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Astronomy / Space Science - Life Sciences - 04.09.2019
Searching for the Origin of Life across the Universe
Searching for the Origin of Life across the Universe
Researchers from European countries discuss life in the Universe at the University of Vienna Astrobiology is a young, rapidly developing branch of science that seeks to address the question of whether life exists, or has existed, elsewhere in the Universe. It is by nature an interdisciplinary science that explores the origins of life, the conditions, and processes that support or challenge life, the influence of different environmental conditions on preservation and detection of biosignatures of past and present life.

Life Sciences - 21.08.2019
Cranial deformation as an indicator for cultural membership
Cranial deformation as an indicator for cultural membership
Scientists study individuals who lived during the Migration Period Led by Ron Pinhasi from the University of Vienna, Austria and Mario Novak from the Institute for Anthropological Research in Zagreb, Croatia the study combines bioarchaeological isotopic and ancient DNA methods to analyze the dietary patterns, sex, and genetic affinities of three Migration Period (5th century CE) individuals who were recovered from a pit in the city of Osijek in eastern Croatia.

Life Sciences - 05.08.2019
Symphony of genes
Symphony of genes
One of the most exciting discoveries in genome research was that the last common ancestor of all multicellular animals - which lived about 600 million years ago - already possessed an extremely complex genome. Many of the ancestral genes can still be found in modern day species (e.g., human). However, it has long been unclear whether the arrangement of these genes in the genome also had a certain function.

Life Sciences - 11.07.2019
Scientists gain new insights into the mechanisms of cell division
Scientists gain new insights into the mechanisms of cell division
Mitosis is the process by which the genetic information encoded on chromosomes is equally distributed to two daughter cells, a fundamental feature of all life on earth. Scientists led by Alexander Dammermann at the Max Perutz Labs, a joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, now examine how centrioles contribute to this process.

Life Sciences - Physics - 09.07.2019
Tungsten as interstellar radiation shielding?
Tungsten as interstellar radiation shielding?
Metallophilic microorganisms could benefit from the heavy metal in harsh survival conditions A boiling point of 5900 degrees Celsius and diamond-like hardness in combination with carbon: tungsten is the heaviest metal, yet has biological functions - especially in heat-loving microorganisms. A team led by Tetyana Milojevic from the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna report for the first time rare microbial-tungsten interactions at the nanometer range.

Health - Life Sciences - 18.06.2019
Antidepressants can reduce the empathic empathy
Antidepressants can reduce the empathic empathy
Antidepressant treatment, not only depression per se, can lead to reductions in behavioral and neural responses to pain empathy Depression is a disorder that often comes along with strong impairments of social functioning. Until recently, researchers assumed that acute episodes of depression also impair empathy, an essential skill for successful social interactions and understanding others.

Psychology - Life Sciences - 20.05.2019
Empathic birds
Empathic birds
Raven observers show emotional contagion with raven demonstrators experiencing an unpleasant affect To effectively navigate the social world, we need information about each other's emotions. Emotional contagion has been suggested to facilitate such information transmission, constituting a basic building block of empathy that could also be present in non-human animals.

Health - Life Sciences - 14.05.2019
Symbionts as lifesavers
Symbionts as lifesavers
Researchers discover new factor influencing the spread of Legionella When people fall ill from bacterial infection, the first priority is to treat the disease. But where do these pathogens come from and how do they thrive in the environment before the infection occurs' An international team led by Matthias Horn from the Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science at the University of Vienna has tackled this question using an important bacterial pathogen that causes lung disease.

Life Sciences - 01.04.2019
The evolution of bird-of-paradise sex chromosomes revealed
The evolution of bird-of-paradise sex chromosomes revealed
Birds-of-paradise are a group of songbird species, and are known for their magnificent male plumage and bewildering sexual display. Now, an international collaborative work involving Dept. of Molecular Evolution and Development of University of Vienna, Zhejiang University of China, and Swedish Museum of Natural History analyzed all together 11 songbird species genomes, including those of five bird-of-paradise species, and reconstructed the evolutionary history of their sex chromosomes.

