February 25, 2019

Memories of movement are replayed randomly during sleep

After exploring an open environment, neurons fire in places the rat has explored, but following random trajectories. Credit: Federico Stella   Sleep is far from an inactive time for the brain: while rats (and humans) are asleep, neurons in the hippocampus...

February 14, 2019

In zebrafish eggs, most rapidly growing cell inhibits its neighbours through mechanical signals

During zebrafish oogenesis, specification of a single precursor cell fate in the granulosa cell layer is mediated by lateral inhibition driven by mechanical forces, which leads to nuclear exclusion of transcriptional activator TAZ in neighbouring cells. The image of "Kung fu"...

February 11, 2019

Famous “sandpile model” shown to move like a traveling sand dune

The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized criticality, which appears in a plethora of real-life situations such as the coordinated firing of brain cells, the...

February  1, 2019

Cells find their identity using a mathematically optimal strategy

An artistic depiction of gene regulatory machinery on the DNA that reads out gap gene concentration signals optimally to establish the precise seven-stripped patterns of pair rule gene expression in the fruit fly embryo. (c) Mariela Petkova. Our bodies...

December 21, 2018

Description of rotating molecules made easy

Feynman diagrams are a powerful tool in condensed matter physics. By turning highly complex equations into sets of simple diagrams, the method has established itself as one of the sharpest tools in a theoretical physicist’s toolbox. Giacomo Bighin, a postdoc...

December 19, 2018

OECD report praises achievements of IST Austria

In the nine years since its campus opened in Klosterneuburg, the Institute of Science and Technology (IST Austria) has established itself as an international center for excellent basic research. This is now also acknowledged by the OECD in its latest...

December 19, 2018

Austrian-Czech project provides open access to research infrastructure

Initiated in 2016, the project RIAT-CZ creates synergies between research infrastructures in the border region between Austria and the Czech Republic. Funded by the joint program Interreg V-A Austria – Czech Republic 2014–2020, it stimulates innovation by fostering exchange and...

December 17, 2018

When a fish becomes fluid

Cells lose contacts between each other during fluidization. Cells remain in tight contact when fluidization is impaired. (red/green – cell membrane, blue – nucleus, cyan – interstitial fluid between cells) © Nicoletta Petridou Zebrafish aren’t just surrounded by liquid,...

December  4, 2018

Plant cells inherit knowledge of where’s up and where’s down from mother cell

PIN2 is only found in the upper end of each cell and marks polarity (magenta). © Matouš Glanc Knowing which way is up and which way is down is important for all living beings. For plants, which grow roots...

November 28, 2018

Reading rats’ minds

Place cells in the hippocampus fire when we are in a certain position – this discovery by John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser brought them the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2014. Based on which place cell fires, scientists can...

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