Environment Panama  PANAMÁ 07/04/2021

How the Chicxulub Impactor gave rise to modern rainforests

About 66 million years ago, a huge asteroid crashed into what is now the Yucatan, plunging the Earth into darkness. The impact transformed tropical rainforests, giving rise to the reign of flowers.

Tropical rainforests today are biodiversity hotspots and play an important role in the world’s climate systems. A new study published today in Science sheds light on the origins of modern rainforests and may help scientists understand how rainforests will respond to a rapidly changing climate in the future.

 

 
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Space Chile  ATACAMA 05/04/2021

Stellar eggs near galactic center hatching into baby stars

The observations prove that even in the strongly disturbed areas around the Galactic Center, baby stars still form, astronomers say

Astronomers found a number of baby stars hiding around the center of the Milky Way using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Previous studies had suggested that the environment there is too harsh to form stars because of the strong tidal forces, strong magnetic fields, high energy particles, and frequent supernova explosions. These findings indicate that star formation is more resilient than researchers thought. These observations suggest there is ubiquitous star formation activity hidden deep in dense molecular gas, which may allow for the possibility of a future burst of star formation around the Galactic Center.

 

 
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Technology Portugal  PORTUGAL 26/03/2021

Uncovering the “master switches” of biochemical networks can explain the effects of drugs in the destruction of cancer cells

Researchers developed a mathematical framework that increases the ability to explain and control biochemical systems, including those involved in disease

When applied to computational models of cancer cells, a recently developed methodology reveals why some medications are more effective than others in killing breast cancer cells. The work results from an international collaborative effort, involving researchers from Portugal and the United States, and allowed the development of a mathematical framework that increases the ability to explain and control biochemical systems, including those involved in disease. The study published and highlighted in the cover of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) introduces the effective graph framework that captures the redundancy present in biochemical networks, identifying the components needed to control the cell.

 

 
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Technology Portugal  LISBOA 25/03/2021

Shining light to make hydrogen

ITQB NOVA researchers engineer light-driven bacterial factories to produce hydrogen

Decarbonizing the economy and achieving the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies is one of the most urgent global challenges of the 21st century. Hydrogen can play a key role in this process as a promising climate-neutral energy vehicle. Yet, the so-called green hydrogen economy requires that hydrogen production be based exclusively on renewable energy. In addition, it should ideally not use expensive and rare metal catalysts, whose production has severe environmental consequences. To address this challenge, ITQB NOVA researchers Inês Cardoso Pereira and Mónica Martins are working on an innovative technology to produce hydrogen from light using non-photosynthetic microorganisms.

 
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Space Chile  ATACAMA 18/03/2021

Powerful stratospheric winds measured on Jupiter for the first time

This planet is famous for its distinctive red and white bands: swirling clouds of moving gas that astronomers traditionally use to track winds in Jupiter’s lower atmosphere

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a team of astronomers have directly measured winds in Jupiter’s middle atmosphere for the first time. By analyzing the aftermath of a comet collision from the 1990s, the researchers have revealed incredibly powerful winds, with speeds of up to 1450 kilometers an hour, near Jupiter’s poles. They could represent what the team has described as a “unique meteorological beast in our Solar System.”

 
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Technology Spain  MADRID 17/03/2021

How to improve the measurement of the surface viscosity of filaments and membranes

Researchers at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) have published a scientific paper that lays the foundation for developing a more precise method of measuring

Researchers at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) have published a scientific paper that lays the foundation for developing a more precise method of measuring surface viscosity in liquid filaments and biological membranes with viscous surfaces. This development could be applied in the food, pharmaceutical or biomedical industries.

 
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Environment Venezuela  VENEZUELA 05/03/2021

Is odor the secret to bats' sex appeal?

Odors come from very different parts of bats' bodies, from their heads and mouths to their wings or genitalia

When falling in love, humans often pay attention to looks. Many non-human animals also choose a sexual partner based on appearance. Male birds may sport flashy feathers to attract females, lionesses prefer lions with thicker manes and colorful male guppies with large spots attract the most females. But bats are active in the dark. How do they attract mates? Mariana Muñoz-Romo, a senior Latin American postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and National Geographic explorer, pioneers research to understand the role of odors in bat mating behavior.

 

 
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Health Spain  VALLADOLID 03/03/2021

Hydrogel injection may change the way the heart muscle heals after a heart attack

The regeneration of cardiac tissue is minimal so that the damage caused cannot be repaired by itself

Researchers at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at National University of Ireland Galway, and BIOFORGE Lab, at the University of Valladolid in Spain, have developed an injectable hydrogel that could help repair and prevent further damage to the heart muscle after a heart attack.

