Sea anemone sting cells could inspire new drug-delivery systems

A group of creatures known as cnidarians, which includes sea anemones, are the only animals that inject venom via sting cells.

A multi-stage genetic process for the formation of sting cells in sea anemones could inspire a new way of delivering drugs into the human body. It’s part of a field of work that looks at how venom and the way it’s produced in animals could be used to create life-saving treatments for humans. Dr Kartik … Read more

Early career decisions could affect when you retire

Lifelong learning opportunities can prolong your working life, according to researchers.

Policies to extend working life should not exclusively focus on older people as the decision on when to retire is influenced by the course of a person’s career, according to researchers investigating the factors affecting how long people work. Europe’s population is ageing and pension systems are now struggling to pay out. At the same … Read more

Life scientists unite to close EU’s innovation gap

Research excellence relies not only on funding but also on the right governance and culture, according to experts.

Nepotism, a lack of transparency and poor governance are among some of the challenging conditions faced by researchers in Central and Eastern Europe, according to a consortium of life scientists who have set up a project to raise the level of research excellence in those countries. ‘The importance of institutions in providing a favourable environment … Read more

Your phone may soon know when you’re stressed – and help you cope

A sleep tracker uses smartphone acceleration sensors to monitor body movement and sleep stages - good predictors for stress and wellbeing.

by Ethan Bilby European businesses lose hundreds of work hours each year to stress-related absences, but an app that monitors stress levels and a device to teach relaxation exercises could help provide an answer. Christopher Lorenz is the co-founder of Soma Analytics, a UK-based start-up company that has made a smartphone app that detects people’s … Read more

Map of brain cell activity may help us control when we sleep

Scientists still have much to learn about the underlying circuitry that triggers the onset of sleep.

For many people who struggle to get a good night’s rest, being able to switch on and off the brain circuits that control sleep would be a life-changer. The good news is that’s exactly what scientists hope to do, but first they need to get a better understanding of what’s going on. It’s easy to … Read more

AI is like having a treasure map to find disease-preventing molecules – Dr Nora Khaldi

Dr Nora Khladi hopes that by using peptide molecules we will be able to prevent future chronic diseases.

A cereal bar that keeps diabetes at bay is one example of how we could prevent disease by adding short molecules known as peptides into what we eat, says Dr Nora Khaldi, founder of Nuritas, which is using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify new peptides and create foods with health benefits. What are peptides and why are … Read more