News: Bioteknikhttp://www.chalmers.se/sv/nyheterNews related to Chalmers University of TechnologyWed, 15 Jan 2020 12:34:07 +0100http://www.chalmers.se/sv/nyheterhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Scholarship-for-advanced-microscopy-studies-in-the-US.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Scholarship-for-advanced-microscopy-studies-in-the-US.aspxScholarship for advanced microscopy studies in the US<p><b>​Alexandra Paul, researcher at Chalmers specialised in molecular microscopy, receives a scholarship from the Barbro Osher Endowment to support her visit at the University of Texas at Austin.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Alexandra Paul receives 90,000 SEK from the Barbro Osher Endowment, which supports Chalmers researchers who wish to develop their research in collaboration with prominent researchers at universities in the United States.</span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div> “I am very honored to receive the support to pursue my research at an exciting and world leading institution. I am sure, I will learn a lot during the upcoming year, and I am looking forward to an inspiring research environment at the Department of Biomedical Engineering,” says Alexandra Paul. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>In 2018 Alexandra Paul ended her doctoral studies on the involvement of lipids in the development of obesity related diseases at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Chalmers. In 2019 she received the Swedish Research Council’s grant for an International postdoc.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In her new research project, Alexandra Paul will use an advanced microscopy technique to investigate if and how lipid droplets are involved in progression of neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s Disease. </div> <div>This technique, coherent Raman scattering (CRS), is only available in approximately ten universities in the world, the University of Texas at Austin being one of them. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The scholarship from Barbro Osher will provide for housing and travel during Alexandra Paul’s first year in the United States. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Text: </strong>Susanne Nilsson Lindh</div> <div><strong>Photo: </strong>Martina Butorac</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>About Barbro Osher</strong></div> <div><ul><li>Barbro Osher is the Swedish Consul General in San Francisco, and a well-known mecenate.</li> <li>She is founder of the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, which supports cultural and educational projects with Swedish connection in Sweden and the U.S.</li> <li>Applicants for scholarships through Barbro Osher Endowment must be researchers employed at Chalmers. <a href="/en/foundation/scholarshipsandgrants/Pages/Osher.aspx">More information on how to apply for the scholarships</a></li></ul></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Read more about Alexandra Paul’s research:</strong> <a href="/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Her-vision-Early-detection-of-Parkinsons-Disease.aspx)">Her vision: Early detection of Parkinson’s Disease</a></div> </div>Wed, 15 Jan 2020 08:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/new-resources-in-the-forest.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/new-resources-in-the-forest.aspxChalmers researchers hunt for new resources in the forest<p><b>​Wallenberg Wood Science Center researches into possibilities to create new, hi-tech materials from trees, beyond the traditional cellulose fibres. The center involves 15 researchers at 5 departments and helps lay the foundations for successful research. And it is just starting to kick into a higher gear.</b></p><div><em>The researchers involved in the center is listed in the end of the article</em>.</div> <div>Transparent wood from nanocellulose, flame-resistant cellulose foams for isolation, and plastic-like packaging materials  made of hemicellulose – just some examples of new, wood-based material concepts developed in Sweden which have made headlines in recent years. Bio-based batteries and solar cells, and artificial ‘wood’ which can be 3D printed are others which have caught the collective imagination. But something maybe less well-known is the fact that most of these ideas are the result of one forward-thinking research programme, launched over ten years ago – Wallenberg Wood Science Center.<br /><br /></div> <div>When the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation announced a funding investment of close to half a billion kronor, Chalmers and KTH first set themselves as competitors. But on the initiative of the Foundation, they became collaborative partners instead. And several years before the programme was even complete, a programme for extension was sketched out, for scaling up and broadening. Within a year, WWSC 2.0 was launched, to last until 2028. Linköping University will now take part as well, and industrial partners are also involved in financing via the research platform, Treesearch. The Chalmers Foundation will also contribute with more research money. In total, over a billion kronor will be invested in forestry related material research in the coming decade, with an interdisciplinary approach combining biotechnology, material science and physical chemistry.</div> <div> </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Delivering important competence </h3> <div><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/WWSC/Lisbeth%20200.png" alt="" style="margin:5px" />Lisbeth Olsson, Professor in Industrial Biotechnology, is Vice Director  of WWSC, and is responsible for Chalmers’ research within the programme. When she looks over what the research center has already delivered, it is not those headline-generating new materials that she sees as the principal contributions. <br />“I would probably say that the most important thing the WWSC has given the forestry industry is competence. Many doctoral students and postdocs from the programme have gone onto employment in the industry,” she says.  </div> <div>  <br />This increased knowledge around foundational questions has clearly contributed to the fact that the forest industry today is a lot more future-oriented. When WWSC began in 2008, research was, according to Lisbeth Olsson, still very traditional, focused on the pulp and paper industry.<br /><span>“Today, we instead define materials by what molecular properties they have. We discuss these things in a totally different way. So even if the industry in large part produces the same paper, packaging materials and hygiene products as ten years ago, there’s a molecular perspective on the future.”</span></div> <div> </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">All the parts of a tree can be better utilised</h3> <div>What drives these developments is the goal of a more sustainable society, and a phase-out of fossil fuels. With this environmental perspective there is also an increased demand on material and energy effectiveness. In the long term, this means that it is not sustainable – even with a renewable resource – to destroy or waste potentially valuable components of wood. Which, in many respects, is what the traditional pulp industry does today, when considering lignin. </div> <div>“An essential idea within WWSC is to make better use of all the different parts of trees. The vision is to create some kind of bio-refinery for material,” says Lisbeth Olsson. <br />  </div> <div>Until now, research has been largely focused on new ways of using cellulose, for example in the form of nanocellulose, as well as investigating the potential of hemicellulose – such as recycling polymers to create dense layers or using it as a constituent part of composite materials. <br /><span>“As research continues, we will also devote a lot more energy to looking at lignin, which with its aromatic compounds has a totally different chemistry. One idea is to carbonise the molecules to give them electrical properties,” says Lisbeth Olsson.<br /></span><span><br />When not busy with leading Chalmers’ activities within WWSC, which involves 5 different departments and around 15 researchers, she spends most of her time on her own research. Together with her colleagues, Lisbeth Olsson is investigating how enzymes and microorganisms can be used to separate and modify the constituent parts of trees – before reassembling them into materials with new, smart qualities.</span></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">First, a need for understanding at a deeper level </h3> <div>We leave the office and go downstairs to the industrial biotechnology laboratory for a quick tour among the petri dishes and fermentation vessels. Of around 40 employees, 5 work here full time, deriving materials from trees’ raw parts. <br />  </div> <div>​“We look a lot at how different fungi from the forest break down wood, which enzymes they use. We can also ‘tweak’ the enzymes, so that they, for example, make a surface modification instead of breaking a chemical bond ,” says Lisbeth Olsson, adding that they are even investigating examples such as heat resistant wood fungi from Vietnamese forests.</div> <div> </div> <div>“When we find some interesting ability in a filamentous mushroom, for example, we can use genetic techniques to extract that ability to bacteria or yeast. That can then produce the same enzyme at a larger scale.”<br />  </div> <div>A difficulty with a natural material like wood is its particularly heterogenous and complex makeup. To be able to understand what is happening at a deep level, researchers must study different cycles at different scales simultaneously – from micrometres down to fractions of a nanometre. Lisbeth Olsson and her colleagues are not yet down to that level of detail that is really needed. <br />  </div> <div>“We have a model of what we think trees look like. But we don’t really know for sure,” she explains. </div> <div> </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Big investment opens up new possibilities</h3> <div>But soon, new possibilities will arise. The Wallenberg Foundation and Treesearch will together invest up to 200 billion kronor in building and operating a proprietary particle beam at the synchrotron facility Max IV outside Lund. The instrument, named Formax, could be compared to an extremely powerful x-ray microscope, and is specifically designed for tree-related material research. It will be ready for the first test experiments from 2021. <br />  </div> <div>But if the researchers have now identified a number of potent enzymes which could contribute to innovative <img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/WWSC/Tuve%20200.png" alt="" style="margin:5px" />biomaterials, how do they really dig down into wood’s structure at the smallest level? <br /><br /></div> <div>One possible answer is found a few more flights of stairs down in the Chemistry building, where the Division of Forest Products and Chemical Engineering is based. Here, research assistant Tuve Mattsson, with one of the division’s doctoral students, has just carried out a small steam explosion of a ring of wood chips. The method, in brief, involves soaked wood chips being trapped in a pressure vessel, before steam is pumped in. The temperature and pressure greatly increase, before the valve suddenly opens. Bang! Water in the wood starts to boil and expand and bursts the wood from the inside.