Science Colombia  BOGOTÁ D.C. 20/11/2015

Fiber optic laser which improves industrial applications patented

With this light source they can etch or cut thick or robust surfaces. It is also useful in metal forming projects and in molds to perform texturized designs

This technological development had the support of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Deputy Rector's Office of Research and the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce who granted the patent. The device was carried out by UNal M.Sc. in Physics and Physics Engineer Jesús David Causado, along with UNal-Medellín School of Physics Professor and Founder and Director of the Photonics and Optoelectronics Research Group Pedro Ignacio Torres Trujillo.

La luz láser que dio lugar a esta patente ya no usa espejos sino fibra óptica. FOTO: UN
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Science Brazil  BRASIL 18/11/2015

Target gene identified for therapies to combat muscular dystrophy

Study published in Cell by researchers from Brazil and the United States suggests inducing overexpression of the Jagged1 gene can prevent the development of degenerative disease

Researchers at the University of São Paulo’s Bioscience Institute (IB-USP) in Brazil have shown that a gene called Jagged1, or JAG1 for short, could be a target for the development of new approaches to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration.

Al inducir la sobreexpresión del gen Jagged1 se puede evitar el desarrollo de esta enfermedad degenerativa (imagen: Cell).
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Science Spain  MADRID 17/11/2015

New Advanced Computing Systems

Scientists at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) are studying how to improve the development of advanced computing systems to create faster software

Scientists at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) are studying how to improve the development of advanced computing systems to create faster software under the auspices of RePhrase, a new research project from the European Union Horizon 2020 program. These new techniques will make it possible to improve applications such as industrial manufacturing processes and railway traffic monitoring, as well as the diagnosis of mental illnesses.

Imagen de cerebro generada a partir de resonancia magnética. Imagen: UC3M.
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Science Colombia  BOGOTÁ D.C. 13/11/2015

The Orinoco crocodile returns to its natural habitat thanks to UNal

Four extinction critically endangered Crocodylus intermedius crocodiles were set free at the Sierra de La Macarena by a group of Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) experts

“Federico”, “Cristina”, “John” and “Miriam” were the names given to these crocs which with a little apprehension now call the Guayabero and Lozada River banks home. After two years of being at the UNal Roberto Franco Tropical Biological Station conservation program in Villavicencio, they grew to almost two meters long (6.5 ft.) and 150 kilos.

Cocodrilo de la especia Crocodylus intermedius. FOTO: UN
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Science Chile  ATACAMA 12/11/2015

ALMA links with other observatories to create earth-size telescope

The addition of ALMA to millimeter VLBI will boost the imaging sensitivity and capabilities of the existing VLBI arrays by an order of magnitude

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) continues to expand its power and capabilities by linking with other millimeter-wavelength telescopes in Europe and North American in a series of very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) observations.

ALMA combinó su poder con los radiotelescopios IRAM y VLBA en observaciones VLBI separadas. Crédito: A. Angelich (NRAO/AUI/NSF)
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Science Brazil  BRASIL 11/11/2015

Research paves the way for a new treatment against schizophrenia

Malfunctioning of oligodendrocytes, specialized brain cells that provide important support for neuronal activity, may have a key role in the development of schizophrenia

A number of studies conducted at the University of Campinas’s Biology Institute (IB-UNICAMP) in São Paulo State, Brazil, have indicated that oligodendrocyte dysfunction may have a key role in the development of schizophrenia. Oligodendrocytes are specialized brain cells that provide important support for neuronal activity.

Imagen de microscopía confocal de un oligodendrocito/ Daniel Martins-de-Souza y Annette Vogl.
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Science Colombia  VALLE DEL CAUCA 09/11/2015

Ornamental fish to be genetically studied due to overexploitation

By performing molecular identification of Otocinclus spp., a species that thrives in the Orinoquía and Amazonian regions of Colombia, a Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) researcher hopes to formulate preservation strategies

Marketing this and other species of ornamental fish could be an extinction threat which has not been determined yet in Colombia. For example Otocinclus species diversity has turned into an obstacle to establish the dimension of fish netting in Colombia.

