Biology

News

06 Feb 2023
Researchers led by Osaka University used cryogenic electron microscopy to analyze the atomic structure of the centromeric region of the chromosome, essential for cell division. A protein called CENP-A marks the centromere; the researchers showed that during interphase, CENP-A is bound by a protein called KNL2 to maintain the location of the centromere. During mitosis, KNL2 is replaced by CENP-C, allowing correct formation of the kinetochore complex for cell division.
02 Feb 2023
Blocking an immune-regulating protein reverses the damage caused by acute and chronic kidney disease, a preclinical study suggests.
The fluorescent blinking of cyanine dye (Alexa Fluor 647, pink star) bound to RNA changes depending on the structure of the RNA. When the RNA is folded like a hairpin, the fluorescent blinking is fast, and when the RNA switches to a G-quadruplex, the blinking is slow (Akira Kitamura).
02 Feb 2023
A new microscopic technique allows for the real-time study of RNA G-quadruplexes in living cells, with implications for the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
31 Jan 2023
Researchers from Osaka University have shown that a system known as the GET pathway is essential for efficient mitophagy, the process by which mitochondria are removed from cells. The GET pathway targets a protein assembly called the Ppg1–Far complex, which inhibits mitophagy, to the membrane of a part of the cell called the endoplasmic reticulum. When the GET pathway is defective, this complex instead becomes targeted to mitochondria, where it acts to suppress mitophagy.
25 Jan 2023
Researchers from Osaka University have identified a protein, FER1L5, that is essential for sperm to acquire fertilizing ability. Sperm from mice lacking this protein were unable to undergo the “acrosome reaction”, which releases molecules that facilitate fertilization, resulting in impaired male fertility. As FER1L5 is also present in human sperm, this work may lead to new diagnostic methods and treatments for male infertility in humans.
Asia Research News: Editor's choice
20 Jan 2023
Overeating mechanism: why "eating just one chip"🍟 is impossible, Measuring hidden energy of gamma-ray bursts, Marine species that can adapt to ocean acidification & A rough start can lead to a strong bond, Read all in our first Editor's Choice of 2023. Plus our interview on what dengue vaccine approval in EU💉means for global dengue protection.
The new squid/synthetic polymer double-network gel
20 Jan 2023
The natural abilities of squid tissues and the creativity of chemists combine to take hydrogel research in new directions.
Visualization of coronavirus causing Covid19
19 Jan 2023
Researchers at Kanazawa University report in Nano Letters how high-speed atomic force microscopy can be used to assess the effectivity of spike-neutralizing antibodies for preventing COVID-19. The use of such antibodies offers a promising alternative to vaccines.
Red perilla cultivar Hoko-3
11 Jan 2023
A team of Japanese researchers created a high-quality genome assembly of red perilla, a step toward harnessing the plant’s potentially useful bioactive chemicals — and its medicinal properties.
Aspergillus aculeatus
10 Jan 2023
An Osaka Metropolitan University research team analyzed the regulatory mechanisms of carbohydrate-hydrolyzing enzyme production in Aspergillus aculeatus, a filamentous fungus that produces enzymes with an excellent ability to degrade plant biomass. The team found that UDP-glucose 4-epimerase (Uge5), an enzyme known for its involvement in galactose metabolism, also regulates the expression of degrading enzyme genes in A. aculeatus. This is the very first report of Uge5’s roles in selective gene expression in response to different types of inducing sugars in filamentous fungi.
When the H5N1 HPAI virus (orange) affected a flock of crows in a public garden, it caused a mass die-off of crows. An Ezo red fox and a Japanese raccoon dog were also infected by the H5N1 HPAI virus, the former likely by consuming corpses of the crows, and the latter due to close contact with crow corpses (Illustration: Takahiro Hiono).
05 Jan 2023
Researchers at Hokkaido University have revealed the effects of high pathogenicity avian influenza virus infection on an Ezo red fox and a Japanese raccoon dog, linking their infection to a recorded die-off of crows.
An illustration of the facial expression changes in mice following stimulation and inhibition of the median raphe nucleus (Yu Ohmura).
28 Dec 2022
New insights into the opposing actions of serotonin-producing nerve fibres in mice could lead to drugs for treating addictions and major depression.
28 Dec 2022
Taking Hong Kong’s famous Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak offers stunning views of its central business district, Victoria Harbor, and the surrounding islands. But a team of international scientists has recently discovered that the trams winding journey provides a previously unrecognized situation where our vertical perception gets distorted.
27 Dec 2022
tRNA-MaP can rapidly analyze the specificity of tRNA m1A22 methyltransferase (TrmK) for substrate tRNAs.
Mechanism by which CREB-Regulated Transcription Coactivator 1 (CRTC1) suppresses overeating
23 Dec 2022
Scientists reveal genetic mechanism associated with high-calorie food-fueled obesity
22 Dec 2022
Osaka Metropolitan University scientists discovered the principle of light-induced acceleration of antigen–antibody reaction, allowing for simple, ultrafast, and highly sensitive detection of proteins. The researchers introduced target proteins and probe particles with modified antibodies selectively binding to the target proteins into a small channel and applied irradiation with infrared laser light. They achieved, for the first time, the rapid measurement of trace amounts of attogram-level target proteins after only 3 minutes of laser irradiation. These findings will potentially contribute to breakthroughs in the development of systems for ultra-early diagnosis of various diseases.
The sphaerimicin analogs (SPMs) inhibit the activity of MraY, and hence the replication of bacteria, with different degrees of effectiveness. The potency of the analog increases as the IC50 decreases (Takeshi Nakaya, et al. Nature Communications. December 20, 2022).
20 Dec 2022
Researchers have designed and synthesized analogs of a new antibiotic that is effective against multidrug-resistant bacteria, opening a new front in the fight against these infections.
19 Dec 2022
Researchers from Osaka University have developed a culture system using pluripotent cells from southern and northern white rhinos, which was refined to produce primordial germ cell-like cells (PGCLCs). These cells are the equivalent of primordial germ cells, the origin of eggs and sperm. The study marks an important first step in the potential production of northern white rhino gametes, which could be used in breeding programs, and is the first to induce PGCLCs in a wild animal.
Micrometre-scale multicompartmental structures of aquabots
15 Dec 2022
A research team led by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has invented an all-water robotic system that resolves the constraints of bio-inspired robots through revolutionary scientific advances.
15 Dec 2022
Understanding how bats tolerate viral infections, Material separates water from...water, The virtual sense of touch polished to next level and COVID-19 negatively impacted early-careers and female researchers. Read all in the December's Editor's Choice.
14 Dec 2022
Using cryogenic electron microscopy, a research team from the Research Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (ReCAP) at Osaka Metropolitan University has revealed, for the first time, the structures and binding environments of pigments bound to a protein called a photosynthetic antenna of the marine green macroalga Codium fragile. The team’s results extend our knowledge about the molecular mechanism by which blue-green light—the only light available in deep seawater—is efficiently utilized for photosynthesis.
14 Dec 2022
Researchers led by Osaka University generated a time-stamping method to trace the development and survival of plasma cells in the bone marrow and spleen. Using a mouse model in which plasma cells were fluorescently labeled in an inducible manner, they found that plasma cells were continuously replenished by new cells, a small portion of which differentiated into long-lived plasma cells (LLPCs). These findings may aid in the development of new vaccines that efficiently induce LLPCs.
14 Dec 2022
- DGIST Professor Suh Byung-chang's research team identified the regulation mechanism of calcium channels, which are important for signal transmission between nerve cells - A new clue to the development of substances for treating mental and neurological diseases
14 Dec 2022
- Discovery of potential treatment target networks for gene dysregulation uniquely found in patients with autism spectrum disorder - Published in ‘Molecular Psychiatry,’ an international journal of molecular psychiatry
14 Dec 2022
- Identifying the entire genome of the primitive fish, little skate, and proposing the molecular mechanism for the evolution of movement - Joint Research of DGIST · Seoul National University · New York University Medical School... Published in SCI-level journals
12 Dec 2022
Revelations about the mechanisms of two key proteins which maintain the asymmetric distribution of cholesterol within the cell membrane could help understand and treat diseases linked to its imbalance
Scatter plots of CI-score of all genes (2652 genes) identified in this study
11 Dec 2022
Scientists investigate how genes in some insects can influence one another to change their expression depending on environmental conditions.
09 Dec 2022
Silencing the gene, called WWP2, in patients in the early stages of cardiomyopathy could delay progression to heart failure by controlling immune cell infiltration and activation, and halting the formation of excessive scar tissue, preclinical data suggest.
Flossie Wong-Staal
08 Dec 2022
Giants in History: Chinese-American virologist and molecular biologist Flossie Wong-Staal (27 August 1946 – 8 July 2020) was the first scientist to clone HIV and determine the function of its genes.
07 Dec 2022
First-in-the-world high-resolution imaging allows scientists to study the dengue protein in greater detail to yield valuable insights.

