Other June News in Brief
Susanne Mandrup in charge of a new large study on fat cells published in Nature Genetics
Professor Susanne Mandrup, head of the DNRF center ATLAS at the University of Southern Denmark, headed a large Danish study recently published in Nature Genetics. In the study, the researchers investigated how stem cells develop into either fat cells or bone cells. The results show that many bone-cell-related genes are extinguished when stem cells become fat cells. The discovery is an important result in basic biochemical and molecular biological research, as it gives a greater insight into genetic processes behind several diseases such as osteoporosis. In the long term, the research can help improve, for example, stem cell therapy.
Contemporary grape variety for wine production in France can be traced back 900 years using ancient DNA
Professor Thomas Gilbert of the DNRF center for GeoGenetics is part of a major European study that found that a grape variety still used for wine production in France today can be dated back 900 years to one particular ancient plant. The result is based on a comprehensive database of genetic information on contemporary vines, which the researchers compared with genetic information from 28 archaeological grape seeds. The seeds stem from French wine regions and originate from the Bronze Age, the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages.
Jens Stougaard, head of former DNRF center CARB, receives larger grant
Professor Jens Stougaard, head of the former DNRF center CARB from 2007-2017, together with colleagues from Aarhus University (AU) and an international research team, has received DKK 203 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Of the total amount, DKK 50 million goes to Professor Stougaard and his colleagues from AU. The full grant goes to an international research project called the Collaborative Crop Resilience Program (CCRP), which will run over six years. The research project will provide basic knowledge about the interaction between plants and the microorganisms that live in and around the plants. The aim is to create a smarter and more sustainable agriculture based on biological methods, thereby contributing to increased food production to ensure adequate food for a growing world population.
Head of center Barbara Ann Halkier is among 56 new members of EMBO
Professor Barbara Ann Halkier, head of the DNRF center DynaMo, is among 56 researchers recently admitted as new members of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). Halkier and the rest of the latest group of EMBO members join more than 1800 top researchers from all over the world, all engaged in science research.
Leif Oxenløwe from SPOC helps identify climate syndicators and the climate-friendly among tech giants and streaming services
In an article on data centers’ contributions to CO2 emissions recently published at Videnskab.dk, Professor and head of center Leif Oxenløwe from the DNRF Center SPOC has commented on which tech giants are the most and least climate-friendly companies. According to Professor Oxenløwe, tech giants such as Google, Facebook, and Apple are the most climate friendly, while streaming services like Netflix and Amazon are “the black sheep.” Oxenløwe’s announcement is based on the Greenpeace report “Clicking Green from 2017,” which has ranked about 70 companies on the basis of their CO2 emissions. The report divides the CO2 emissions of the tech giants from different energy sources, including sun, wind and water; nuclear power; and natural gas and coal, and thus provides an easily accessible overview of where the electricity consumption of the IT giants comes from.
CMEC examines people’s willingness to support biodiversity
Researchers from the DNRF Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate (CMEC), including Professor and head of center Carsten Rahbek, Professor Bo Dalsgaard, Ph.D. student Céline Moreaux, Professor MSO Jette Jacobsen, and Professor Niels Strange are behind a post at Forskerzonen (the Researcher Zone) where they present how and why wild bees and other pollinators are important to biodiversity. Pollinators are endangered and under severe pressure from human activity, and the center is therefore investigating whether we in Denmark as a population are willing to support biodiversity and help the pollinators.
Dorthe Berntsen receives a grant from DFF for a new research project
Dorthe Berntsen, professor and head of the DNRF center for Autobiographical Memory Research (CON AMORE) at Aarhus University, has received DKK 6.2 million from the Independent Research Fund Denmark for a new research project. The project will explore whether individuals who have a very coherent and distinct memory experience a higher degree of well-being. With the new project, it is Berntsen’s and the research team’s aim to collect and analyze data on individual differences in people with lifelike memories. The project will try to answer the question of why some people are much better than others at remembering their lives and what this can be used for. The researchers will develop and test a test that will be used to investigate how well and precisely one remembers, to show the connection between people’s way of remembering and other individual differences, including, for example, mental well-being and symptoms of mental disorders.
Ph.D. project from MIB examines the motivational qualities of music for children and adults
A new Ph.D. project by psychologist and opera singer Maria Celeste Fasano, from the DNRF Center for Music in the Brain at Aarhus University, has investigated music’s motivating qualities for children and adults. The project, entitled “From pleasure to learning: The motivational power of music in children and adults,” explores the neural basis for musical enjoyment and its connection with the learning process of children, adolescents, and adults. Using brain scans, Fasano could show how listening to music involves the reward network of young teenagers, which partly explains their constant drive for music. Next, Fasano conducted a behavioral study that revealed a positive effect of music education on children aged 8-10 in terms of increased inhibitory control and reduced hyperactivity. Finally, Fasano used both brain scans and questionnaires to show how involvement in the reward network in expert pianists listening to a sonata motivated them to learn to play the sonata or to play it well. The Ph.D. thesis thus contributes to an increased understanding of the neural bases for pleasure and the modulating ability of music in adolescents and adults. The results suggest that musical enjoyment can be used as a facilitator of behavioral and neural changes in clinical and academic contexts. Fasano defended the thesis in late June.