Las principales especies ornamentales de exportación son los cardenales, otocinclo, corydora meta, arawanas, raya motoro y guacamaya, cuchas y el escalar altum.
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Science Chile  ATACAMA 06/11/2015

Astronomers discover growth spurts in a young protostar

A paper describing these results is published in the journal 'Nature'

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have discovered an adolescent protostar that is undergoing a rapid-fire succession of growth spurts. Evidence for this fitful youth is seen in a pair of intermittent jets streaming away from the star’s poles. A paper describing these results is published in the journal Nature.

Astrónomos obtuvieron con ALMA la imagen del crecimiento intermitente de una joven protoestrella conocida como CARMA-7. Crédito: B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF); A. Plunkett et al.; ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ)
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Science Brazil  BRASIL 05/11/2015

Melatonin reduces metastasis in animals with breast cancer

The results of the studies, which were supported by FAPESP, have recently been described in a paper published in the 'Journal of Pineal Research'

When researchers at the São José do Rio Preto School of Medicine (FAMERP) in São Paulo State, Brazil, treated in vitro cultured metastatic breast cancer cells with melatonin, they observed a 55% reduction in cell migration and invasion. Experiments with mice showed that the treatment was also capable of slowing the progression of the disease in vivo.

Célula de cáncer de mama fotografiada con un microscopio electrónico de barrido.
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Science Argentina  ARGENTINA 04/11/2015

Bacteriophages, the invisible enemies of the dairy industry

A research team at the CONICET develops technological strategies to minimize its effects

The word bacteria tends to be put on the same level as infections or diseases, but not all bacteria are bad. Within the beneficial ones to the human being, it is possible to find the lactic acid bacterium (LAB). These are a group of benign microorganisms that produce lactic acid from sugar fermentation. For this reason, they have been used for more than four thousands years in the production of fermented milk products, like yogurt and cheese, among others.

Células de Lactobacillus paracasei infectadas por un hongo. FOTO: CONICET
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Science Panama  PANAMÁ 03/11/2015

Flatworms flout global biodiversity patterns

Generations of scientists have tried to explain why biodiversity decreases from the tropics to the poles—a pattern known as the latitudinal diversity gradient

The odds of being attacked and castrated by a variety of parasitic flatworms increases for marine horn snails the further they’re found from the tropics. A Smithsonian-led research team discovered this exception to an otherwise globally-observed pattern—usually biodiversity is greatest in the tropics and decreases toward the poles. The study, published in Ecology, makes a case for using host-parasite relationships as a tool to understand why there are typically more species—and more interactions between species—in the tropics than anywhere else in the world.

Variedad de platelmintos parásitos. FOTO: STRI
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Science Colombia  CALDAS 30/10/2015

With fungi, vanilla sprouts faster

In a first successful report seed sprouting times of two species of vanilla orchids were reduced from several months to less than 60 days

Ceratobasidium and Tulasnella fungi helped quicken symbiotic sprouting of Colombian vanilla species Vanilla rivasii and V. calyculata, in comparison to in vitro traditional methods which use asymbiotic culture media (without fungi) and which are also more expensive.

Fotografía de microscopía electrónica del barrido de semilla de Vanilla rivasii. FOTO: UN
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Science Argentina  ARGENTINA 28/10/2015

Scientists at the CONICET developed the first programmable digital hearing-aid of Argentina

It is made in Argentina and can be reprogrammed according to user’s needs

A group of CONICET researchers at the Laboratorio de Comunicaciones de la Facultad de Ingeniería de Mar del Plata [Communications Laboratory of the Faculty of Engineering of Mar del Plata] developed the first programmable digital hearing-aid that allows people with hearing disabilities to improve their quality of life.

Prototype of the hearing-aid. Photo: CCT Mar del Plata
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Science Spain  MADRID 27/10/2015

UC3M researches simulator of human behavior

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid is investigating how to build a system that recreates human behavior

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid is investigating how to build a system that recreates human behavior. This technology could be applied to anticipate behavior in socioeconomic crises, create more human-like robots or develop avatars of artificial intelligence which are almost indistinguishable from those that represent people.

