Awardees' Articles

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Dhiraj Bhatia and HFSP Program Grant holders Ludger Johannes and Yamuna Krishnan and colleagues

Friday 9th June 2017

Following molecules and organelles inside the cells over long durations has proved challenging, and has limited the pace of breakthroughs in cell biology. To this end, Bhatia et al. designed DNA-based nanocapsules that house fluorescent quantum dots simultaneously displaying a single endocytic ligand. These custom reagents allow one to track endocytic uptake and long-term organelle dynamics on live cells.

 

HFSP Program Grant holders Michael Brenner and Anne Pringle and colleagues

Thursday 8th June 2017

What allows the network-forming slime mold Physarum polycephalum to find the shortest path through a maze - despite lacking a nervous system? The key is a simple feedback: the slime mold sends information in the form of signaling molecules throughout its network of veins. Signaling molecules are transported by flowing fluids and cause fluid flow to increase. This positive feedback loop, on the one hand, speeds up information transfer, but at the same time fosters the growth of veins, precisely those...

 

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Vera Vasas and colleagues

Tuesday 6th June 2017

Even animals that have excellent colour vision, such as bees, tend to ignore colour information when finding the contours of objects in a visual scene. Here, we propose the hypothesis that the usefulness of the long-wavelength-sensitive photoreceptors lies in the reliability of their signals.

 

HFSP Young Investigator Grant holders Mahesh Bandi, Shreyas Mandre and Madhusudhan Venkadesan and colleagues

Thursday 1st June 2017

A fish fin is thin, and yet not floppy when it pushes on the surrounding water for propulsion. We show that fish could modulate fin stiffness by changing its curvature. The rays contribute to its bending stiffness in the way an elastic beam would, but it is the curvature that substantially increases its stiffness by engaging the intervening membrane. Curvature, however, could be embedded within the fin structure and need not be externally visible.

 

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Elphège Nora and HFSP Program Grant holder Job Dekker and colleagues

Tuesday 30th May 2017

Chromosomes are separated into many large topologically associating domains, or TADs. Within each TAD, several genes and the elements that regulate them are packaged together, and they are insulated from those in neighboring TADs. TADs are then further segregated in the three-dimensional space of the nucleus, with TADs containing active genes being compartmentalized away from the ones that do not contain active genes.

 

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Julia Sliwa and HFSP Program Grant holder Winrich Freiwald

Tuesday 23rd May 2017

Primates are intensely social species. We smoothly maneuver in our social environment by effortlessly understanding our peers' encounters. But what is the neural circuitry that is engaged when primates perceive such scenes of social interactions? By using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we found three networks in the monkey brain engaged in processing social interactions, and discovered that one of them is exclusively dedicated to this task.

 

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Jean-Marc Lassance and colleagues

Thursday 11th May 2017

Parental care is crucial for the survival of mammals, yet species vary widely in the extent and type of care they give to their young. In species where females mate with multiple individuals, a male is uncertain whether the young are his own or are sired by another male. Thus, in such promiscuous species, males typically provide less parental care than females, which are always certain of their relationship to the offspring. By contrast, in monogamous species, males are quasi-certain of paternity...

 

HFSP Young Investigator Grant holders Ana Domingos and Paul Cohen and colleagues

Thursday 27th April 2017

A research team led by Ana Domingos from the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC, Portugal), developed a new genetic technique that allows the elimination of specific neurons of the peripheral nervous system without affecting the brain. Using this novel technique in mice, the researchers were able to study the function of the neurons that innervate the adipose tissue, and saw that their elimination results in mice gaining weight very quickly. Published on April 3rd in Nature Communications, this...

 

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Pavan Ramdya and colleagues

Friday 21st April 2017

By optimizing the walking speed of a simulated insect, we discovered faster walking gaits for hexapod robots. These have never before been observed in nature. On the other hand, the fast tripod insect gait may be prevalent since it satisfies the need to climb up challenging terrain.

 

HFSP Cross-Disciplinary Fellow Shashi Thutupalli and colleagues

Tuesday 4th April 2017

Nematode worms engage in a primitive form of bacterial farming and public goods production as they forage and explore their environment. The resultant population dynamics and eco-evolutionary consequences are broadly applicable not only to worm-bacterial populations but can also be relevant in diverse situations such as epidemic spread, seed dispersal and the composition of the local ecologies which organisms inhabit.