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The protein that assesses distances

A protein of the ISWI family (Imitation Switch, or nucleosome remodelling motors) is endowed with a special property: despite having no organ of sense it is nonetheless able to assess the length of DNA strands. A study just published in the Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment and carried out by SISSA, the MAX Planck Institute and the NIH has discovered how it works.

Selection Begins for MHPC 2016

Registration is  officially open for the 2016/2017 edition of the SISSA/ICTP Master in High Performance Computing. Applications can be completed online until July 6, 2016 at Now in its third edition, this exclusive Master’s program selects 15 high-profile participants from a large pool of applicants. Experts from academia and leading international companies prepare students for the high-performance world of computing (HPC).

Words, more words… and statistics

Picking out single words in a flow of speech is no easy task and, according to linguists, to succeed in doing it the brain might use statistical methods. A group of SISSA scientists has applied a statistics-based method for word segmentation and measured its efficacy on natural language, in 9 different languages, to discover that linguistic rhythm plays an important role. The study has just been published in the Journal of Developmental Science.

Aperte le iscrizioni a MCS

Come ogni anno si aprono le iscrizioni per le selezioni al Master in Comunicazione della Scienza “Franco Prattico” (MCS) della SISSA di Trieste, valide per l’accesso al biennio 2016-2018. La scuola si conferma la migliore in Italia in questo campo, oltre che quella di più lunga tradizione, con dati occupazionali sempre molto positivi e un’offerta formativa di massima qualità. Le iscrizioni alle selezioni per il biennio resteranno aperte fino al 27 settembre 2016, alle 12.00.

Emotions in the age of Botox

Botulin injections in the facial muscles, which relax expression lines and make one’s skin appear younger as a result of a mild paralysis, have another, not easily predictable effect: they undermine the ability to understand the facial expressions of other people. This consequence, as SISSA scientists explain in a new research study, depends on a temporary block of proprioceptive  feedback, a process that helps us understand other people’s emotions by reproducing them on our own bodies.

Gene therapy against brain cancer

A team from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste has obtained very promising results by applying gene therapy to glioblastoma. Tests in vitro and in vivo on mice provided very clear-cut results, and modelling demonstrates that the treatment targets at least six different points of tumour metabolism. Gene therapy, a technique that selectively attacks a tumour, might provide hope in the fight against this type of deadly cancer, for which surgery is practically impossible and chemo- and radiotherapy are ineffective against very aggressive recurrences.

Graphene Flakes to Calm Synapses

Innovative graphene technology to buffer the activity of synapses-- this is the idea behind a recently-published study in the journal ACS Nano coordinated by the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste (SISSA)  and the University of Trieste. In particular, the study showed how effective graphene oxide flakes are at interfering with excitatory synapses, an effect that could prove useful in new treatments for diseases like epilepsy.

Harsh Out of Necessity

Multiple sclerosis (MS) can have a strong impact on the life of patients. Not only must they address the unpleasant symptoms, they are also subject to unpredictable relapses after more or less long periods of remission (which are irregular in duration), a condition that can cause anxiety and stress.

Where space-time becomes discrete

In quantum gravity, classical physics and quantum mechanics are at odds: scientists are still uncertain how to reconcile the quantum “granularity” of space-time at the Planck scale with the theory of special relativity. In their attempts to identify possible tests of the physics associated with this difficult union, the most commonly studied scenario is the one that implies violations of  “Lorentz invariance”, the principle underlying special relativity.

2+1 is Not Always 3

If a person pushes a broken-down car alone, there is a certain effect. If another person helps, the result is the sum of their efforts. If two micro-particles are pushing a third microparticle, however, the resulting effect may not necessarily be the sum their efforts. A recent study SISSA contributed to, published in Nature Communications, measured this odd effect that scientists call “many body.”  

La SISSA partecipa all’Internet Day 2016

Anche la Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) di Trieste propone due interventi nell’ambito dell’Internet Day 2016, l’evento organizzato da Insiel e dalla Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia. Alle 11 del 29 aprile è previsto un seminario per le scuole dedicato ai supercomputer (con Stefano Cozzini), mentre alle 14.30 Loriano Bonora parla di editoria scientifica con il pubblico della SISSA.

“Teacher” Coderdojo alla SISSA

Gli insegnati e gli educatori della provincia di Trieste che vogliono utilizzare il computer a scuola in modo creativo e innovativo hanno ora la possibilità di partecipare a Teacher Coderdojo, un corso organizzato dalla SISSA in collaborazione con la famosa iniziativa internazionale Coderdojo (in particolare Coderdojo Trieste), pensata dal MIT di Boston e che da anni insegna ai bambini a programmare in modo semplice e divertente. Il corso si terrà il 28 aprile, è gratuito e aperto a insegnati ed educatori di Trieste e provincia.

Simulations “sharpen” their tools

For several years now, numerical simulations have been recognised as an important method of scientific investigation in the field of the physics of materials (amongst others). With simulations, reality is reproduced, by means of computer calculations, to a necessary degree of approximation (which may produce errors) that experts refer to as “precision”. An article in Science, authored by a large group of scientists from 44 international institutions, marks the beginning of a major process of validation of algorithms and methods which, though different, converge on the same “problems”.

Paths and Spaces of Language

A “three-handed” project which has the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste collaborating with the University of Tel Aviv and the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris has been awarded a program grant by the Human Frontier Science Program for over a million dollars. The funding will be used to study “analogical processes” at the foundation of human language, a largely unexplored field. 

The brain in space

30th March 2016, 3.00 pm

SISSA, Main Lecture Hall

On Wednesday 30th, a conference about the brain will be held at SISSA: why do the various areas of the brain have their specific shapes, why are they found in specific locations, what is the role of connections? These are the questions that Henry Kennedy, neuroscientist at INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale) in Lyon, invited speaker at the next SISSA colloquium will attempt to answer. The event is free and open to the public, and will be held in English.