Island cores unravel mysteries of ancient Maltese civilisation

The Ġgantija temples of Malta are among the earliest free-standing buildings known. Image credit - Bs0u10e01, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The mysteries of an ancient civilisation that survived for more than a millennium on the island of Malta – and then collapsed within two generations – have been unravelled by archaeologists who analysed pollen buried deep within the earth and ancient DNA from skulls and bones. It’s part of a field of work that is … Read more

Why hunting for fast radio bursts is an ‘exploding field’ in astronomy

FRB 121102, a repeating burst, was discovered in 2015. This discovery enabled astronomers to figure out what galaxy the FRB came from and in turn locate hundreds more FRBs. Image credit - Gemini Observatory / AURA / NSF / NRC

by Jonathan O’Callaghan Little more than a decade ago, two astronomers discovered mysterious bursts of radio waves that seem to take place all over the sky, often outshining all the stars in a galaxy. Since then, the study of these fast radio bursts, or FRBs, has taken off, and while we still don’t know what … Read more

Transplant recipients may soon have a test to protect against organ rejection

In 2017, 34,000 transplants were carried out in the EU, while 60,000 people were on a waiting list for a transplant by the end of the year. Image credit - Flickr/Lars Plougmann, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

To help prevent organ rejection, transplant recipients could receive drug cocktails personalised to their own immune systems if a new test, which has passed early trials, is successful. And new methods for scrubbing animal tissue could enable humans to benefit from other species’ organs in the future. In the EU alone, there were 60,000 people on … Read more

Schools and media literacy critical for teen refugees’ social wellbeing

A quarter of the refugees who entered Europe in 2018 were children, and 40% of these were unaccompanied by adults. Image credit - Kylo/ Unsplash

by Gareth Willmer For a teenage refugee starting a new life in Europe, going to school and using digital media form a big part of navigating an unfamiliar society. But appropriate interventions at school and online could help them feel more at home in a new country. A quarter of the migrants and refugees who entered Europe … Read more

In a picture: Filming the immune system in action – Prof. Georg Fantner

This video shows the body's immune system attacking a bacterial membrane. It punches one hole in the surface before pausing and then punching more. Video source - nature communications ( DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10058-7

By assembling a camera that can record video at nanometre resolution, scientists have filmed how the immune system kills bacteria by poking holes into it. Professor Georg Fantner tells us about how this was achieved and why his next challenge is to build a video camera that can film the inside of a living cell. We … Read more

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