<br /><br /></div> <div>“To the naked eye, the chip pieces are quite similar – they just change colour. But look at them in a scanning electron microscope, and you see quite clearly how the structures have opened themselves up, just a little,” says Tuve Mattsson. </div> <div>“We don’t want to break down the wood too much. Then you lose the effectivity both in terms of materials and energy” adds Lisbeth Olsson. “This could be a future processing stage to make it milder, more enzymatic methods possible in industry. Such methods are also a prerequisite to being able to realise another key vision of WWSC – that new materials should be able to be recirculated without losing their value.” </div> <div>“This is a big challenge for the future. When a product has outlived its purpose, you should be able to extract the different material components and build them together in a new way, to create something of equal quality,” says Lisbeth Olsson. </div> <div>“If we succeed with that, then that thought process must be present from the beginning.”</div> <div><br /></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Chalmers researchers within WWSC</h3> <div>Chemistry and chemical technology: <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/anette-larsson.aspx">Anette Larsson</a>, <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Christian-Müller.aspx">Christian Müller</a>, <a href="/en/staff/Pages/gunnar-westman.aspx">Gunnar Westman</a>, <a href="/en/staff/Pages/hans-theliander.aspx">Hans Theliander</a>, <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Lars-Nordstierna.aspx">Lars Nordstierna</a>, <a href="/en/staff/Pages/merima-hasani.aspx">Merima Hasani</a>, <a href="/en/staff/Pages/paul-gatenholm.aspx">Paul Gatenholm</a>, <a href="/en/staff/Pages/nypelo.aspx">Tiina Nypelö</a> and <a href="/en/staff/Pages/tuve-mattsson.aspx">Tuve Mattsson</a></div> <div>Biology and biological sciences: <a href="/en/staff/Pages/johan-larsbrink.aspx">Johan Larsbrink</a>, <a href="/en/staff/Pages/lisbeth-olsson.aspx">Lisbeth Olsson</a></div> <div>Physics: <a href="/en/staff/Pages/Aleksandar-Matic.aspx">Aleksandar Matic</a>, <a href="/en/staff/Pages/Eva-Olsson.aspx">Eva Olsson</a>, <a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/Marianne-Liebi.aspx">Marianne Liebi</a></div> <div>Industrial and materials science: <a href="/en/staff/Pages/roland-kadar.aspx">Roland Kádár </a></div> <div>Microtechnology and nanoscience: <a href="/en/staff/Pages/Peter-Enoksson.aspx">Peter Enoksson</a></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Mimicking wood’s ultrastructure with 3D printing</h3> <div><strong>Porous, strong and rigid. Wood is a fantastic material. Now, researchers at the Wallenberg Wood Science Center have succeeded in utilising the genetic code of the wood to instruct a 3D bioprinter to print cellulose with a cellular structure and properties similar to those of natural wood, but in completely new forms.</strong></div> <div>Read the full article here: <a href="/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Mimicking-the-ultrastructure-of-wood-with-3D-printing-for-green-products.aspx">https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Mimicking-the-ultrastructure-of-wood-with-3D-printing-for-green-products.aspx</a>  </div> <div> </div>Wed, 08 Jan 2020 00:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/How-can-we-eat-sustainably-in-the-Nordics.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/How-can-we-eat-sustainably-in-the-Nordics.aspxHow can we eat sustainably in the Nordics?<p><b>​When the EAT-Lancet Commission released their report in January 2019 it created a lot of interest. ​Finally, a serious investigation into food supply – what is needed for the Earth&#39;s growing population to eat and live healthily, without compromising planetary boundaries. But was the commission correct?​</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">We all need to eat. But how should we eat? That is a question to which we still don't really know the answer. On the initiative of physician and philanthropist Gunhild Stordalen, environmental scientists from around the world worked with the organisation EAT to produce unified information about food, and its relationship to the planet and our health.</span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div>With world-leading nutritional researcher, physician and Harvard University professor Walter Willett, and environmental professor Johan Rockström at the lead, EAT released their first major report on January 17, 2019, in The Lancet: &quot;Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems”.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Switch to healthier and more climate-smart food quickly” was the main message, as written in a debate article in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter to coincide with the launch. The Swedish Food Agency commissioned EAT to look further, more specifically at the Nordic countries. The Stockholm Resilience Center, which coordinates EAT's work, returned in March with their work, a new report focusing on food consumption and production in the Nordic region.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“I really welcome this, as a first major effort to make conclusions around food, health and sustainability. But afterwards, there was surprisingly little discussion about the conclusions, and how to achieve them,” says Rikard Landberg, Professor and Head of the Division of Food Science at Chalmers.</div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>Not enough consideration of the Nordic diet</span></h2></div> <div>Rikard Landberg contacted five colleagues who, like him, had been assigned by the Chalmers Foundation to organise a seminar on food. In October, they gathered experts to discuss the EAT Lancet Commission’s conclusions, and what more is needed to put them into practice.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The EAT-Lancet report makes its Nordic recommendations based on a global average diet. In the Nordic report, they do not sufficiently account for the diet we eat today,” says Christel Cederberg, agronomist and Associate Professor at Chalmers specialising in sustainable agriculture.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“They also do not look at culture and traditions, a perspective which is actually recommended in the larger, original EAT report in The Lancet. Nor do they recognise that different population groups have different needs.”</div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>&quot;Unhealthy to eat meat in the quantities we eat today&quot;</span></h2></div> <div>Today, Swedish people consume dairy products equivalent to around 375 kg of milk per capita each year, with cheese making up more than half of this. In global terms, that is high. The EAT-Lancet Commission advises a 75 percent reduction by 2050.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Even more drastic is the target for red meat consumption – down to one-seventh of today's level, on average for everyone, regardless of where and how the meat is produced. The planet cannot support more, according to the report.</div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/Food/ChristeloRikard.jpg" alt="Christel Cederberg och Rikard Landberg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px" /><br /><span style="background-color:initial">“Yes, it is unhealthy to eat meat in the quantities we do today. The overall picture from various studies shows that most of us – although not all – could lower certain health risks by reducing their meat intake. To what extent is up for discussion,” says Rikard Landberg. </span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Middle-aged men eat the most meat today. And this is where one of the problems lies with the report that addresses the same advice to everyone. Women of childbearing age, and pregnant or older women often have problems getting enough iron and B12, and this is mainly achieved through meat. The Commission recommends these groups take supplements to get enough vitamin B12 in particular. It may be so, but I think there are concerns around other nutrients too. Iron is difficult to absorb from plants,” says Rikard Landberg.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Christel Cederberg shakes her head. She thinks of the implications.</div> <div>“It's strange that young women of childbearing age must take full responsibility, while middle-aged men can eat happily,” she says.</div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>Scientifically disputed conclusions</span></h2></div> <div>Rikard Landberg believes that important aspects have not been considered in the conclusions, and that the Commission has not looked at different countries’ conditions in its models.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We will never be able to provide the Nordic population with as many nuts as they propose, for example.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The great possibilities of the sea are also not sufficiently addressed, and have been given a far too unimportant role, he believes. Seafood can be a vital contribution to the Nordic diet as an important and sustainable source of protein. And there is great potential for innovation here, according to Landberg.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Furthermore, the planetary boundaries – which are the basis for what is considered sustainable in both reports – are scientifically disputed, Christel Cederberg points out.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The boundaries given for what the Earth can handle are difficult to ascertain. There are great uncertainties surrounding them. They rest to some extent on values, I would say.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In addition, she believes that the environmental scientists behind the EAT-Lancet report draw too far-reaching conclusions about the environment. They do not use the right data or indicators for chemicals and do not look adequately at the quality of agricultural land, she believes, pointing out methodical problems. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“There is a big difference between different types of meat, or different types of fruit for example. Biodiversity is extremely important but is often overlooked in the life-cycle analyses that receive a great deal of attention today.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>What needs to be done going forward?</strong></div> <div>“It is an excellent initiative and provides direction. But we still need more knowledge, and better methods, to be able to translate this into clear, quantitative advice that is more suited to our conditions,” says Rikard Landberg.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Christel Cederberg believes that the focus must be on sensible agriculture, something where the Nordic countries are already far ahead.</div> <div>“We have to make agriculture fossil-free in a fairly short time. Farming in such a way that we capture more carbon. I would like to see more innovation projects together with the food industry and agriculture,” she says.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="http://chalmeriana.lib.chalmers.se/chalmersmagasin/cm2019_2/index-h5.html?page=1">From Chalmers magasin 2 2019</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><span style="font-weight:700">Text:</span> Christian Borg</div> <div><span style="font-weight:700">Photo:</span> Adobe Stock &amp; Christian Borg  </div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Facts: The Chalmers Foundation prize winner 2019</strong></div> <div>Christel Cederberg and Rikard Landberg are two of the six dedicated food scientists who jointly received the Chalmers Foundation's prize in 2019 for their efforts. The article text is based on an interview with them.