 

 
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Environment Panama  PANAMÁ 02/03/2021

First DNA extracted from modern, ancient and fossil tropical shells

The next time you eat seafood, think about the long-term effects. Will consistently eating the biggest fish or the biggest conch, mean that only the smaller individuals will have a chance to reproduce?

In Wonderland, Alice drank a potion to shrink herself. In nature, some animal species shrink to escape the attention of human hunters, a process that takes from decades to millennia. To begin to understand the genetics of shrinking, scientists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama successfully extracted DNA from marine shells. Their new technique will not only shed light on how animals from lizards to lemurs shrink, it will reveal many other stories hidden in shells.

 

 
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Environment Panama  PANAMÁ 26/02/2021

Are eastern pacific corals climate change survivors?

A tech entrepreneur who dreamed of becoming a marine biologist teams up with STRI researchers and young Latin American biologists to find out if some coral reefs are more resilient than others

 

Coral reefs cover 1% of the Earth’s surface – but are home to 25% of the world’s marine species. Reefs are under threat from climate change, but a team of researchers from STRI has embarked on a four-year quest to solve a tantalizing mystery: why do some corals in the Tropical Eastern Pacific seem to be more resistant to the damaging effects of climate change than corals elsewhere? By unlocking the secrets of these “super-corals,” they hope to help rescue and restore coral reefs worldwide.

 
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Environment Portugal  PORTUGAL 19/02/2021

How larger brains can predict social behaviours

Team of researchers, co-led by IGC principal investigator Rui Oliveira, discovered that the size of the brain is important for complex social decision making

Eager to understand how the environment can impact animal cognitive performance, a team of researchers discovered that, in cleaner fish from the Great Barrier Reef, the size of the brain is important for complex social decision making. The study published in Nature Communications suggests that large forebrains (the forward-most portion of the brain) enable individuals to adapt better to local environmental conditions, important data to add to the study of coral reef ecosystems.

 
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Technology Spain  ESPAÑA 17/02/2021

CoronaSurveys, selected as Finalist in Pandemic Response Challenge

The project, led by researcher Antonio Fernández Anta (IMDEA Networks Institute), is among the 48 finalist teams from 17 countries selected in the $500K Pandemic Response Challenge sponsored by Cognizant

XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, in partnership with Cognizant, one of the world’s leading technology and professional services companies, have announced that 48 teams from 17 countries are advancing to the final round of the $500K Pandemic Response Challenge. Teams competing in Phase 2 will develop artificial intelligence-driven models (courtesy of supporting partner AWS) to prescribe actions for safely reopening society and limiting economic impact while minimizing COVID-19 transmissions (conclusion of the challenge: February 26, 2021).

 
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Technology Spain  MADRID 12/02/2021

DAEMON: Beyond 5G with (Network) Intelligence

The European project involves 12 partners across Europe, and will develop and implement updates to the mobile network architecture so as to best accommodate Network Intelligence (NI) in future 6G systems

IMDEA Networks is the project coordinator for the Network intelligence for aDAptive and sElf-Learning MObile Networks (DAEMON) project, financed under the European Union H2020-ICT-2020-2 call on Information and Communication Technology. From January 2021 to December 2023, the team of researchers will work on the application of Network Intelligence (NI) to 6G systems so as to fully automate network management, with a substantial participation of industry players, including world-leading manufacturers such as Nokia and NEC Corporation, top operators like Telefonica and OTE, as well as innovative SMEs like SRS, ADLINK or WINGS ICT.

 
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Health Portugal  PORTUGAL 10/02/2021

Sepsis: new evidence to understand and fight the disease

Study published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe reveals new mechanisms that confer resistance against sepsis and sheds light on key aspects of hominid evolution

Researchers discover that the loss of a specific molecule may explain how primates evolved to be able to resist to bacterial infections leading to sepsis. The study published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell Host & Microbe reveals that, in mice, the absence of this molecule (the α-Gal glycan) from the antibodies structure increases the ability to the same antibody to kill bacteria. This evolutionary advantage emerged with a cost, the reproductive decline. These findings shed light on key aspects of hominid evolution and reveal new mechanisms that confer resistance against sepsis, crucial to understand and fight the disease.

 
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Space Spain  MADRID 03/02/2021

A laboratory integrates a deorbit device to eliminate space debris

The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and SENER Aeroespacial have set up a laboratory to develop a new device to deorbit space debris based on electrodynamic tether technology

The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and SENER Aeroespacial have set up a laboratory to develop a new device to deorbit space debris based on electrodynamic tether technology. The laboratory, located in SENER’s facilities in Tres Cantos (Madrid, Spain), will be used to integrate the avionics system into the deorbit device that is currently under development thanks to E.T.PACK, a FET-OPEN project funded with €3 million by the European Commission. The avionic system of the device belongs to the activities of an industrial doctorate funded by the Government of the Community of Madrid.