Life Sciences - Environment - 12.02.2019
To tool or not to tool?
To tool or not to tool?
Orangutans make complex economic decisions about tool use depending on the current 'market' situation Flexible tool use is closely associated to higher mental processes such as the ability to plan actions. Now a group of cognitive biologists and comparative psychologists from the University of Vienna, the University of St Andrews and the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna that included Isabelle Laumer and Josep Call, has studied tool related decision-making in a non-human primate species - the orangutan.

Life Sciences - Health - 04.02.2019
Where does this contamination come from?
Where does this contamination come from?
When bodies of water become polluted, it is important to find the cause as quickly and as economically as possible. To this end, TU Wien has now developed a new, DNA-based rapid testing procedure. Water contamination is one of the world's major health risks. In order to swiftly resolve the problem in the event of faecal contamination, it is vital that the cause is identified as quickly as possible: is it contamination from agriculture?

Environment - Life Sciences - 23.01.2019
The impacts of invasive species are often difficult to predict
The impacts of invasive species are often difficult to predict
Researchers develop approach to protect biodiversity New Zealand and other islands have experienced invasions of rats, Europe has seen the arrival of the spinycheek crayfish, spreading a deadly disease called crayfish plague: invasive species can put native animal and plant species on the brink of extinction.

Life Sciences - 19.12.2018
Marmoset monkeys expect the melody's closing tone
Marmoset monkeys expect the melody’s closing tone
In speech and music, words and notes depend on each other. Humans are highly sensitive to such dependencies, but the evolutionary origins of this capacity are poorly understood. Cognitive biologists at the University of Vienna conducted playback experiments with common marmoset monkeys and found that sensitivity to dependencies might have been present in the shared ancestor of marmosets and humans.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 19.11.2018
Transparent Fruit Flies
Transparent Fruit Flies
Advances in cellular microscopy: at TU Wien (Vienna), flies were made transparent, so that individual nerve cells, marked with fluorescent molecules, can be examined directly in the animal. The nervous system of an animal can be studied by cutting it up into thin layers - however this inevitably leads to the destruction of the cellular structures in the tissue.

Life Sciences - Health - 12.11.2018
A Chip with Blood Vessels
A Chip with Blood Vessels
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way. Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more difficult task.

Life Sciences - 08.11.2018
Re-inventing the hook
Re-inventing the hook
Orangutans spontaneously bend straight wires into hooks to fish for food The bending of a hook into wire to fish for the handle of a basket is surprisingly challenging for young children under eight years of age. Now cognitive biologists and comparative psychologists from the University of Vienna, the University of St Andrews and the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna around Isabelle Laumer and Alice Auersperg studied hook tool making for the first time in a non-human primate species - the orangutan.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 06.11.2018
RNA Microchips
RNA Microchips
Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is, along with DNA and protein, one of the three primary biological macromolecules and was probably the first to arise in early life forms. In the "RNA world" hypothesis, RNA is able to support life on its own because it can both store information and catalyze biochemical reactions.

Health - Life Sciences - 24.09.2018
A new remedy for celiac disease
A new remedy for celiac disease
In an industrial collaboration project, TU Wien has developed a medication that can alleviate or even completely eliminate the symptoms of celiac disease. It should be available as early as 2021. Celiac disease is a fairly common disease, affecting one to two percent of the European population. It is expressed as a hypersensitivity to gluten, a protein found in cereals such as wheat, barley or rye.

Life Sciences - Environment - 28.08.2018
Remote islands harbour higher numbers of non-native species
Remote islands harbour higher numbers of non-native species
The effects of island remoteness from the mainland on the number of species found on islands differs strongly for non-native compared to native species. Numbers of native species on islands decrease with greater remoteness, while numbers of non-native species increase. This surprising finding has been uncovered by an international research team led by Dietmar Moser, Bernd Lenzner and Franz Essl from the Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research of the University of Vienna.

Health - Life Sciences - 13.08.2018
Artificial placenta created in the laboratory
Artificial placenta created in the laboratory
In order to better understand important biological membranes, it is necessary to explore new methods. Researchers at TU Wien (Vienna) have succeeded in creating an artificial placental barrier on a chip, using a high-resolution 3D printing process. The placenta has an essential and highly complex task: it must ensure the exchange of important substances between the mother and her unborn child, whilst simultaneously blocking other substances from passing through.
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