</div> <div> They share the award with Fredrik Hedenus and Stefan Wirsenius at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment and Karin Jonsson and Nathalie Scheers at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology. Together, all six organised a seminar in October on food, health and sustainability.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Challenges and opportunities in the Nordic countries</strong></div> <div>These are today's clearest lessons about food, health and sustainability for us in the Nordic countries:</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Eat more:</strong> Peas, lentils and other legumes are beneficial sources of protein with low climate impact. Nuts and seeds contain useful fats. Choose locally grown! Vegetables and root vegetables contain useful fibres, minerals, vitamins and bioactive substances. In the Nordic countries, we should eat more seafood – and cut down on meat. The sea has great potential as a sustainable source of protein, if we eat the right species and look beyond just fillets. Fish is good for the brain and lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. Fatty fish such as herring and mackerel are especially useful and sustainable.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Replace:</strong> Whole grains from different cereals have a number of positive health effects. Increase the proportion of whole grains – bran and sprouts, for example contain a lot of dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins – and reduce the amount of white flour. Replace animal fats with vegetable fats. This lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Domestic berries and fruits should increase, but not imports. Many people do not get enough. Most eat enough protein. A higher proportion of vegetarian protein is good for both human health and the planet.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Eat less:</strong> Generally, we eat too much beef and pork. If you eat a lot of red meat – reduce consumption, for your own health. The most damaging thing for the climate is our consumption of beef. Swedes eat most cheese and milk in the world and should, on the whole, cut down on dairy products for the climate. Reduce sugar, salt and alcohol. These foods generally do not contribute to our health and are a burden on the earth's resources. In large doses they are unhealthy.</div> <div>​<br /></div> </div> <br />Tue, 07 Jan 2020 00:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Filtered-coffee-helps-prevent-type-2-diabetes.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Filtered-coffee-helps-prevent-type-2-diabetes.aspxFiltered coffee helps prevent type 2 diabetes, show biomarkers in blood samples<p><b>​Coffee can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes – but only filtered coffee, rather than boiled coffee. New research from Chalmers University of Technology and Umeå University, both in Sweden, show that the choice of preparation method influences the health effects of coffee.</b></p>​Many previous studies have shown a connection between high coffee intake and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Now, a study from Chalmers University of Technology and Umeå University, offers new insight into this connection, using a novel method to help differentiate between the effects of filtered coffee and boiled coffee. <br /><br />“We have identified specific molecules – ‘biomarkers’ – in the blood of those taking part in the study, which indicate the intake of different sorts of coffee. These biomarkers are then used for analysis when calculating type 2 diabetes risk. Our results now clearly show that filtered coffee has a positive effect in terms of reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But boiled coffee does not have this effect,” says Rikard Landberg, Professor in Food Science at Chalmers, and Affiliated Professor at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine at Umeå University. <br /><br />With the use of these biomarkers, the researchers were able to show that people who drank two to three cups of filtered coffee a day had a 60% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who drank less than one cup of filtered coffee a day. Consumption of boiled coffee had no effect on the diabetes risk in the study. <br /><br />Filtered coffee is the most common method of preparation in many places, including the US and Scandinavia. Boiled coffee in this case refers to an alternative method of coffee preparation sometimes used in Sweden and some other countries, in which coarse ground coffee is simply added directly to boiling water and left to brew for a few minutes. All the data used in the research came from a group of Swedish subjects and was collected in the early 1990s.<br /><br />According to Rikard Landberg, many people wrongly believe that coffee has only negative effects on health. This could be because previous studies have shown that boiled coffee increases the risk of heart and vascular diseases, due to the presence of diterpenes, a type of molecule found in boiled coffee. <br /><br />“But it has been shown that when you filter coffee, the diterpenes are captured in the filter. As a result, you get the health benefits of the many other molecules present, such as different phenolic substances. In moderate amounts, caffeine also has positive health effects,” he says. <br /><br />The question is whether diterpenes also negatively influence sugar metabolism and are therefore the cause of why boiled coffee does not help lower the risk of diabetes, in the way that filter coffee does. The researchers still cannot say the exact nature of the link. <br /><br />Many other types of coffee preparation were not specifically investigated in the study, such as instant, espresso, cafetière, and percolator coffee. These types of coffee were not common among the Swedish study population when the data was collected.<br /><br />But given that espresso coffee, from classic espresso machines or the now popular coffee-pods, is also brewed without filters, Rikard Landberg believes the health effects could therefore be similar to boiled coffee, in terms of the risk of type 2 diabetes. Coffee made in a cafetière, or French press, is prepared in a similar way to boiled coffee, so it may also not have the positive effect of reducing type 2 diabetes risk. It is unclear whether instant coffee, the most popular type in the UK, would be more similar to filtered or boiled coffee in this respect.   <br /><br />But the researchers are careful to note that no conclusions can be drawn yet regarding these other preparation methods. Rickard Landberg also stresses that the health impacts of coffee do not depend solely on if it is filtered or not. They also vary with how the coffee beans, and the drink in general, are managed. <br /><br />To differentiate the diabetes risk for boiled and filtered coffee, a new technique called metabolomics was used, in combination with classic dietary questionnaires. Metabolomics makes it possible to identify the blood concentration of specific molecules from a given food or drink and use that as an objective measurement of intake – instead of simply relying on self-reported intakes from the questionnaires, which are prone to large errors.  <br /><br />“Metabolomics is a fantastic tool, not just for capturing the intake of specific foods and drinks, but also for studying the effects that that intake has on people’s metabolism. We can derive important information on the mechanisms behind how certain foods influence disease risk,” says Lin Shi, Postdoctoral researcher and the lead author of the study. <br /><br /><strong>Different types of coffee and geographic examples </strong><br />Filtered coffee refers to methods in which finely ground coffee beans are placed in a filter, and then water passes through, either in a machine or manually. Boiled coffee is made with coarsely ground coffee beans which are then added directly to the water. This method also includes Turkish and Greek coffee. In the USA, filtered coffee is the most common variety, while instant coffee dominates in the UK. Espresso-based drinks are most common in Southern Europe. Turkish coffee is popular in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. <br /><br /><strong>More about the study</strong><br />The study was a case-control study nested in a prospective cohort in the Västerbotten region of northern Sweden between 1991 and 2005. Participants answered questionnaires about eating habits and lifestyle. They also left blood samples which were stored frozen. From those who took part, a total of 421 people were identified who, after around 7 years, had developed type 2 diabetes. They were compared with 421 healthy control subjects. The original blood samples were then analysed. In addition, blood samples that had been provided ten years after the first blood samples were analysed for 149 of the case-control pairs.<br /><br />Read the paper <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/joim.13009">Plasma metabolite biomarkers of boiled and filtered coffee intake and their association with type 2 diabetes risk</a><br /><div><br /></div> <div>Text: Susanne Nilsson Lindh and Johanna Wilde<br /></div>Tue, 17 Dec 2019 07:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/ERC-grant-for-next-generation-DNA-repair-analysis.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/ERC-grant-for-next-generation-DNA-repair-analysis.aspxERC-grant for next generation DNA-repair analysis<p><b>How is damaged DNA repaired, and why are there sometimes errors in the process? Fredrik Westerlund, Professor in Chemical Biology, receives the prestigious ERC Consolidator grant to investigate these mechanisms using nanotechnology tools.</b></p>Fredrik Westerlund at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering is one of two researchers at Chalmers to receive the prestigious research grant ERC Consolidator for his project “Next Generation Nanofluidics for Single Molecule Analysis of DNA Repair Dynamics” (nanoDNArepair). The ERC grants are financed by the European Research Council and are awarded yearly to the most eminent researchers in Europe. Fredrik Westerlund is awarded two million Euros for a five-year project. <br /><br /><strong>Research with great relevance</strong><br />“It makes me very happy to receive this grant. This is proof of my research having great relevance and that it can make a difference. This will also open many doors for collaborations, which can make the research and results even better,” says Fredrik Westerlund.  <br /><br /><strong>Interactions between DNA and proteins</strong><br />The project is divided into two parts, one part is method development for investigating interactions between DNA and proteins, focusing on the ends of the DNA. <br /><br />“We want to investigate how proteins and DNA interact, and focus on how just one protein, or a small group of proteins, interact with single DNA-molecules. This is how the processes function in our cells,” says Fredrik Westerlund. <br /><br /><strong>New method based on nanofluidics</strong><br />The new method is based on nanofluidics where single DNA-molecules are studied in nanochannels, thin glass tubes, using fluorescence microscopy. In the nanochannels the DNA-molecules are stretched out, in contrast to in free solution where they are wrapped like a ball of yarn. <br /><br />“When using other methods for single DNA molecule analysis, the ends need to be attached to something. That makes it impossible to study what happens in these areas. The ends are very relevant to study, especially for DNA repair analysis. In our nanochannels the DNA is suspended free in solution and the whole molecule can be examined. Now we want to find ways to add proteins to the DNA in the nanochannels in real time to characterise how they interact with the DNA,” says Fredrik Westerlund. <br /><br /><strong>Focus on mechanisms of DNA-repair</strong><br />In the biochemical part of the project focus lies on the mechanisms of the repair of broken DNA. The DNA in our cells can break, which is a naturally occurring process, but also happens when treating cells with, for example, radiation or chemotherapy. In all cells there are therefore protein systems that repair DNA, but things can go wrong in the process. <br /><br />DNA that has not been correctly repaired can result in genetic information being lost or modified, which can lead to that the cell will misfunction. This could lead to cells dying, but more importantly, two mismatched DNA ends linked can result in wrong genetic information, which in turn can be an underlying reason for disease, for example cancer. <br /><br /><strong>Project can contribute to drug development</strong><br />The focus of Fredrik Westerlund’s research will be one of two main mechanisms for repairing DNA-breaks, so called Non-Homologous End-Joining (NHEJ). During this process a fracture in the DNA is repaired without having a template, and any loose ends can be joined. This is a common repair process in all life forms, but it can go wrong. <br /><br />Besides contributing to the general knowledge about these mechanisms the project nanoDNArepair can contribute to drug development in the long run, for example better treatment of cancer or bacterial infections. <br /><br /><strong>Turn off NHEJ in tumor cells</strong><br />“Even though this project is fundamental research the results can eventually be applied. Cytostatic drugs and radiation therapy aim to damage DNA in tumor cells. NHEJ continuously fights back and repairs the damaged DNA in the tumor cells. If we could turn off NHEJ in the tumor cells the effect could be that less drugs or radiation is needed, which would give less side effects in other cells,” says Fredrik Westerlund. <br /><br /><strong>Target NHEJ in bacteria</strong><br />In bacteria new antibiotics could target the NHEJ-system. For example, studies have shown that latent tuberculosis is depending on a functioning NHEJ-system to rest in the body over a long period of time. <br /><br /><strong>Show the breadth of nanofluidics</strong><br />“It is very inspiring to lead a project of this magnitude, based on both development of new techniques and then using these techniques to answer important questions in biophysics and biochemistry. We are one of few groups in the world that use nanofluidics for this purpose, so I am happy that the ERC sees the same potential of the method as I do. An important part of this project for me will be to show the breadth of the method for application in other research areas than DNA repair,” says Fredrik Westerlund. <br /><br />Facts: <strong>Nanofluidic</strong><strong>s</strong><strong></strong><br /><ul><li>Nanofluidics is a research field that is made possible by the development of methods and machines for manufacturing of very small items. These were originally intended for fabricating tiny computer transistors but have now also found use in completely different fields of research. </li> <li>In the bio-nanofluidics field channels of ~100nm in height and width are fabricated, where bio-molecules can be “trapped”. Large DNA-molecules are forced to stretch in order to accommodate to the small volume.</li> <li>The method is used widely in the scientific community, all the way from genetics to fundamental issues addressed in nanoDNArepair.</li></ul> <div>Besides Fredrik Westerlund,<span style="display:inline-block"></span> Åsa Haglund Professor at the Photonics Laboratory at MC2, managed to get an ERC Consolidator Grant in this round.</div> <div><a href="/en/departments/mc2/news/Pages/MC2-researcher-gets-major-grant-from-The-European-Research-Council.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read an interview with Åsa Haglund</a><br /></div> <div><br /></div> Text: Susanne Nilsson Lindh<br />Photo: Johan BodellTue, 10 Dec 2019 12:05:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/New-Wallenberg-Academy-Fellow-2019.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/New-Wallenberg-Academy-Fellow-2019.aspxNew Wallenberg Academy Fellow seeks to prevent neurodegenerative disorders<p><b>​Elin Esbjörner, Associate professor at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, leads a research group focusing on understanding why nerve cells in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease degenerate. Can the answer be that the internal transport systems of neurons become hijacked by disease-causing proteins?  Elin Esbjörner has been appointed Wallenberg Academy Fellow 2019 and will now develop her research to address this important question.</b></p>​Cells use an intricate transport system to sort and transport proteins and other important biomolecules.  The transport system consists of endosomes that encapsulate the cargo and direct its transport. Elin Esbjörner has previously demonstrated that a protein, beta-amyloid, which researchers know is involved in the development of Alzheimer’s, accumulates in the nerve cells’ endosomes. Inside the endosomes, the protein molecules then change and clump together. <br /><br />With the project that now receives support from the career development programme Wallenberg Academy Fellows, Elin Esbjörner’s research group will focus on obtaining better understanding of how the transport system functions and how it cross talks with proteins that form clumps. They believe this may be of key importance to understand the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s and similar brain disorders. <br /><br />“Many people today live longer lives, but as our brains age, there is also an increased risk of suffering from neurodegenerative disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting an estimated 40 million people worldwide. I hope that our research, in longer term, can contribute knowledge to further the development of future preventive and disease-modifying treatments,” says Elin Esbjörner.<br /><br />To prevent dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders, it is important to protect nerve cells from dying. The research group will use fluorescent molecules and advanced image analysis to study the interplay between the formation of protein clumps and defects to neuronal transport systems. To enable this, new analytical tools are needed.  Elin Esbjörner says that it is important for their research that the group is affiliated with Chalmers.  <br /><br />“These are complex problems to study; both the protein clumps and the endosomes are highly dynamic and we need new techniques to study them and to understand their interplay in full. Chalmers offers a great environment for this, we can work in an interdisciplinary environment and be inspired and collaborate with other research groups, for example in Chemistry and Physics.”<br />  <br />Elin Esbjörner har a MSc degree in Biotechnology and a PhD in Biophysical Chemistry from Chalmers. She did her postdoc in Cambridge 2008-2011. Since 2012, Elin has been a researcher and group leader at Chalmers.  My research career within neuroscience started during my postdoc in Cambridge. During this time, I got interested in the protein aggregation problem, and I got the first inspirations and ideas that underlie the research question my group addresses today. I am delighted to have become Wallenberg Academy Fellow and now be able to scale up and focus on this research long-term. <br /><br />Wallenberg Academy Fellows is a career program for Sweden’s most promising young researchers. This year, 29 elected fellows from different disciplines receive grants to take their research forward.  <br />“I am honoured to become a Wallenberg Academy Fellow. I see it as a recognition that the research activities I have established are important. I am also immensely proud of the work my research group has done so far, and thankful for their contribution to this achievement. This grant gives us a great opportunity to focus for a longer period of time, which I believe is an important aspect to obtaining new knowledge,” says Elin Esbjörner.<br /><br />The grant from the Wallenberg Academy Fellowship is 7,5 million SEK for 5 years, with a possibility of extended support.<br /><br />Witlef Wieczorek and Klas Modin at Chalmers are also appointed as Wallenberg Academy Fellows in 2019.<br /><br />Text: Julia Jansson<br /><div>Photo: Martina Butorac</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="http://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/mc2/news/Pages/Wieczorek-WAF.aspx" style="background-color:transparent;box-sizing:border-box;font-size:14px;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;font-weight:600;letter-spacing:normal;outline-style:none;outline-width:0px;text-align:left;text-decoration:underline;text-indent:0px;text-transform:none;white-space:normal;word-spacing:0px"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read the whole interview with Witlef Wieczorek</a></div> <div><br /><a href="http://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/math/news/Pages/The-mathematics-of-shape-is-addressed-by-new-Wallenberg-Academy-Fellow.aspx" style="background-color:transparent;box-sizing:border-box;font-size:14px;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;font-weight:600;letter-spacing:normal;outline-style:none;outline-width:0px;text-align:left;text-decoration:underline;text-indent:0px;text-transform:none;white-space:normal;word-spacing:0px"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read the whole interview with Klas Modin</a></div>Tue, 03 Dec 2019 10:15:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Breakthrough-results-for-flavonoid-production-in-yeast.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Breakthrough-results-for-flavonoid-production-in-yeast.aspxBreakthrough results for flavonoid production in yeast<p><b>​Flavonoids and alkaloids are important in the pharmaceutical and food industry. Therefore, large-scale production of these nature products is desirable, but it is challenging. Now researchers at Chalmers have made a breakthrough, with the help of modified yeast.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Aromatic chemicals, such as flavonoids and alkaloids, are widely used in the industry as flavors, fragrances, pigments, food additives, nutraceuticals, and pharmaceuticals. </span><div><br /></div> <div>They are naturally occurring in plants, but there are many disadvantages with extraction of the chemicals from their native plant sources. Among other things they accumulate at low levels and purification requires separation from a multiple of other compounds of similar structure. This is an inefficient and expensive process. Also, chemical synthesis of these complex molecules is not considered commercially feasible. Microbial production of these products, in so called cell factories, is therefore an alternative.  </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>&quot;An outstanding challange&quot;​</strong></div> <div>“It is regarded as a safe, cost-competitive and scalable approach. However, microbial production of these aromatic amino acid (AAA)-derived products remains an outstanding challenge. This is because heterologous pathways, as opposed to native metabolism, always suffer from having low efficiency, by-product competition, and insufficient precursor supply, which all hinder the construction of robust cell factories,” says Yun Chen, Senior Researcher, at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Optimising yeast as​ cell factories</strong></div> <div>Yun Chen and Post Doc Quanli Liu have recently published research results in the scientific publication Nature Communications. There they present their work optimising Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baking yeast) as cell factories for large scale production of flavonoids and alkaloids. The big advantage of using baking yeast is that it is frequently used in science as a model organism. There is a lot of research done on its metabolism, and it could provide similar eukaryotic cell environment for optimal expression of plant enzymes.