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Modelling the helicase to understand hepatitis

NS3 is an enzyme specific to the hepatitis C virus. If developed, a drug capable of recognizing and selectively attacking it could fight the disease without side effects for the body. However, to be able to develop one we need to know more about the behaviour of this important protein in the virus replication process. Until now, we have only had some “still images” – obtained with crystallography techniques – of the interaction between the protein and the RNA, which makes the viral genome.

Pochi giorni ancora per iscriversi

Ancora pochi giorni (fino al 29 settembre) per iscriversi alle selezioni per il nuovo biennio dello storico Master in Comunicazione della Scienza “Franco Prattico” della SISSA di Trieste. Stanno per scadere anche i termini per l’iscrizione (12 ottobre) alla “Scuola in comunicazione del rischio per la salute e per l’ambiente” della SISSA. È il momento di affrettarsi.

The Multiferroic Sandwich

Two properties are particularly sought after in materials for technology (for a variety of devices from sensors to computer memory, etc.): magnetism and ferroelectricity. Obtaining materials with both qualities is highly desirable. At the present time, these properties have shown to be almost entirely mutually exclusive, but a new study conducted by SISSA/Northwestern University introduces an innovative method which may soon become reality.  

Reading emotions in a second language

If we read about someone who is smiling and happy, without realizing it, we smile as well, and a similar reaction also occurs for the other emotions. If, however, the text is not in our mother tongue but in a second language, then our mind and body react in a blander manner. This effect, according to Francesco Foroni, the author of a new study that observed the phenomenon for the first time, may depend on the different way we learn our mother tongue and a second language. 

Cosmological “Lost” Lithium

In old stars there is too little Lithium – 7, a primordial isotope which was created along with the universe in the first 3 minutes, and scientists do not know why. There has even been some question of whether it was a problem of the big bang theory, the theoretical framework that explains much of what we know about our Universe. A team led by SISSA (in collaboration with INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Trieste, and The University of Padua) revisited this “lithium problem”.

Protein meccano

Even fragmentary information can be used to understand which mechanical subunits make up a protein and how these move in relation to one another, with a view to establishing how the molecule carries out its functions. To this end, a SISSA research group (in collaboration with Temple University in Philadelphia) has developed a new method for the computerized analysis of the internal dynamics of molecules, demonstrating its efficiency and versatility. The study has been chosen as the cover story of the journal Structure.