Ulf-G. Meißner receives an ERC Advanced Grant

What happens when strange quarks are inserted into atomic nuclei? Which "habitable" universes are theoretically possible? These are just some of the questions Prof. Dr. Ulf-G. Meißner from the Helmholtz Institute for Radiation and Nuclear Physics at the University of Bonn wants to investigate. For this project, the researcher receives an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). Funding for the project, in which the Forschungszentrum Jülich is also involved, amounts to about 2.3 million euros.

DAAD funds two new global centers at the University of Bonn

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is funding a total of eight interdisciplinary "Global Centers" to address global challenges in a new program. The University of Bonn is involved in two of the projects: One project focusses on the future of African savannahs and the other on early detection and management of infection risks in West Africa. The funds are granted by the German Federal Foreign Office and amount to around 2.8 million euros per center until 2025.

Project funding: Protection of vines from introduced diseases

Increasingly globalized trade, rising international tourism and climate change are increasing the likelihood that previously unknown harmful organisms will be introduced and carried into Germany and that heat-loving harmful organisms will be able to spread more easily. These include the disease Flavescence dorée, which is caused by bacteria (phytoplasmas) and affects grapevines, among others. A project involving researchers from the PhenoRob Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn has now received funding of around two million euros from the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). The aim of the "PhytoMo" project is the early detection of dangerous phytoplasmoses. The Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner presented the researchers with the funding notification this week via video conference.

Worm infestation in intestine has a remote effect on viral defenses

Infection with parasitic intestinal worms (helminths) can apparently cause sexually transmitted viral in-fections to be much more severe elsewhere in the body. This is shown by a study led by the Universities of Cape Town and Bonn. According to the study, helminth-infected mice developed significantly more severe symptoms after infection with a genital herpes viruses (Herpes Simplex Virus). The researchers suspect that these results can also be transferred to humans. The results have now appeared in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

How plants respond to environmental stress

What effects does environmentally induced "stress" have on crops, and how can these effects be predicted? Biologist Prof. Dr. Amy Marshall-Colon is working on this question at the University of Illinois in the US - and soon also as a guest professor at the Cluster of Excellence “PhenoRob – Robotics and Phenotyping for Sustainable Crop Production” at the University of Bonn. For the cooperation with her colleagues and the planned research stay in Bonn, she now receives a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, endowed with 45,000 Euros. To conduct her research, Amy Marshall-Colon will be in Bonn from May 15 to August 15, 2022.

How do creatures transform into a fossil?

Anyone who holds a fossil in their hands usually feels respect. After all, the evidence of past living worlds is many millions of years old. It is often possible to tell at first glance whether the fossil is a plant, a shell or even a dinosaur. But what looks like a bone is usually not one at all. Only tiny remnants of the faded creature are contained in it. The form is preserved, but the substance is replaced by minerals, hence the term "petrifaction." How exactly this works is reported by a research group organized as a DFG Research Unit at the University of Bonn in the now published book "Fossilization."

Bacteria help plants grow better

A current study by scientists of the University of Bonn and Southwest University in China sheds light on an unusual interdependence: Maize can attract special soil bacteria that, in turn, help the plants to grow better. In the long term, the results could be used to breed new varieties that use less fertilizer and therefore have less impact on the environment. The study is published in the prestigious journal Nature Plants.

A dinosaur tail vertebra leads researchers on the right track

Scientists from Mahasarakham University (Thailand) and the University of Bonn have examined the newly discovered caudal vertebrae of a spinosaurid dinosaur that could belong to Siamosaurus suteethorni. The comparison with finds around the world led to the realization that the Spanish Camarillosaurus is also a spinosaur and that often several species of these giant predators have inhabited the same area. The results have already been published online in the journal Historical Biology, and now an updated version has been published.

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