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“For example, the cytochrome P450 oxidases that are key catalysts in most, if not all, of these plant-based biosynthetic pathways, are enzymes that are often anchored in the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. They are inherently difficult to functionally express in prokaryotic microorganisms, such as bacteria, that lack these organelles,” says Quanli Liu.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Increase the flux through bottlenecks</strong></div> <div>One of the bottlenecks for biosynthesis of aromatic compounds is the AAA biosynthetic pathway. The flux through the AAA biosynthesis is highly regulated, and thus these amino acids are normally much less abundant than other amino acids.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> “Through systematical engineering and the aid of synthetic biology tools we have significantly enhanced the flux through the AAA biosynthetic pathway,” says Yun Chen.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The flux has been increased more than double, reaching a productivity more than 100 mg per liter per hour without fermentation optimization. This is already quite close to the criteria of industrial relevance in terms cost-efficiency for production of many these compounds.</div> <div> </div> <div><strong>Significant step for industrial biomanufacturing</strong></div> <div>With this established platform, the researchers can easily plug in many different plant pathways for production of different flavonoids and alkaloids. Further optimization may well be required, as the metabolism needs to be fine-tuned to maximize the yield and productivity for each different product. </div> <div><br /></div> <div> “However, this work represents a significant step for industrial biomanufacturing of these important aromatic compounds, making it more achievable,” says Quanli Liu.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Read the article in Nature Commons:</strong> <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12961-5">Rewiring carbon metabolism in yeast for high level production of aromatic chemicals</a>. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Text:</strong> Susanne Nilsson Lindh</div> <div><strong>Photo:</strong> Martina Butorac</div> <div><br /></div> Thu, 28 Nov 2019 08:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Her-vision-Early-detection-of-Parkinsons-Disease.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Her-vision-Early-detection-of-Parkinsons-Disease.aspxHer vision: Early detection of Parkinson’s Disease<p><b>​Research shows that neurodegenerative diseases are linked to proteins forming plaques in the brain. Why these plaques are formed is not yet known. Alexandra Paul, researcher at Chalmers, believes that lipid droplets are involved in the process.</b></p>​Alexandra Paul is specialized in molecular microscopy. As a PhD student at the Department for Biology and Biological Engineering and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, she studied the involvement of lipids, fat molecules, in the development of obesity related diseases, using and developing advanced microscopy techniques. <br /><br />“In the end of my PhD I was wondering: what can I do with my knowledge and these techniques? I realized there is quite a big gap in the understanding of the role of lipid droplets in neurodegeneration. That is the loss of structure or function of neurons, nerve cells in the brain, often resulting in the cells dying. Researchers know that lipids are important in the brain, but nobody has studied the role of intracellular lipids in detail,” says Alexandra Paul. <br /><br />She wanted to change that and applied for, and received, the Swedish Research Council’s grant for an International postdoc 2019. Her project will run for three years at the University of Texas at Austin and at the division of Chemical Biology at Chalmers. <br /><br /><strong>No known cure today</strong><br />Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS, can cause great suffering, both for the affected persons and their families. Hallmark of these diseases are aggregation and accumulation of proteins into so-called plaques in the brain. <br /><br />When the plaques are detected, the disease is in an advanced stage, and parts of the brain have already died. Today, there is no known cure for neurodegenerative diseases. With an increasing and aging world population the number of diagnosed patients is expected to rise in the upcoming decades.<br /> <br />“To make a difference, treatment would have to start on people that don’t have any symptoms yet, therefore a method for early diagnoses is crucial. I want to find markers that can be detected earlier than the plaques. The hypothesis behind my project is that intracellular lipid droplet accumulation in the brain could be an indicator of a dramatic shift in the health status of the brain,” says Alexandra Paul. <br /><br /><strong>Focus on lipid droplet interactions </strong><br />Her project focuses on the lipid droplet interactions with α-synuclein (αS), a protein found in plaques in Parkinson’s disease. Studies have shown that lipids in cell membranes can affect the aggregation of αS. Recent studies have also discovered lipid droplets adjacent to αS-plaques in cells with Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, lipid droplets have been indicated to occur as a stress response to oxidative stress during neurodegeneration. <br /><br />“I believe that lipid droplets form in different cell types in the brain when they are stressed, and that the lipid droplets increase the speed of aggregation of the αS-protein, which leads to progression of neurodegeneration,” says Alexandra Paul. <br /><br />She will use an advanced microscopy technique, called hyperspectral coherent Raman scattering (CRS), to investigate the interactions of lipid droplets and the αS-protein on a molecular level in different cells. <br /><br /><strong>“Visual results appealing”</strong><br />“I started to study chemistry because I am really interested in basic science processes. And I got more and more interested in techniques, optics, and looking at things. I find molecular microscopy very appealing since the results are visual,” says Alexandra Paul. <br /><br />The CRS-technique is only available in approximately ten universities around the world, the University of Texas at Austin being one of them. It is based on a dye-free method displaying the characteristic intrinsic vibrational contrast of molecules. The advantage of this technique is that the lipids and proteins are not affected by an added color, which can change the physical properties of the molecules, or even be toxic.<br /> <br /><strong>Important to make a difference</strong><br />Alexandra Paul’s goal is to provide a first overview of the link between lipid droplets and protein aggregation in the brain. <br /><br /> “My research will not give us a new medicine in a near future. But it might be a piece of the puzzle of understanding how neurodegenerative diseases progress. I work in fundamental research, but it has always been important to me to connect my work to health and disease. Science like this could, in the long run, lead to new medicines and treatments,” she says. <br /><br /><br />Text: Susanne Nilsson Lindh<br />Photo: Martina Butorac<br /><br /><strong>About the Swedish Research Council’s (Vetenskapsrådets) grant for International postdoc</strong><br />The purpose of the grant is to give newly qualified researchers with a doctoral degree from a Swedish higher education institution the opportunity to expand their networks and their competences by working under secure employment conditions.Wed, 20 Nov 2019 12:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Innovation-Award-for-cancer-diagnostics.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Innovation-Award-for-cancer-diagnostics.aspxInnovation Award for cancer diagnostics<p><b>​Sweden’s largest innovation award, Skapapriset, has been awarded the former Chalmers doctoral student Francesco Gatto for his method for early detection of recurrence of cancer.</b></p>​<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/SysBio/Francesco_Gatto15_200.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Francesco Gatto" style="margin:5px;width:160px;height:202px" />Skapapriset is awarded inventors as a support to develop their ideas. Francesco Gatto, former doctoral student (2012–2015)​ and Guest Researcher at Chalmers University of Technology , was awarded one of three award classes, the most prestigious, a prize of 500,000 SEK.  <br /><br />In 2017 Francesco Gatto founded the life science company Elypta, where the method for diagnosis is developed, together with Professor Jens Nielsen at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering. Today he works as the Chief Scientific Officer at the company. <br /><br />Francesco Gatto’s diagnostic method can detect cancer at an early stage of development by analysing biomarkers in blood or urine samples. Using this method can improve the cancer survival rates and avoid diagnostic methods such as biopsies and x-rays. <br /><br />Karl Bergman, CEO at Elypta, received the award in Francesco Gatto’s name at the award ceremony 14 November 2019. <br /><br /><strong>Motivation of the jury: </strong><br />“Survival rates in cancer has improved, although this disease has not yet been completely defeated. It is known that some cancer patients will experience recurrence. Early detection can increase the likelihood of survival and save resources for society. This year's award winner has developed a diagnostic method, through a blood or urine test, for early detection of cancer recurrence. It is gentle on the patient who does not have to go through biopsies and x-rays. In 2020, the product will be launched for research applications. The first product intended for patients will be for detection of kidney cancer, but the test is more or less general and will be developed for other tumour forms &quot;<br /><br /><strong>Facts: Skapapriset</strong><br /><ul><li>Skapapriset is Sweden's largest innovation award, with the aim of providing support to inventors to develop their ideas.</li> <li>Skapa is a foundation founded in 1985, in the memory of Alfred Nobel.</li> <li>The foundation is established by Stockholmsmässan and Svenska uppfinnareföreningen (The Swedish Inventors' Association), supported by Almi Företagspartner AB, Vinnova, the Agne Johansson Memorial Foundation and the Swedish Patent and Registration Office.</li></ul> <div><span>Earlier this year, Francesco Gatto was awarded the Karin Markide Innovation Prize in 2019. He received this award for the method he has developed that makes it possible to detect cancer at an earlier stage using the patient's blood or urine – which can provide a better and more individualized treatment.<br /><br />In September, the spin-off company from Chalmers University of Technology, Elypta, was awarded the Nordic Life Science Award 2019 for these diagnostic methods.