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Here’s how the prion protein protects us

The cellular prion protein (PrPC) has the ability to protect the brain’s neurons. Although scientists have known about this protective physiological function for some time, they were lacking detailed knowledge of the molecular mechanism underlying it. This gap has been filled by a new SISSA study published in Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, the leading journal dedicated to the understanding of redox principles governing health and disease.

Faces that distract from actions

The sudden appearance of a face within our visual field can affect the motor action accompanying a gesture even if the face is totally unrelated to what we are doing and even if we try to ignore it. At one condition, though: the face must display an emotionally significant expression. A study conducted by scientists of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste, and just published in Psychonomic Bullettin & Review, describes the phenomenon in detail.

Eleven maps for eleven rooms

The hippocampus – a structure in the brain – contains the representation of the environment we move in. But how many maps is it able to store without confusing one place with another? Quite a few, more than had been observed until now. That is the main finding of a study just published in PNAS and carried out by a research team led by May-Britt and Edvard Moser, scientists who were recently awarded the Nobel Prize. SISSA was also involved in the study.

Linguaccecongliocchialidasole

2 dicembre, 18.30

SISSA, Aula Magna “P. Budinich”

Via Bonomea 265, Trieste

 

Terzo appuntamento con Il Centro Universitario Teatrale di Trieste (CUT) negli spazi della SISSA. Questa volta siete tutti invitati al cabaret “Linguaccecongliocchialidasole” uno spettacolo di “folli avventure ed evidenti allusioni al contemporaneo”. Lo spettacolo si terrà nell’Aula Magna “P. Budinich” della Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati SISSA di Trieste, il 2 dicembre a partire dalle 18.30.

Characteristics of a universal simulator

According to many scientists, quantum computers will have great importance in the future but, despite all efforts, research in this field is still in its infancy. One of the difficulties is understanding what criteria a quantum system should meet to be able to solve problems that are impossible for conventional computers. An international research team headed by SISSA has just published a study that establishes a basic characteristic that universal quantum simulators should possess.

Weight and eating habits in Parkinson

A review of the scientific literature on Parkinson’s disease, conducted by SISSA research scientists, shows that even the non-motor symptoms associated with the disease can contribute to the changes in body weight seen in patients (including those subjected to deep brain stimulation). Among the factors affecting eating habits and body weight there could be, for example, an impaired ability to derive pleasure from food and changes in motivation.

SISSA per i piccoli

In occasione della settimana dei diritti dell’infanzia, nello spirito dell’iniziativa “Nati per leggere”, due ricercatori e il Direttore della SISSA leggeranno delle fiabe ai bambini dell’asilo nido della Scuola. Un’occasione riunire le persone che lavorano alla SISSA con i loro bambini in un evento festoso e per ribadire l’importanza della lettura fin dalla più tenera età.

The body’s emotions

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that causes numerous symptoms. Among them are also several difficulties affecting the emotional domain and a deficit in perceiving other people’s emotions based on their facial expressions. Now a new study carried out with the collaboration of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste shows that also the ability to recognize emotions by reading body posture is impaired in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Actions versus objects

According to many scientists the fact that ALS patients experience (in addition to severe motor deficits) greater linguistic difficulty with verbs denoting action compared to nouns denoting objects depends on their motor deficit. The idea is that the motor system plays a role in the semantic encoding of these words. A new study conducted with the participation of SISSA has tested this hypothesis and suggests a major role for the “executive function”.

Il cuore della scienza

La senatrice a vita e scienziata Elena Cattaneo organizza una giornata per raccontare le storie positive degli scienziati rientrati nel nostro Paese. Fra gli interventi previsti presso il palazzo Giustiniani il 10 novembre a Roma c’è quello di Stefano Gustincich, professore della SISSA. L’evento è promosso dalla Armenise Harvard Foundation, l’organizzazione impegnata nel sostenere la ricerca di promettenti giovani scienziati che decidono di tornare o venire in Italia, contribuendo alla creazione di nuove aree di ricerca nel settore della biomedicina nel nostro Paese.

The geometry of RNA

To understand the function of an RNA molecule, similar to the better-known DNA and vital for cell metabolism, we need to know its three-dimensional structure. Unfortunately, establishing the shape of an RNA strand is anything but easy and often requires a combination of experimental techniques and computer-based simulations. Many computing methods are used but these are often complex and slow, and vary depending on the problem at hand.

EU-Russia: “Year of Science”

Russian and European scientists will gather in Trieste for a conference that will address ways to strengthen the “strategic partnership” between the European Union and Russia in the fields of basic and applied science and technological transfer, acknowledged at all levels as being the “prime driver” of economic and social development. The event is part of “2014, Year of Science” announced during the 2012 EU-Russia summit, and provides an forum for exchange that will lead to major research projects.

Avicenna’s lesson

6 November, 6.00 pm

Caffè Tommaseo

Piazza Nicolò Tommaseo, 4c, Trieste

“Possible Worlds and Will in Avicenna” is the title of the first meeting of the cycle “Science, literature and civic engagement” organized by the Interdisciplinary Laboratory of SISSA. Once a month, writers, scientists and scholars will meet the public to discuss different themes. The first appointment is with Sari Nusseibeh, professor of philosophy at Al Quds University in Jerusalem, who will talk about Avicenna, Persian scientist and among the greatest thinkers of all times.

How many “lives” on other planets?

5 November, 6.30 pm

Miela Theatre

Piazza Duca degli Abruzzi, 3, Trieste

The meeting “How many ‘lives’ on other planets? One, none or a hundred thousand”, a public event within the “EU-Russia Year of Science” conference, will explore what we know about the possibility of life in the Universe beyond our planet with the help of scientists. The round table will be followed, at 8.30 pm, by a screening of “District 9”, a visionary film set in a dystopian future where humans and aliens live together.

“Marat Sade”, the play, comes to SISSA

28 October, 6.30 pm

SISSA, “P. Budinich” Main Lecture Hall

Via Bonomea 265, Trieste

Second appointment with the Trieste University Theatre Centre (CUT) at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste. Following the success of the “Merry Wives of Windsor”, now it’s the turn of “Marat Sade”, a play loosely based on the text by Peter Weiss “The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade”. Admission is free and open to the public.