The silver spinyfin (Diretmus argenteus) is the vertebrate with the highest number of opsin genes. Alexandra Viertler, University of Basel

The deep sea is home to fish species that can detect various wavelengths of light in near-total darkness. Unlike other vertebrates, they have several genes for the light-sensitive photopigment rhodopsin, which likely enables these fish to detect bioluminescent signals from light-emitting organs. The findings were published in the journal Science by an international team of researchers led by evolutionary biologists from the University of Basel.

Confocal image of the embryonic mouse cortex. Green: stem cells; red: intermediate progenitor stage; white: final neurons; blue: nuclei of all cells. IST Austria/Hippenmeyer Group

During brain development, stem cells generate neurons of different type and function at distinct points in time. IST Austria researchers contribute key experiment to identify essential protein controlling stem cell behavior. To build the neocortex, a brain area involved in higher cognitive functions, stem cells produce billions of neurons of various types. In a Science study, neuroscientists from Switzerland, Belgium, and the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have now shown that, over time, the neocortical stem cells go through various maturation states, each of them leading to a distinct neuron type. Production of the correct neuron type is bound to a specific protein complex.

A root tip consists of constantly dividing cells of specific types which originate from a few stem cells in the stem cell niche located in the very tip of the root (white cells). IST Austria/Lukas Hörmayer

Already specified root cells are reprogrammed to correctly replace dead neighbor cells in newly discovered process of “restorative patterning” | Study published in Cell

If plants are injured, cells adjacent to the wound fill the gaps with their daughter cells. However, which cells divide to do the healing and how they manage to produce cells that match the cell type of the missing tissue has been unclear. Scientists from the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have now shown that to correctly replace dead cells, neighbors to the inside of the wound re-activate their stem cell programs.

Photoradiolabelling Using UV light, radiolabelled antibodies can be produced in just 15 minutes. Jason P. Holland, UZH

Radioactive antibodies that target cancer cells are used for medical diagnostics with PET imaging or for targeted radioimmunotherapy. Researchers from the University of Zurich have created a new method for radiolabelling antibodies using UV light. In less than 15 minutes, the proteins are ready-to-use for cancer imaging or therapy. Radioactive antibodies are used in nuclear medicine as imaging agents for positron emission tomography (PET) – an imaging technique that improves cancer diagnosis and monitoring of chemotherapy. Radioactive drugs can also be designed to kill tumors by delivering a radioactive payload specifically to the cancer cells. This treatment is called targeted radioimmunotherapy.