Red de personas. Imagen: UC3M.
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Science Brazil  BRASIL 27/10/2015

Nanoparticles could be a basis for more sensitive radiation detectors

Structures produced by researchers at University of São Paulo and Harvard show potential to enhance efficiency of systems that require highly sensitive detection of light or radiation

Images captured from an electron microscope apparently show a huge number of tiny stars each with a diameter of only a few micrometers (millionths of a meter). The structures, produced by Eder Guidelli and Oswaldo Baffa at the Ribeirão Preto campus of the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil, in partnership with David R. Clarke of Harvard University in the United States, have a core of gold and silver particles surrounded by a “shell” of zinc oxide (ZnO). Their properties have the potential to improve the efficiencies of various systems in which it is necessary to detect light or radiation with a high degree of sensitivity.

Nanopartículas. FOTO: FAPESP
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Science Brazil  BRASIL 21/10/2015

Study of exotic stars helps understand formation of solar system

Massive stars usually end catastrophically, exploding as supernovae, ejecting vast amounts of matter into outer space, and eventually collapsing as black holes

Be stars are such strange objects that even professional astrophysicists are surprised by their description. Nevertheless, these stars are common in our galaxy, and there are several very near the solar system, at distances in the range of 100 light years, which is approximately nothing on the astronomical scale.

En la imagen se observa a la estrella desde un ángulo de 20 grados al sur de su plano ecuatorial (imagen: Daniel Moser Faes)
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Science Colombia  BOGOTÁ D.C. 20/10/2015

Approach to a tuberculosis vaccine

Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) researchers are working on protein structures with bactericide properties which are fundamental for survival of tuberculosis causing microorganisms

Tuberculosis treatment consists of a combination of drugs which if used correctly successfully controls the disease. However when patients do not follow the treatment correctly or use low quality antibiotics for long periods of time, the consequence is emergence of antibiotic resistant mycobacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis).

El grupo de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular de las Micobacterias trabaja con compuestos naturales que el organismo utiliza para combatir las bacterias. FOTO: UN
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Science Panama  PANAMÁ 16/10/2015

Star gazing from the sea floor

Brittle stars, along with starfish and sand dollars, are radially symmetrical, “spiny-skinned” animals known as echinoderms

The kiddie pool Lauren Sumner-Rooney unfolds on the dock at the Bocas Del Toro Research Station isn’t for relaxing at sundown after a long day of fieldwork. Under the midday sun, she places brittle stars on the pool’s blue plastic bottom and floats a shadow-casting disc on the water’s surface. Her experiment tests the nocturnal creatures’ poorly understood vision system. Can they “see” the disc and move into its protective shadow?

El ofiuro Ophiocoma wendtii. FOTO: STRI
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Science Colombia  BOGOTÁ D.C. 15/10/2015

Mechanisms to remineralize teeth naturally

Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) researchers have identified mechanisms in which chemical substances could be added into teeth enamel for remineralization processes

The results obtained by UNal Faculty of Sciences and School of Dentistry experts will help solve incipient cavity and erosion issues due to chemical effects and dental sensitivity problems. Carolina Torres Rodríguez, UNal School of Dentistry Professor and member of the Dentistry Materials Application Group (GRAMO, for its Spanish acronym says that this project focused on determining the remineralization processes through diffusion of chemical elements in teeth.

Dentista. FOTO: UN.
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Science Brazil  SãO PAULO 13/10/2015

Research identifies drug capable of preventing complications from hemolysis

The research was conducted with support from FAPESP during Camila Bononi de Almeida’s postdoctoral work

Patients with sickle cell anemia frequently suffer from hemolysis, the destruction of red blood cells leading to the release of hemoglobin into the blood stream.

 El grado de inflamación en los ratones se midió mediante el empleo del IVIS (In vivo imaging system) (imagen: FAPESP)
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