University of Bonn recruits top-class researchers

Renowned reinforcement for the University of Bonn: With the first "High profile" professorships financed by excellence funds, three top-class scientific personalities join the University of Excellence to open up new fields of research and to provide important impulses in various disciplines. Ethicist Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen takes up a so-called Hertz Professorship today (October 1), while agricultural economist Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim and Catholic theologian Prof. Dr. Klaus von Stosch fill so-called Schlegel Professorships. The three professors were officially appointed at a reception in the Rector's Office.

Pruning the dendritic tree

Researchers at the University of Bonn have shed light on the function of the enzyme SLK for the development of nerve cells in the brain. If it is missing, the neurons' branches are less abundant. In addition, it is then more difficult to inhibit the activity of the cells. This is consistent with the fact that there is less SLK in diseased brain tissue from epilepsy patients. Epileptic seizures are characterized by overexcitation of neuron clusters. The findings may help to improve treatment of the disease. The study is published in the prestigious Journal of Neuroscience.

AMD: Reading ability crucial indicator of functional loss

In geographic atrophy, a late form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), reading ability is closely related to the altered retinal structure. This has been demonstrated by researchers from the Department of Ophthalmology at the University Hospital Bonn with colleagues at the National Eye Institute and the University of Utah. Reading speed makes everyday functional impairment measurable, which the most common functional test in ophthalmology – the best-corrected visual acuity assessment - cannot reflect. Retinal imaging can be used to assess loss of reading ability even when central visual acuity is still good. The study has now appeared in "JAMA Ophthalmology."

Statement of the Rectorate on a publication of the Gender Equality Office

The text "Information and Tips on Handling Content Notes in Teaching" is a text independently sent by the Gender Equality Office of the University of Bonn to entities within the University and published on the homepage of the Gender Equality Office.

Immune cells in the brain share the work

To break down toxic proteins more quickly, immune cells in the brain can join together to form networks when needed. This is shown by a joint study of the University of Bonn, the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the Institut François Jacob in France. However, in certain mutations that can cause Parkinson's disease, this cooperation is impaired. The findings are published in the renowned journal Cell.

Lack of trust exacerbates loneliness spiral

Loneliness is a painful feeling. If it persists, it can lead to mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety disorders. Researchers from the Universities of Bonn, Haifa (Israel) and Oldenburg have now discovered how loneliness is associated with reduced trust. This is reflected in changes in the activity and interaction of various brain structures, especially the insular cortex. The results therefore provide clues for therapeutic options. They are now published in the journal Advanced Science.

Artificial intelligence helps diagnose leukemia

The presence of cancer of the lymphatic system is often determined by analyzing samples from the blood or bone marrow. A team led by Prof. Dr. Peter Krawitz from the University of Bonn had already shown in 2020 that artificial intelligence can help with the diagnosis of such lymphomas and leukemias. The technology fully utilizes the potential of all measurement values and increases the speed as well as the objectivity of the analyses compared to established processes. The method has now been further developed so that even smaller laboratories can benefit from this freely accessible machine learning method - an important step towards clinical practice. The study has now been published in the journal "Patterns".

How plants sense phosphate

A new study by the University of Bonn and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) in Gatersleben sheds light on the mechanism used by plants to monitor how much of the nutrient phosphate is available, and to decide when strategies to mobilize and take up more phosphate from the soil must be activated. The enzyme ITPK1 plays a key role in this process. The researchers were also able to show that a particular group of signaling molecules involved in phosphate sensing respond very sensitively to phosphate and that this regulation takes place not only in plants but also in human cells. In the long term, the results could lead to the breeding of new crop varieties that require less phosphate fertilizer. The final version of the study has now been published in the journal "Molecular Plant".

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