<br /></span></div> <div><span><br />Text: Susanne Nilsson Lindh<br />Photo: Elise Florman and Martina Butorac<span style="display:inline-block"></span></span><br /></div> <br /><strong>Read more about Francesco Gatto and Elypta</strong><br /><a href="/en/news/Pages/innovation-award-for-new-cancer-method.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Innovation award for new cancer method</a> <br /><a href="/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Awarded-for-cancer-detection-method.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Awarded for cancer detection method</a><br /><a href="https://elypta.com/" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />More about Elypta</a><br />Mon, 18 Nov 2019 16:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Researcher-at-Chalmers-finalist-in-Researchers-Grand-Prix.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Researcher-at-Chalmers-finalist-in-Researchers-Grand-Prix.aspxChalmers researcher finalist in Researchers’ Grand Prix<p><b>​In Researchers’ Grand Prix researchers must present their research in a captivating, inspiring and educational way - in just four minutes. Oliver Konzock, PhD at Chalmers University of Technology, is one of the finalists.</b></p>​“When preparing a presentation, I picture how I would explain it to my grandma, who never studied science. If she can follow what I am saying, then most people should,” says Oliver Konzock. <br /><br />He is a PhD at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and one of eight finalists in Researchers’ Grand Prix. His presentation skills will be tested at the final in Stockholm, 26 November 2019. Together, an expert jury and the audience at the event vote on a winner. <br /><br /><strong>An opportunity to evaluate course in communication</strong><br />“As part of my PhD program I have taken a course in Advanced communication for the public, and now I have a good opportunity to test and improve my presentation techniques. I hope to learn a trick here and there from the other participants. Additionally, it is a great chance to present my research and my field in science in general,” says Oliver Konzock. <br /><br /><strong>Food oil and sustainability</strong><br />His research at the Division of Systems and Synthetic Biology focuses on applying a variety of biotechnological tools to engineer yeast to produce food oil equivalents. Finding these equivalents is important since a growing world population results in a growing demand of food oils such as palm oil. To cover those demands vast areas of rainforest are being destroyed every year to make space for palm oil plantations. With yeast as an oil producer the demand could be covered in a more sustainable way. <br /><br />One of the advantages in communicating Oliver Konzock’s project is that it is simple to break down into understandable units. <br /><br />“Everyone can picture yeast, everyone can picture food oil and a lot of people know about the environmental issues involved in palm oil production,” he says. <br /><br /><strong>Avoid false perceptions of science</strong><br />Other research projects can be more abstract, but Oliver Konzock still believes that it is worth the effort to try to explain complex research to the public. <br /> “I think that researchers focus too much on just doing research and talking to other researchers. It is, of course, important to communicate your results to other scientists through for example scientific papers and conferences, but I think it is also very important to keep in touch with the public. It is the only way to prevent people from having false perceptions of science, or even being afraid of scientific progress, for instance believing that vaccines cause autism,” says Oliver Konzock. <br /><br /><br />Text: Susanne Nilsson Lindh<br />Photo: Martina Butorac<br /><br /><br /><strong>Facts: Researchers’ Grand Prix</strong><br /><ul><li>In Researchers Grand Prix, researchers compete to make the most understandable, captivating and inspiring presentation of their research in four minutes. </li> <li>Participants must work with research in the private or public sector in Sweden. </li> <li>The target audience is the general public, primarily teenagers and young adult.</li> <li>The purpose is, among other things, to give research communication a higher status and more attention. </li> <li>Six finalists from regional competitions, and two finalists from the digital contest N.Ö.R.D. (National Open Nationwide Contest) participate in the final in Stockholm 26 November 2019.</li> <li>Oliver Konzock was one of the two finalists from N.Ö.R.D., where researchers from throughout Sweden competed for a spot in the final by submitting a video presentation of themselves and their research. </li> <li>The finale of Researchers’ Grand Prix is arranged by Vetenskap &amp; Allmänhet, VA, an independent Swedish non-profit membership organization that works to promote dialogue and openness between researchers and the public, together with the research councils Formas, Forte, The Swedish Research Council and Vinnova. </li> <li>Read more about <a href="https://forskargrandprix.se/researchers-grand-prix/">Researchers’ Grand Prix</a> </li></ul>Thu, 14 Nov 2019 10:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/Light-at-the-end-of-the-nano-tunnel-for-future-catalysts.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/Light-at-the-end-of-the-nano-tunnel-for-future-catalysts.aspxLight at the end of the nanotunnel for catalysts of the future<p><b>Using a new type of nanoreactor, researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have succeeded in mapping catalytic reactions on individual metallic nanoparticles. Their work could help improve chemical processes, and lead to better catalysts and more environmentally friendly chemical technology. The results are published in the journal Nature Communications. ​​​</b></p><div><div><span style="background-color:initial">Catalysts increase the rate of chemical reactions. </span><span style="background-color:initial">They play a vital role in many important industrial processes, from making fuels to medicines, to helping limit harmful vehicle emissions.</span><span style="background-color:initial"> They are also essential building blocks for new, sustainable technologies like fuel cells, where electricity is generated through a reaction between oxygen and hydrogen. Catalysts can also contribute to breaking down environmental toxins, through cleaning water of poisonous chemicals, for example. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>To design more effective catalysts for the future, fundamental knowledge is needed, such as understanding catalysis at the level of individual active catalytic particles. <span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>To visualise the problem of understanding catalytic reactions today, imagine a crowd at a football match, where a number of spectators light up flares. The smoke spreads rapidly through the crowd, and once a smoke cloud has formed, it is almost impossible to say who actually lit the flares, or how powerfully each one is burning. The chemical reactions in catalysis occur in a comparable way. Millions of individual particles are involved, and it is currently very difficult to track and determine the roles of each specific one – how effective they are, how much each has contributed to the reaction. <span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>To better understand the catalytic process, it is necessary to investigate it at the level of individual nanoparticles. The new nanoreactor has allowed the Chalmers researchers to do exactly this. The reactor consists of around 50 glass nanotunnels filled with liquid, arranged in parallel. In each tunnel the researchers placed a single gold nanoparticle. Though they are of similar size, each nanoparticle has varied catalytic qualities – some are highly effective, others decidedly less optimal. To be able to discern how size and nanostructure influence catalysis, the researchers measured catalysis on the particles individually. <span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/350x305/Sune%20Levin_foto_Kristofer%20Jakobsson%20350x305.jpg" alt="" style="margin:1px 10px;width:200px;height:174px" /><div>“We sent into the nanotunnels two types of molecules, which react with each other. One molecule type is fluorescent and emits light. The light is only extinguished when it meets a partner of the second type on the surface of the nanoparticles, and a chemical reaction between the molecules occurs. Observing this extinction of the ’light at the end of the nanotunnel’, downstream of the nanoparticles, allowed us to track and measure the efficiency of each nanoparticle at catalysing the chemical reaction,” says Sune Levin, Doctoral Student at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology at Chalmers University of Technology, and lead author of the scientific article.<span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div>He carried out the experiments under the supervision of Professors Fredrik Westerlund and Christoph Langhammer. The new nanoreactor is a result of a broad collaboration between researchers at several different departments at Chalmers.</div> <img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/350x305/Fredrik%20Westerlund_foto_Peter_Sandin_350x305.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:174px" /><div><br /> <span style="background-color:initial">“Effective catalysis is essential for both the synthesis and decomposition of chemicals. For example, catalysts are necessary for manufacturing plastics, medicines, and fuels in the best way, and effectively breaking down environmental toxins,” says Fredrik Westerlund, Professor at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology.</span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>Developing better catalyst materials is necessary for a sustainable future and there are big social and economic gains to be made. <span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/350x305/ChristophLanghammerfarg350x305.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px 8px;width:200px;height:174px" /><div>“In the chemical industry for example, making certain processes just a few per cent more effective could translate to significantly increased revenue, as well as drastically reduced environmental impacts,” says research project leader Christoph Langhammer, Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers. </div></div> <div> </div> <div><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12458-1"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read the scientific article.​​</a><br /></div> <div><a href="http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/chalmers/pressreleases/light-at-the-end-of-the-nanotunnel-for-future-catalysts-2942083"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read the press release and download high resolution images.