On February 25 the local selection of FameLab will be back on stage in Trieste! The international competition challenges young scientists with the talent of communication to tell in just 3 minutes the object of his or her study, or a fascinating scientific topic. No slide shows, graphs, videos: only a fistful of words and a talent for communication are required, to spread to the public the charm and the importance of the scientific research, in a a way that is amusing and easy to grasp.
The polarization vector of cosmic background radiation could rotate during the course of its journey towards us, and if it did, it could also cause trouble for the Standard Model for electromagnetic interactions. To understand if this rotation is taking place, we need an “eye” that can see great distances, like POLARBEAR, an instrument located in Chile at the top of the Andes.
We learn many things through imitation: how to walk, play an instument, sports, and even more. What are the processes in the brain responsible for imitation? For some years now, science has been examining the role of mirror neurons, but there is still much to understand. One study focusing on neurological patients showed that at least two components are involved in imitating gestures, each from a different hemisphere of the brain. The study, which SISSA participated in, was published in Neuropsychologia.
What is the mechanism of action of metal-based chemotherapy drugs (the most widely used for treating common cancers like testicular or ovarian cancer)? How can we improve their effect and reduce their toxicity? A new study combining experiments and theory has broadened our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of these active drugs to help experimentalists devising increasingly effective drugs with fewer side effects. The study, just published in the journal ChemMedChem, was conducted with the participation of International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste.
At times, to understand something well, it is useful to rebuild it from scratch. It happens with prions as well: in collaboration with the BESTA Institute in Milan, the Laboratory of Prion Biology at SISSA in Trieste assembled artificial prions, devising a method for synthesizing them in a series. Lab tests showed that synthetic prions act like their biological counterparts. Results will be published on December 31 in one of the most respected journals in the industry, Plos Pathogens.
The December issue of the journal Current Opinion in Neurobiology reviews current knowledge about brain plasticity, in its broadest sense, starting from the infinitely small (plasticity at the molecular level, in synapses) up to the macro level (the plasticity observable in human behaviour). Alessandro Treves (SISSA) and Thomas Mrsic-Flogel (University of Basel) have edited this issue involving some of the leading international experts in the field.
Catalysts play a major role in the field of technology applied to renewable energy. A new study, just published in Nature Materials, provides a detailed account of how to control the electron charge of nanoparticles of platinum, an important catalyst in fuel cells, to maximize the efficiency of the process. The study is the result of an intense international collaboration involving SISSA and CNR-IOM of Trieste, the University of Barcelona, ELETTRA Sincrotrone Trieste, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany and Univerzita Karlova of Prague.
9 dicembre 2015, 14.00
SISSA, Aula Magna “P. Budinich”
Il 9 dicembre alle 14.00, presso l’Aula Magna della SISSA, avranno luogo le premiazioni della seconda edizione del concorso fotografico “De Rerum Natura” promosso dal Laboratorio Interdisciplinare della SISSA. Nella stessa occasione ci sarà anche un intervento di Massimo Inguscio, direttore dell’Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRIM) di Torino, dal titolo Light, Atoms and Time. La partecipazione all’evento è gratuita e aperta a tutti. L’intervento di Inguscio si terrà in inglese.
Childhood and adolescence are ages of constant change and crucial experiences. At times the emotional weight can be difficult to manage and may lead to psychological issues in adulthood. Neurofeedback is a method that helps individuals to keep their brain activity (for example a response to an emotional event) under control. While routinely used on adults, a new study published in NeuroImage demonstrates that the technique shows promise for young people as well.