Nanovehicles that mimic nature could deliver treatments of the future

This micro-swimmer encased in a soft hydrogel-like material has fins that are mobile and can expand and contract when stimulated. Such structures could in the future be used to deliver treatments inside the human body. Image credit - Dr Florea (TBC)

Tiny vehicles up to 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair that are cloaked in biological camouflage could provide new ways of treating cancer with fewer side-effects. Over billions of years nature has perfected ingenious ways for biological cells to move around their environment and harmlessly transport packages of chemicals between one … Read more

‘We’ve found dozens of potentially habitable planets – now we need to study them in detail’

In 2016, Dr Gillon discovered a system of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf called TRAPPIST-1 (artist's impression). Image credit - NASA/JPL-Caltech

by Jonathan O’Callaghan From the first discoveries of planets beyond our solar system in the 1990s, we now know of thousands of alien worlds, some of which could even be habitable to life as we know it. Now we need to detect more of these exoplanets and study them in detail, says astronomer Dr Michaël … Read more

Dried-out tardigrades could point way to drug preservation, resilient crops

Scientists are trying to work out how tardigrades survive extreme environments such as heat and drought. Image credit - Frank Fox, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

by Gareth Willmer New insights into how tardigrades survive extremely dry environments could reveal new ways of preserving drugs, boosting crops’ tolerance to drought or fighting disease, but so far there is no simple answer to how these tiny creatures endure desiccation. Despite being nicknamed moss piglets, tardigrades do an awful lot more than just … Read more

Why people’s misperceptions about climate change, vaccinations are so hard to shake

Misperceptions can be difficult to tackle because they become tied to people's identities, says Prof. Reifler. Image credit - Pixabay/ congerdesign, licensed under Pixabay license

by Kelly Oakes The most powerful source of misperceptions about important issues such as immigration and climate change are false beliefs rooted in people’s political or social preferences, but having people who question authority is also important for a society, according to Professor Jason Reifler, a political scientist at the University of Exeter, UK. Prof. … Read more

Can we reverse antibiotic resistance?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have had their antibiotic resistance reversed in Prof. Almqvist's lab. Image credit - Pixnio/ Janice Haney Carr, Jeff Hageman, M.H.S, USCDCP, licensed under CC0

by Vittoria D’Alessio In the battle against antibiotic resistance, some scientists are trying a new approach: re-sensitising bacteria to drugs they no longer respond to so that existing antibiotics can hit their target once more. ‘This is a sustainable and straightforward approach to the problem of antibiotic resistance,’ said Fredrik Almqvist, professor of organic chemistry … Read more

Few aeroplanes land automatically but new systems could make this the norm

Almost half of fatal plane accidents happen between final approach and landing. Image credit - Pixabay/ windhaven1077, licensed under Pixabay license

by Jonathan O’Callaghan When it comes to planes cruising through the air, many of us are used to the idea of them flying on autopilot with little or no input from a human pilot as they travel from one destination to another. Landing a plane under autopilot, known as autoland, is a different matter. While … Read more