​​​​</a><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><br /></div> <div><span style="color:rgb(33, 33, 33);font-weight:700;background-color:transparent">Text: </span><span style="color:rgb(33, 33, 33);background-color:initial">Joshua Worth,</span><a href="mailto:joshua.worth@chalmers.se"> joshua.worth@chalmers.se</a><span style="color:rgb(33, 33, 33);background-color:initial">​ and </span><span style="color:rgb(33, 33, 33);background-color:transparent">Mia Halleröd Palmgren, </span><a href="mailto:mia.hallerodpalmgren@chalmers.se">mia.hallerodpalmgren@chalmers.se</a><span style="color:rgb(33, 33, 33);background-color:transparent"> ​</span><br /></div> <div> <a href="mailto:mia.hallerodpalmgren@chalmers.se"></a></div> <div><strong>Photos:</strong> Kristofer Jakobsson (Sune Levin), Peter Sandin (Fredrik Westerlund) och Henrik Sandsjö (Christoph Langhammer). <span style="background-color:initial">​</span></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span style="font-family:inherit;background-color:initial">For more information, contact: </span><br /></h2> <div><strong><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/fredrik-westerlund.aspx">Fredrik Westerlund​</a></strong>, <span style="background-color:initial">Professor at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology, Chalmers University of Technology, </span><span style="background-color:initial">+ 46 31 772 30 49, </span><a href="mailto:fredrik.westerlund@chalmers.se">fredrik.westerlund@chalmers.se</a></div> <div> </div> <div><strong><a href="/en/staff/Pages/Sune-Levin.aspx">Sune Levin</a></strong>, <span style="background-color:initial">Doctoral Student, Department of Biology and Biotechnology, Chalmers University of Technology<br /></span><span style="background-color:initial">+ 46 76 242 92 68, </span><a href="mailto:lsune@chalmers.se">lsune@chalmers.se </a></div> <div> </div> <div><strong><a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/Christoph-Langhammer.aspx">Christoph Langhammer</a></strong>, <span style="background-color:initial">Professor, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, </span><span style="background-color:initial">+46 31 772 33 31, </span><a href="mailto:clangham@chalmers.se">clangham@chalmers.se​</a></div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More on the res​earch behind the discovery: </h2> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The scientific article</span> <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-12458-1">&quot;A nanofluidic device for parallel single nanoparticle catalysis in solution&quot; </a><span style="background-color:initial">was published in Nature Communications. It was written by Sune Levin, Joachim Fritzsche, Sara Nilsson, August Runemark, Bhausaheb Dhokale, Henrik Ström, Henrik Sundén, Christoph Langhammer and Fredrik Westerlund. The researchers are active in the Departments of Biology and Biotechnology, Physics, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, as well as Mechanics and Maritime Sciences. The project originated from the framework of the current Nano Excellence Initiative at Chalmers (formerly the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Area of Advance).</span></div> <div> </div> <div>The research was funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the European Research Council.<span style="background-color:initial">​</span></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More on catalysis</h2> <div>Catalysis is the process by which a catalyst is involved in a chemical reaction. In a catalyst, metal nanoparticles are often some of the most crucial active ingredients, because the chemical reactions take place on their surface. The best-known example is probably the three-way catalytic converter found in cars, which mitigates harmful emissions. Catalysis is also widely used in industry at large scale and has a key role to play in new sustainable energy technologies, such as fuel cells. To develop catalysts for the future, new and effective materials are needed. It is therefore necessary to be able to identify how the size, shape, nanostructure and chemical composition of individual nanoparticles affects their performance in a catalyst. </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">​More on the nanoreactor</h2> <div><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Illustration av nanoreaktor" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/350x305/Nanotunnlar%20350x305%20webb.jpg" style="width:200px;height:174px;background-color:initial" /><div>​A nanoreactor developed at Chalmers visualises the activity of individual catalytic nanoparticles. To identify the efficiency of each particle in the catalytic process, the researchers isolated individual gold nanoparticles in separate nanotunnels. They then sent in two kinds of molecules that react with each other on the particles’ surfaces. One molecule (fluorescein) is fluorescent and when it meets its partner molecule (borohydride) the light emission stops upon reaction between the two. This makes it possible to track the catalytic process​.</div></div> <div>​<br /></div>Wed, 13 Nov 2019 07:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/She-turns-1000-pupils-into-scientists.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/She-turns-1000-pupils-into-scientists.aspxShe turns 1000 pupils into scientists<p><b>​What scientist would say no to an extra pair of hands? Or a thousand? Not Karin Jonsson, researcher at Chalmers University of Technology. She takes part in the school project Help a Scientist, with the aim to find out more about young people’s eating habits.</b></p>​Eating more whole grain benefits public health. Research show that a high intake of whole grain is among the dietary factors with strongest potential to lower the risk of developing our most common diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer. Still, in Sweden nine out of ten eat too little whole grain. Among young people only 6 per cent eat the recommended amount, and the intake of sugar is too high. <br /><br />Karin Jonsson wants to change this through her research at the division of Food and Nutrition Science at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering. She views this project as a step in the right direction. <br /><br />“Getting in direct contact with this important target group, and simultaneously making a thousand pupils into co-scientists, and co-analysts, presents a unique possibility. We can find out why they don’t choose healthy alternatives, and what has to be done for that to happen,” says Karin Jonsson. <br /><br /><strong>Many obstacles for eating healthy<br /></strong>Every year the Nobel Prize Museum arranges Help a Scientist where Swedish universities and colleges are given the opportunity to collaborate with schools and pupils. The project is funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research. <br /><br />This year’s project is called The Whole Grain Hunt and includes an extensive survey where over 1000 pupils from 28 Swedish schools answer questions about their eating habits and health, focusing on whole grain and sugar. In addition, there has been preference and perception tests performed on bread and different sugars. The preliminary results show, among other things, that there are many obstacles for young people to eat healthy.<br /><br /><strong>Important to affect group with great power<br /></strong>“We are not surprised by those results, but the unique perspective of the survey are the analyses and conclusions made by the pupils themselves. The target group analyses the results and helps us identify what they need, regarding for example availability and product design, to make healthier choices,” says Karin Jonsson and continues: <br /><br />“This is a group with great power. They may not only be influenced in their own target group, but their ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ also affect their parents and siblings. Furthermore, they are the consumers of the future. If we influence and affect them, we could make a great difference for public health.”<br /><br />Karin Jonsson wants her research to make a difference. Her goal is to impact society, and Help a Scientist hits the bull’s eye. There is a great interest in the results from the project, and she has already been in dialogue with actors such as The Swedish Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) and several food industries, that are eager to take part of the results. <br /><br /><strong>Hope to inspire young scientist </strong><br />Besides providing researchers with results the Nobel Prize Museum hope to inspire young people to pursue an academic career in the future. <br /><br />“We hope this project will light a spark, or a burning interest, for research. We want the pupils to gain a deeper understanding in the work of a scientist and present the possibility for them of becoming scientists themselves. Since this project involves school classes, we also believe there is an involvement by children from diverse backgrounds,” says Anna Johanna Lindqvist Forsberg, project leader at the Nobel Prize Museum. <br /><br /><strong>Recommends scientists to get involved in school projects</strong><br />Research is a challenge itself and making a science project work in a classroom takes a lot of planning. The Nobel Prize Museum coordinates the communication between the participating teachers and the scientists. It has been time consuming, has involved compromises and has required good logistics. Karin Jonsson still thinks it has been worth the effort. She recommends other scientist to get involved in similar projects. The Whole Grain Hunt has provided her with results for further research and has also contributed to her professional development. <br /><br />“This project has been challenging, in a good way. It required learning of methods I haven’t used earlier in order to adapt the research to a classroom. I have also been forced to think twice (and thrice) around my own area of research to present it in a pedagogic way to people outside the university,” says Karin Jonsson. <br /><br /><br />Text: Susanne Nilsson Lindh<br />Photo: Johan Bodell <br /><br /><strong>Help a Scientist/The Whole Grain Hunt</strong><br /><ul><li>Help a Scientist is a project under the auspices of the Nobel Prize Museum, and it is funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research. </li> <li>The Nobel Prize Museum brings together teachers, students and scientists. Students gain a deeper understanding of what a research project can mean, and at the same time, the scientists get some help with their research. </li> <li>The scientist in Help a Scientist 2019, The Whole Grain Hunt, is Karin Jonsson at Chalmers, in collaboration with Christel Larsson, University of Gothenburg, and Karin Wendin, Kristianstad University Sweden. </li> <li>The students from the 28 participating schools prepare presentations, a scientific poster, of their work; the class then selects the best presentation to represent them in the poster competition organized by Nobel Prize Museum. A jury of science journalists nominate a winning poster. The prize is three tickets to the Nobel Prize Ceremony 10 December 2019.</li> <li>Read more about <a href="https://nobelprizemuseum.se/en/education/about-help-a-scientist/">Help a Scientist</a></li></ul> <br />Read more about the <a href="/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Efforts-to-increase-Swedish-whole-grains-consumtion.aspx">project to make Swedes eat more whole grain</a>Mon, 11 Nov 2019 09:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Arvid-Carlsson-Award-for-innovative-research.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Arvid-Carlsson-Award-for-innovative-research.aspxArvid Carlsson Award for innovative research<p><b>​The Arvid Carlsson Award 2019 is awarded Professor Jens Nielsen at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology. “He is a role model in translating fundamental research into innovation and an inspiration within entrepreneurship,” says Marianne Dicander Alexandersson, chairman of Sahlgrenska Science Park and the award jury.</b></p>​In 2017 Sahlgrenska Science Park established the award with the aim to pay tribute to innovation, knowledge and competence in conjunction with good entrepreneurship. The winners represent actors within academia, healthcare and industry who drive development for human health and wellbeing. <br /><br /> “I am very honored to receive this prestigious award for innovation. Arvid Carlsson was a pioneer in taking excellent science and translate it for use in society and getting an award in his name makes me humble,” says Jens Nielsen.