Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Jahr 2018

Timing is everything: researchers describe genetic clockwork in germ cell development

The nematode C. elegans is truly an organizational talent: The tiny animals, just one millimetre long, live for only two to three weeks, with sexual maturity lasting only four days. They nevertheless manage to generate over 300 offspring during this brief period. For this ambitious development programme to function optimally, a large number of processes must be synchronised within their cells. Geneticists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have deciphered a central signalling pathway that encodes and controls these processes. Their study was recently published in the international scientific journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS).

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Growing and surviving: how proteins regulate the cell cycle

Cell division is the basis of all life. Even the smallest errors in this complex process can lead to grave diseases like cancer. Certain proteins have to be switched on or off at certain times for everything to go according to plan. Biophysicists and medical biochemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have managed to describe the underlying mechanism of this process. They have figured out how different signaling pathways in the cell change the structure of proteins, thereby driving the cell division cycle in the right direction at the right time. The researchers present their findings in the renowned journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences".

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Bees: How royal jelly prevents royal offspring from falling out of their cells

Defying gravity: A special mixture of proteins in the larval food of bees ensures that future queen larvae survive. Surprisingly this has less to do with nourishment than with gravity. The special properties of the proteins prevent the large and heavy larvae from falling out of their cells. Researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg have discovered how this is accomplished at a molecular level.

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Spintronics: Physicists receive funding for new CRC

New opportunities for cutting-edge research in ultrafast physics and nanomagnetism: Physicists at Freie Universitšt Berlin and Martin Luther University have succeeded in winning funding for a new joint Collaborative Research Center (CRC). Within the "CRC/Transregio 227: Ultrafast Spin Dynamics" project, scientists will work together on new concepts for the ultrafast manipulation of magnetic systems at the nanoscale.

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Producing handy gels from a protein found in human blood

From blood to the lab: the protein albumin is responsible for many vital processes in the human body. In nature it only appears as a solution when dissolved in water. Chemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed a method of producing various albumin-based gels. Their findings may one day help to develop innovative drug carrier systems that more easily reach the bloodstream. The study conducted by the researchers in Halle was recently featured on the cover of the international Journal "Biomaterials Science" published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

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These bacteria produce gold nuggets by digesting toxic metals

High concentrations of heavy metals, like copper and gold, are toxic for most living creatures. This is not the case for the bacterium C. metallidurans, which has found a way to extract valuable trace elements from a compound of heavy metals without poisoning itself. One interesting side-effect: the formation of tiny gold nuggets. A team of researchers led by Martin Luther University has discovered the molecular processes that take place inside the bacteria.

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New study: How bacteria manipulate plants

Attack at the protein front: Xanthomonas bacteria cause diseases in tomato and pepper plants and inject harmful proteins into plant cells. Researchers from the Universities of Halle, Bonn and Freiburg as well as the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry have now discovered how one of these proteins manipulates the nutrient supply and hormonal balance of plants. Their study was recently published in the renowned journal "Nature Communications".

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Chemists develop a very simple method to break down pollutants in water

Chemists from Martin Luther University have found out how stubborn pollutants in water can be disintegrated easily and cost-effectively. To do so researchers only need a green LED light, a catalyst and vitamin C. In this way, they can produce special types of electrons that reliably destroy the pollutants in the water. Until now, complex laser systems were required for this.

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MLU secures funding for international research training group

Major success for biodiversity research in Central Germany: A new international research training group at Martin Luther University focuses on how trees interact with each other and on the consequences of these interactions for the ecosystem. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) will be funding the PhD programme for the next four-and-a-half years with around 3.5 million euros.

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Welcome to the club: a network for newbies

Employees and professors who are new to Martin Luther University don’t get a freshers party – at best, they are actively supported at their work place. However, at the end of the workday, these newcomers usually have to fend for themselves. This is now set to change. In November, 25 members of the university founded the Newcomers’ Club.

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How wind turbines annoy residents and how to reduce it

When falling asleep, relaxing or undertaking recreational activities, nearly a third of residents living near a wind farm are not at all annoyed or only slightly annoyed by the noise of wind turbines. One in ten people experience symptoms of stress, such as irritability or difficulty falling asleep. However, noise is not the only problem for those affected, according to psychologists at Martin Luther University in the current issue of the journal "Energy Policy". In particular, a critical attitude towards a wind farm stimulates the experience of stress.

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New study: How climate change alters plant growth

Global warming affects more than just plant biodiversity - it even alters the way plants grow. A team of researchers at Martin Luther University discovered which molecular processes are involved in plant growth. They published their findings in the current edition of the internationally renowned journal "Current Biology".

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