immune defense against chronic viral infection. These results may open up new avenues for vaccine development. They have been published in the journal “Science Immunology”.

  • Kalkalgen: Baumeister der Nanowelt

    Kalkalgen Baumeister der Nanowelt picture1 | Die Kalkalge Pleurochrysis carterae Aufnahme: André Scheffel u. Damien Faivre / MPI für molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie

    Kalkalgen, Muscheln, aber auch Seeigel und Seesterne sind Baumeister der Nanowelt: Nur mit Kalk, Proteinen und Zuckern erschaffen sie präzise geformten Strukturen. Wissenschaftler der Potsdamer Max-Planck-Institute für molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie und für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung haben nun einen entscheidenden Mechanismus entdeckt, wie eine Kalkalge die filigranen Konstruktionen erzeugt. Die Erkenntnisse könnten auch für andere Produkte der Biomineralisation etwa in Knochen oder Zähnen relevant sein, und sie könnten sich sogar technisch nutzen lassen.