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Viral puzzles

The genome of viruses is usually enclosed inside a shell called capsid. Capsids have unique mechanic properties: they have to be resistant and at the same time capable of dissolving in order to release the genome into the infected cell.

The scientists of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste have coordinated a study on the mechanic properties of viruses that have improved their understanding, so much that they were able to make conjectures on the behavior of still little-known viruses

Peter Higgs: a well deserved Nobel prize

The Nobel prize in the field of Physics was awarded to Peter Higgs and François Englert, the physicists who theorized the existence of the well-known Boson, the particle whose field gives mass to some fundamental particles across the Universe. The International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) at Trieste, who only a few weeks ago bestowed Higgs the PhD honoris causa in Theoretical Particle Physics, expresses great satisfaction for this important reward.

SISSA Welcome Day: focussing on students

November 20th 2013 

From 9.30 AM onwards

SISSA, Main Lecture Hall

Once again this year, Sissa hosted the traditional Welcome Day to welcome new students and publicly present its activities. The event provided an opportunity to make an assessment of the past year's work, to award a number of students and staff members for their achievements and to introduce the latest projects, like this year's Sissa Carpooling. 

Farewell to the father of Trieste City of Science

Paolo Budinich, founder of SISSA and creator of the "Trieste System", which made the city a centre of excellence in the international science scene as well as an important beacon for science education in developing countries, died on November 14, 2013. SISSA, the International School for Advanced Studies pays tribute to this great man, who will also be celebrated on the occasion of the Welcome Day, the annual public event to welcome new students, which will be held on November 20.

Tidy knots are faster

The key pathway by which viruses "attack" consists in releasing viral DNA into the infected cell, taking over the host cell's transcription mechanisms and using them to reproduce itself.

In order to fight or exploit to our benefit the action of viruses, scientists are trying to understand this process in detail. A group of researchers – one of whom from SISSA – has studied the timescale of DNA "ejection" (how long it takes and what is the precise sequence of events), and found that it depends on the degree and manner of entanglement of the double strand of DNA inside the virus.