Atomium Culture

Atomium Culture

The Permanent Platform of Atomium Culture brings together some of the most authoritative universities, newspapers and businesses in Europe to increase the movement of knowledge: across borders, across sectors and to the public at large.
La plataforma permanente Atomium Culture reúne a las universidades, periódicos y empresas más prestigiosos de Europa para promover el flujo del conocimiento más allá de fronteras, entre sectores y hacia el público en general.

About us

Leading young European researchers have been selected by European research universities and the Scientific and Editorial Committees of AC to write an article about their work and the potential impact of this.

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By Rodrigo de Almeida, University of Lisbon

Lipids are vital components of the membrane that envelop each living cell and include such substances as fats, oils and waxes. Lipid composition of a cell membrane can change dramatically at different stages of development of the whole organism or even that of a single cell.

Why does the membrane of each living cell contain hundreds of different kind of lipids? Why do cell membranes in different organisms differ in the kind and proportion of lipids? And, more importantly, how does that composition change in those suffering from ailments that increasingly characterize the modern society: cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, for example?

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Saving the Seabirds

Por: | 28 de agosto de 2013

The research aims at proving the effectiveness of mitigation measures to reduce incidental catch in longline fisheries (Image: Larus michahellis, Pep Arcos SEO/BirdLife)

By Rosa Martínez, University of Barcelona Press

The incidental catch of seabirds, a common phenomenon bound to some types of fisheries, is one of the main threats suffered by seabird populations. To establish which is the best strategy to reduce the incidental catch of seabirds produce by longline fisheries is the main objective of the scientific campaign carried out by the team led by professor Jacob González Solís, from the Department of Animal Biology and the Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio), both affiliated to the campus of international excellence BKC.

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By Christian Sieben, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Flu epidemics remain a constant threat for humans, even though recent `bird and swine flu´ cases have brought this threat back into public awareness. The causative pathogen, the influenza virus, has been under extensive research since decades, but its infection mechanism is still not fully understood.

In the group of Andreas Herrmann, professor of Molecular Biophysics at the Humboldt-University in Berlin, we aim to understand the initial steps of the influenza virus infection. Due to a lack of specialized proteins, viruses by themselves are not able to reproduce. To compensate for this limitation, they highjack the protein machinery of their host cell. To this end, the virus features proteins on its surface to find and attach to a suitable host cell. The most abundant of these so-called spike proteins, hemagglutinin (HA), mediates the initial viral attachment to the surface of the cell. This protein is already of high medical relevance since HAs of the relevant influenza strains are used as part of a vaccine to immunize people against the yearly influenza. But, what if you are already infected?

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High-Quality Silicon Ribbons for Low-Cost Solar Energy Cells

Por: | 22 de agosto de 2013

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By Miguel Centeno Brito, University of Lisbon

It is widely accepted that solar power will play a central role in a post-carbon society. Solar radiation is abundant, clean and renewable, but for worldwide deployment, there is still a major challenge to overcome — cost. At present, a significant fraction of the final cost of solar cells is related to the substrate of the solar cell, a thin wafer of very pure crystalline silicon.

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Dark Genome Is Involved in Rett Syndrome

Por: | 21 de agosto de 2013

On the left, dark genome’s differences of expression (marked with different colours) between healthy neurons and those affected by Rett syndrome. On the right, a deficit of Mecp2 protein can be observed on the brain affected by Rett syndrome (no black band).

By Bibiana Bonmatí, University of Barcelona Press

A research group led by Manel Esteller, ICREA researcher, professor of Genetics at the University of Barcelona and head of Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program at Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), has described alterations in long non-coding RNA sequences (lncRNA) in Rett syndrome. These molecules act as supervisor agents responsible for 'switching on' or 'switching off' other genes in our genome that regulate the activity of neurons. The work has been published on the latest issue of the journal RNA Biology.

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By Marcin Grabowski, Jagiellonian University in Krakow

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) decided to create an ASEAN Economic Community and the East Asian Summit (EAS; comprising ASEAN countries plus China, India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea) has considered the creation of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA). Those developments have raised concerns among some Europeans. A particular concern is whether those two economic communities will present opportunities or threats to the European Union (EU). Others wonder whether those communities will follow the EU’s pattern of development. This article briefly describes the current state of regional economic integration in East Asia and the possibility of problems, from a European perspective, arising from such actions in East Asia.

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Going Beyond the Genetic Code: New Frontiers in Male Infertility

Por: | 15 de agosto de 2013

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By Paulo Navarro-Costa, University of Lisbon

By the time the average reader finishes reading this article, an estimated 400 babies will have been born around the world. Yet, the latest global figures indicate that 72.4 million people are denied, for clinical reasons, the joys of parenthood. Although advances in healthcare and therapeutic options over the past few decades have dramatically improved the chances of infertile couples to be natural parents, the underlying cause of infertility remains unknown in a significant number of cases. This fact reflects our as yet limited understanding of the intricate biological mechanisms regulating human reproduction.  Our research at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon aims to clarify some of these mechanisms. By doing so, we have established for the first time a link between male infertility and defects in DNA methylation in genes essential for normal sperm production.

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The ‘spark’ in magnetic materials is produced through a series of spins, employing small single crystals of a molecular magnet. (Image: A. D. Kent, NYU)

By Bibiana Bonmatí, University of Barcelona Press

The propagation of the so-called ‘magnetic fire’ in certain systems seems to be “the only combustion process ruled by quantum laws known in the nature”, points out Javier Tejada, Professor of Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Barcelona and one of the authors of a study recently published on the journal Physical Review Letters (PRL), which uncovers how energy is released and dispersed in magnetic materials in a process akin to the spread of forest fires.

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Chemistry Against Crime

Por: | 08 de agosto de 2013

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By Pawel Koscielniak, Jagiellonian University in Krakow

The general public believes that the largest role in combating crime is that of the police, followed by that played by representatives of the judiciary: judges and public prosecutors. The contribution of specialists in other fields, such as criminology or forensic medicine and psychology, is also fairly obvious and appreciated by the public. But chemistry? Do experts in chemistry have a role at all in solving crimes?

To answer the question, let us take a look at the Laboratory for Forensic Chemistry in the Faculty of Chemistry at the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland. It is the first — and so far the only — research and teaching unit in forensic medicine in any Polish university.

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By Maria Teresa de Teixeira Cruz Rosete, University of Coimbra

Allergic skin reactions are one of the most common occupational diseases in developed countries, and 19.5% of the general population is sensitive to at least one allergen. A large subset of skin allergens can be found in the environment and in many household products. Metals are one example of a type of skin allergen, with nickel the more prevalent skin allergen in Europe. As a result, before any substance (pharmaceutical compounds, cosmetics, chemicals, etc.) can be brought onto the European market, it must first be evaluated for its skin safety.

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El País

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