Researchers recommend population-wide screening for detecting mutation carriers — ScienceDaily

Tel Aviv University researchers suggest that carriers of the genetic mutations PiZ and PiS are at high risk for severe illness and even death from COVID-19. These mutations lead to deficiency in the alpha1-antitrypsin protein, which protects lung tissues from damage in case of severe infections. Other studies have already associated deficiency in this protein with inflammatory damage to lung function in other diseases.

The study was led by Prof. David Gurwitz, Prof. Noam Shomron, and MSc candidate Guy Shapira of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, and published in The FASEB Journal on September 22, 2020.

The researchers analyzed data from 67 countries on all continents. Comparisons revealed a highly significant positive correlation between the prevalence of the two mutations in the population and COVID-19 mortality rates (adjusted to size of the population) in many countries, such as the USA, the UK, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and more.

Consequently, the researchers

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Researchers concerned about prey and predator species in post-fire logging areas

UBCO researchers concerned about prey and predator species in post-fire logging areas
UBCO researchers say post-fire salvage logging destroys removes important regenerating habitat for a variety of species including the snowshoe hare. Credit: Angelina Kelly.

New research from UBC Okanagan shows that salvage logging on land damaged by wildfires has negative impacts on a variety of animals.


While post-fire salvage logging is used to mitigate economic losses following wildfire, Karen Hodges, a biology professor in the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science, says the compounded effects of wildfire and post-fire salvage logging are more severe than what wildlife experience from fire alone.

Wildfires have been increasing in prevalence and severity in recent decades, Hodges says, and salvaging trees after a fire is a common practice. However, the scale and intensity of post-fire logging removes important regenerating habitat for a variety of forest species.

“When trees are removed from a newly burned landscape, birds and mammals lose the last remnants of habitat,” she

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Researchers used miniature microscopes to conduct first-ever study of astrocyte calcium activity in sleep in freely behaving animals — ScienceDaily

A new study published today in the journal Current Biology suggests that star-shaped brain cells known as astrocytes could be as important to the regulation of sleep as neurons, the brain’s nerve cells.

Led by researchers at Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, the study builds new momentum toward ultimately solving the mystery of why we sleep and how sleep works in the brain. The discovery may also set the stage for potential future treatment strategies for sleep disorders and neurological diseases and other conditions associated with troubled sleep, such as PTSD, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism spectrum disorder.

“What we know about sleep has been based largely on neurons,” said lead author and postdoctoral research associate Ashley Ingiosi. Neurons, she explained, communicate through electrical signals that can be readily captured through electroencephalography (EEG). Astrocytes — a type of glial (or “glue”) cell that interacts with neurons

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These 7 Bug-Themed Science Projects Let Researchers Study What’s in Your Backyard

Citizen Science Salon is a partnership between Discover and SciStarter.org.


You can call them “insects, spiders and their relatives,” or you can call them “bugs” and incur the wrath of those who point out that the only true bugs are hemipteran insects like stinkbugs and cicadas. No matter what you call them, they’re fascinating and critically important. And you can help scientists who study bugs by volunteering with these citizen science projects.


caterpillars count

A spurge hawkmoth seen in Switzerland. (Credit: Daniel Schwen/Wikimedia Commons)

Caterpillars Count!

Help tally these moth and butterfly babies as they gorge on greenery this fall, gaining the strength to spin their cocoons and chrysalides. Your data will help the scientists at Caterpillars Count! understand how the abundance of these bugs varies from rural countrysides to major urban areas, and from coast to coast.


never-home-alone

(Credit: Matt Bertone/Never Home Alone)

Never Home Alone

You may never feel lonely again

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Researchers develop a human skin mimic to study mosquito biting in high resolution without using humans as ‘bait’ — ScienceDaily

Scientists have developed a tool for studying the biting behaviour of common pathogen-carrying mosquitoes, according to new research published this week in eLife.

The tool, which uses an artificial blood meal and a surface that mimics human skin, will provide detailed understanding of blood feeding without using human subjects as bait. It can also fit conveniently into a backpack, allowing the study of mosquitoes in laboratory and natural environments.

Blood feeding is essential for mosquitoes to reproduce, but it is during blood feeds on human hosts that they pass on pathogens such as malaria.

“Although the initial step in obtaining a blood meal — flying towards a host — is relatively well characterised, the steps that unfold after a mosquito has landed on a host are less well understood,” explains first author Felix Hol, a researcher at Institut Pasteur and the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity, Paris, France. “There

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Researchers find new way to protect plants from fungal infection — ScienceDaily

Widespread fungal disease in plants can be controlled with a commercially available chemical that has been primarily used in medicine until now. This discovery was made by scientists from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the University of the State of ParanĂ¡ in Brazil. In a comprehensive experiment the team has uncovered a new metabolic pathway that can be disrupted with this chemical, thus preventing many known plant fungi from invading the host plant. The team reported on their study in the scientific journal Phytopathology.

The fungus Colletotrichum graminicola is prevalent around the world. It infects maize, causing anthracnose, a disease that causes the plant’s leaves to turn yellow at first and then ultimately to succumb to toxins. The fungus multiplies through spores that initially land on the surface of the plant. There they find rather inhospitable conditions: a lack of most of the nutrients that fungi need to

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SMART researchers receive Intra-CREATE grant for personalized medicine and cell therapy

Singapore, 22 September 2020 – Researchers from Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-Medicine (CAMP), an interdisciplinary research group at Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT’s research enterprise in Singapore, have been awarded Intra-CREATE grants from the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore to help support research on retinal biometrics for glaucoma progression and neural cell implantation therapy for spinal cord injuries. The grants are part of the NRF’s initiative to bring together researchers from Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise (CREATE) partner institutions, in order to achieve greater impact from collaborative research efforts.

SMART CAMP was formed in 2019 to focus on ways to produce living cells as medicine delivered to humans to treat a range of illnesses and medical conditions, including tissue degenerative diseases, cancer, and autoimmune disorders.

“Singapore’s well-established biopharmaceutical ecosystem brings with it a thriving research ecosystem that is supported by skilled talents and strong manufacturing

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Johnson & Johnson Seeks Female Researchers Working in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Sept. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Johnson & Johnson today announced that it is accepting applications for its 2021 Women in STEM2D (WiSTEM2D) Scholars Award, aimed at supporting assistant or associate academic professors in the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design. For three years, each recipient will receive mentorship from leaders at Johnson & Johnson and a total $150,000 ($50,000 each year). The deadline for applications is Oct. 15, 2020 at 9 a.m. HST, and guidelines and additional details are available here: https://www.jnj.com/wistem2d-university-scholars.

Launched in June 2017, the Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D Scholars Award aspires to fuel development of female STEM2D leaders, and inspire career paths in STEM2D, by supporting the research of the awarded women in their respective STEM2D fields.

Dr. Naama Geva-Zatorsky, one of the 2019 winners of the Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D Scholars Award, along with her team of researchers at

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