 
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Technology Spain  MADRID 28/01/2021

Parental control applications often misbehave posing privacy threats for children and even parents

Does the potential of parental control apps for protecting children justify the risks regarding the collection and processing of their data?

The researchers Álvaro Feal (IMDEA Networks Institute), Paolo Calciati (IMDEA Software Institute), Dr. Narseo Vallina-Rodríguez (IMDEA Networks Institute), Dr. Carmela Troncoso (Spring Lab EPFL), and Dr. Alessandra Gorla (IMDEA Software Institute) have won the “Prize for the research and Personal Data Protection Emilio Aced” given by the Spanish data protection agency (AEPD), for the paper “Angel or Devil? A Privacy Study of Mobile Parental Control Apps.

 
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Health Spain  MADRID 18/01/2021

A mathematical study describes how metastasis starts

Research by the UC3M and UCM

A scientific study carried out by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) has produced a mathematical description of the way in which a tumor invades the epithelial cells and automatically quantifies the progression of the tumor and the remaining cell islands after its progression. The model developed by these researchers could be used to better understand the biophysical characteristics of the cells involved when developing new treatments for wound healing, organ regeneration, or cancer progression.

 
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Environment Panama  PANAMÁ 08/01/2021

Male bats with high testosterone levels have large forearm crusts

Male Fringe-Lipped bats smear a sticky, odorous substance on their forearms. When this was discovered, researchers guessed that it might play a role in mating

Males may put a lot of effort into attracting females. Male peacocks flaunt eye-catching trains, but male bats, because they are active at night, may rely on females’ sense of smell to draw them in. Three years ago, Victoria Flores, a predoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama, discovered that male fringed-lipped bats often have a sweet-smelling, crusty substance on their forearms. Because only males had crusts and primarily exhibited these crusts during the putative reproductive season, Flores speculated that crusts might play a role in mating. Now Mariana Muñoz-Romo, postdoctoral fellow at STRI and National Geographic Explorer, and her colleagues have evidence to prove it.

 
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Environment Panama  PANAMÁ 28/12/2020

Sea urchins are stuck belly up in low-oxygen hot water

As oceans warm and become more acidic and oxygen-poor, Smithsonian researchers asked how marine life on a Caribbean coral reef copes with changing conditions

“During my study, water temperatures on reefs in Bocas del Toro, Panama, reached an alarming high of almost 33 degrees C (or 91 degrees F), temperatures that would make most of us sweat or look for air conditioning—options not available to reef inhabitants,” said Noelle Lucey, post-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI).

 
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Technology Spain  MADRID 18/12/2020

The CoronaSurveys Project, among the finalists for the COVID-19 Symptom Data Challenge

Recognition of months of work studying the prevalence of coronavirus in real time

Over 150 researchers and 50 organisations participated in the call for proposals entitled the COVID-19 Symptom Data Challenge, sponsored by Facebook Data for Good, with the participation of Delphi Group-Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the Joint Program on Survey Methodology-University of Maryland (UMD), the Duke Margolis Center for Health Policy, and Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative by Vital Strategies.


Organised by Catalyst @Health 2.0, on Wednesday the 16th the announcement was made that the award went to the project DeepOutbreak (Georgia Tech), during a ceremony which saw the participation of renowned people including Dr Tom Frieden (President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives); Dr Mark McClellan (Director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy); Farzad Mostashari, CEO of Aledade; Kang-Xing Jin, Head of Health at Facebook, and specialist health and technology journalist Christina Farr (NBC). During the event, the finalists pointed out the most noteworthy issues from their research studies.


CoronaSurveys won 5000 dollars in recognition of its status as a finalist, thanks to the results obtained in recent months for the real-time collection, via simple anonymous surveys, of the number of COVID-19 cases in the world and innovations like collecting data on vaccination. Great collaborative work based on an indirect reporting method called Network Scale-up, which leads to extremely precise estimates from a moderate number of responses. The survey is available in 60 languages from countries round the world (150 of them regional), with data and estimates available for use by political leaders and the scientific community.


As pointed out by Antonio Fernández Anta, Research Professor at IMDEA Networks and project promoter since March 2020, along with an extensive team of university researchers and research centres: ‘Participation in Data Challenge has been a unique experience. On the one hand, it has obligated the CoronaSurveys team to start up a working line on prediction and early warning, which we hope will be extremely useful. On the other, it has let us give widespread visibility to the combination of obtaining indirect information and applying the Network Scale-up Method as a technique with many advantages for its application to public health.’

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