<br /><br />Jens Nielsen, former Head of Division, Systems and Synthetic Biology, is the first professor to be awarded. Previous winners have been life science companies. His research in systems biology is highly recognized internationally and has created breakthrough opportunities for the industry, for example the metabolic engineering of cell factories. He is also cofounder of a number of life science companies, including Elypta, which develops techniques for early detection of cancer. <br /><br /><strong>About Arvid Carlsson<br /></strong><br />Arvid Carlsson, born 1923, was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for  ”discoveries concerning signal transduction in the nervous system ” in 2000. Among other things, he studied the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. He shared the award with the Americans Paul Greengard and Eric R. Kandel. Arvid Carlsson’s research led to the recognition that Parkinson’s disease is caused by dopamine deficiency in some parts of the brain and subsequently to the production of an effective drug against this disease. <br /><br />Text: Susanne Nilsson LindhThu, 24 Oct 2019 12:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/I-want-to-transform-the-way-science-is-done.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/I-want-to-transform-the-way-science-is-done.aspx”I want to transform the way science is done”<p><b>​“I want to transform the way science is done, artificial intelligence (AI) holds the potential to do that” says Ross D. King, new professor of Machine Intelligence at Chalmers University of Technology.</b></p>​Professor Ross D. King, newly recruited to the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Chalmers, has started work building a third generation Robot Scientist called ‘Genesis’. <br /><br />A Robot Scientist is a robotic system that applies techniques from artificial intelligence to execute cycles of automated scientific experimentation. The Genesis AI will coordinate the continuous execution of around 10,000 parallel cycles of hypothesis generation and testing to improve its model of how cells work.<br /><br /><strong>A tool for human scientists</strong><br /><br />“Such automation will make scientific research cheaper and faster, which is needed if we are to meet such global challenges as climate change, food security, disease, etc.,” says Ross King. <br /><br />He says that the goal is not to replace human scientists, but to give them a tool to achieve their goals.<br /><br />“We are very pleased that we managed to recruit Dr Ross King to Chalmers. Having worked in the field for over 30 years, he is one of the most experienced machine learning researchers in Europe. This recruitment will truly strengthen our competence within this field,” says Stefan Bengtsson, President at Chalmers University of Technology.   <br /><br /><strong>Drew the short straw – ended up in computer science</strong><br /><br />Ross King’s main research interests lie at interface between computer science and science. This interest started during his undergraduate studies in microbiology at the University of Aberdeen when he literally drew the short straw and had to do an unwanted mathematic project rejected by his fellow students. <br /><br />To his surprise he enjoyed the computational project and it led him to study for a Master of Science degree in Computer Science. Following this he completed a PhD at The Turing Institute at the University of Strathclyde on developing machine learning methods for protein structure prediction. This was one of the first ever PhD’s on machine learning and bioinformatics.<br /><br /><strong>A thousand times more efficient than a human scientist</strong> <br /><br />In 2004 Ross King started his work on the first Robot Scientist, ‘Adam’, at the University of Wales at Aberystwyth. Adam was the first machine to autonomously discover scientific knowledge: the function of some orphan enzymes in the yeast <em>Saccharomyces cerevisiae</em>. The second Robot Scientist, ‘Eve’, found some lead compounds for neglected tropical diseases. Eve is moving to Chalmers.<br /><br />“These are modest but not trivial discoveries. However, working with the first Robot Scientists has been a proof of principle, they are prototypes. The next step is to scale up and to make the Robot Scientist a thousand times more efficient than a human scientist performing the same experiments,” says Ross King. <br /><br /><strong>Focus on yeast systems biology </strong><br /><br />Working at Chalmers will enable Ross King to implement the technology of the Robot Scientist in the field of systems biology. <br /><br />“I want to focus on systems biology with yeast as a model organism and Chalmers is probably the best place in Europe for that. Since yeast can be used to understand how human cells work, there are medical and pathological reasons for working with this organism. But in the future the idea of using AI, in the form of Robot Scientists, can be applied in different fields of science,” says Ross King.<br /><br />Stefan Hohmann, Head of Department, Biology and Biological Technology, says that through the recruitment of Ross King the department’s expertise in computational biology will expand greatly, in particular in machine learning. <br /><br />“His research, especially the robot scientist project, will tie together different activities at the department but also across Chalmers. Ross will link the department to computer science and large initiatives in artificial intelligence such as WASP (funded by the Wallenberg Foundation) and CHAIR (funded by the Chalmers Foundation). The department will also profit from Ross' extensive international network,” says Stefan Hohmann.  <br /><br /><strong>About Ross D. King </strong><br /><ul><li>He is 57 years old and was born in Edinburgh. </li> <li>Moved in October 2019 to Gothenburg from Manchester where he was Professor of Machine Intelligence at the University of Manchester.</li> <li>He led the team that designed and tested the first nondeterministic universal Turing machine. Such computers have the potential to outperform electronic and quantum computers.</li> <li>Some of his major interests are music, literature and nature. </li> <li>He has developed <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gorBU4e-vN8">an algorithm for converting protein coding DNA sequences into pieces of music</a> together with Colin Angus of The Shamen</li></ul> <br />Text: Susanne Nilsson Lindh<br />Photo: Johan Bodell<br />Wed, 23 Oct 2019 14:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Yvonne-Nygard-receives-grant-from-the-Hasselblad-Foundation.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Yvonne-Nygard-receives-grant-from-the-Hasselblad-Foundation.aspxYvonne Nygård receives grant from the Hasselblad Foundation<p><b>​Yvonne Nygård has received 1 million SEK from the Hasselblad Foundation for her research on development of efficient cellfactories.“I am very happy and proud to receive this grant,” says Yvonne Nygård, Assistant Professor at the Department of Biology and Biological engineering at Chalmers.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The Hasselblad Foundation annually awards grants to two female researchers in natural science at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg. The grant was established to draw attention to successful female scientists in the beginning of their academic career and give them an opportunity to continue to develop their research.</span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div>“Yvonne is a very determined researcher who develops new tools and integrates different methods in an innovative way. She has specific visions with her research, her international collaborations and her personal development where she focuses on leadership development and teaching”, says Anders Danielsson, County Governor in Gothenburg at the award ceremony in Gothenburg Concert Hall.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Sustainable alternatives for a fossil free society</h2> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Yvonne Nygård conducts research in industrial biotechnology and focuses on the design of efficient cellfactories. She works with microorganisms that can use residues from the forest industry and agriculture to produce biofuels and chemicals. In addition, Yvonne is involved in research on syngas fermentation and microbial electrochemistry, where bacteria produce chemicals based on carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide. The aim of the research is to develop sustainable alternatives for a future fossil free society.</span></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Develops yeast strains with increased tolerance to inhibitors</h2> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Yvonne uses yeast cells for production of biochemicals from residual biomass. The yeast cells  consume the sugar in the biomass and use it as raw material when producing bioethanol or other biochemicals. These so-called cellfactories can produce many valuable chemicals, which can be used, for example, as raw materials in the production of bioplastics.</span><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>Biomass as raw material does not only contain different kinds of sugar, it also contains inhibitors which prevent cells from growing or producing optimally.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“My research is focused on developing yeast strains with increased tolerance to these inhibitors. By understanding how the cells respond to stress, in the form of inhibitors, among other things, you can create strains with higher vitality and production rate,” says Yvonne.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Important to work with research that can be applied in society</h2> <div><span style="background-color:initial">R</span><span style="background-color:initial">ecently, Yvonne's research group has developed new tolerant yeast strains using the CRISPR / Cas9 technology. She is also working in a project on development of genetic biosensors, that can measure the amount of biochemicals produced in a cell. These biosensors can be used to monitor the production, or as a tool for developing new, better cellfactories.</span><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>“For me, it is important to work with research that can be applied in society, in the short or long term. In my case the research can lead to new production processes for the industry. I want my research to answer parts of the bigger questions, for instance how to create energy efficient, climate-neutral solutions to introduce a bio-based economy in society,” says Yvonne Nygård.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">FAKTA: The Hasselblad Foundation grant for Female Scientists</h2> <div><ul><li>​The Hasselblad Foundation grant for Female Scientists is awarded annually since 2011 to two women researchers employed at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg working in the field of natural sciences, for further research qualification. </li> <li>In 2019 the grant, of 1 million SEK each, is awarded Yvonne Nygård, Assistant Professor at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Chalmers, and Eridan Rocha Ferreira, researcher at the Institute of Clinical Sciences at the University of Gothenburg. </li></ul></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Text: </strong>Susanne Nilsson Lindh</div> <div><strong>Photo: </strong>Sofia Sabel/Hasselbladstiftelsen​</div> </div>Wed, 16 Oct 2019 14:00:00 +0200