Week Ending Jan 12, 2018

Interactions between simple molecular mechanisms give rise to complex infection dynamics
Science Daily – 1/8/18
When we think of bacteria, images of nasty infections like pneumonia, meningitis or food poisoning come to mind, but bacteria can themselves be infected — by viruses. Not all viruses are harmful to bacteria and some can even benefit them. Can bacteria tell good and bad viruses apart? An interdisciplinary team of scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) studied how infections with potentially beneficial viruses play out in bacteria that carry a certain type of anti-viral immune mechanism called restriction-modification. They show that population-level interactions between viruses and bacteria influence how the infection proceeds.

UC Researchers Receive Grant for Developing Fast-Responding Water Sensors
AZO Sensors – 1/8/18
The National Science Foundation has awarded an interdisciplinary team of University of Cincinnati researchers a grant of $359,951 to produce sensors in order to assess a key environmental problem in monitoring toxins in fresh water. This grant will enable researchers to come up with better ways of detecting deadly bacteria present in drinking water sources.  The existence of high concentrations of cyanotoxins in a number of freshwater lakes and streams, some of which function as sources of drinking water, critically threatens environmental and human health. The project, entitled “Nanosensor for the Point-of-Use Detection of Hepatotoxic Microcystins in Water,” will particularly develop and test an exclusive sensor designed for detecting and quantifying algal toxins frequently detected in fresh water.

Math can be fun if students discover it themselves: Fields Medal winner  
The Times of India – 1/7/18
Manjul Bhargava, a Canadian-American mathematician who has won the Fields Medal, known as the mathematician’s Nobel Prize spoke  to TOI on the sidelines of the International Center for Theoretical Sciences at Ten event .  He cracks the code on why mathematics is different for a researcher when compared to a student. According to Bhargava, mathematics gets an altogether different look when poetry, history and more are weaved into it.

The next generation of strong, self-healing robots are being created in a basement at CU Boulder
Daily Camera – 1/4/18
A group of University of Colorado researchers is working on creating the next generation of robots that could be more powerful and perform more efficiently than humans — but they offer assurances they’re not aiming to have the human race overtaken by automated overlords.”We want to do the opposite,” said Christoph Keplinger, assistant professor in CU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and senior author of two studies published Thursday in the journals Science and Science Robotics. “We want robots who will be our friends and help us.” “The research coming out of Dr. Keplinger’s lab is nothing short of astounding,” Bobby Braun, dean of CU’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences said. “He and his team of students are helping create the future of flexible, more-humanlike robots that can be used to improve people’s lives and well-being. This line of research is a core, interdisciplinary strength of our college.”

Genomic data suggest two main migrations into Scandinavia after the last ice age
Phys.org – 1/9/18
In a new study published in PLoS Biology, an international research team suggests Scandinavia was populated by two main migrations after the last glacial maximum: an initial migration of groups from the south (modern day Denmark and Germany) and an additional migration from the north-east, following the ice-free Atlantic coast. After the last glacial maximum more than 10,000 years ago, Scandinavia was one of the last parts of Europe that became ice-free and thus habitable for humans. In the new study, a team of interdisciplinary researchers assembled archaeological and genetic data in combination with the latest results of climate modeling in order to study the early post-glacial settlers of Scandinavia.