Events

19 Sep 2022 to 21 Sep 2022
The Nano Life Science Institute (WPI-NanoLSI) at Kanazawa University will hold a ‘Workshop on Computational Biophysics of Atomic Force Microscopy – A Lecture Course Approach’ 19-21 September 2022, online.
07 Nov 2022 to 09 Nov 2022
FCS2022 is jointly organized by eight major research institutes in Singapore and includes a line-up of internationally renowned cancer experts. The conference converges the latest cancer discoveries around the world and promises ground-breaking and innovative insights into cancer research.
01 Mar 2022 to 02 Mar 2022
The Nano Life Science Institute (WPI-NanoLSI) at Kanazawa University will hold their 5th NanoLSI Symposium 1-2 March 2022, online.
30 Jul 2021
The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB), the Federation of Asian and Oceanian Biochemists and Molecular Biologists (FAOBMB) and the College of Biochemists of Sri Lanka (CBSL), will conduct the 1st Virtual Education Symposium themed “The ‘New Normal’ Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education”, on the 30thof July 2021.
01 Jun 2021 to 30 Jun 2021
The Ocean Celebration event runs 1-30 June 2021 and is organized by the Borneo Marine Research Institute of Universiti Malaysia Sabah.
19 Mar 2020 to 20 Mar 2020
Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Biology(ASHBi) holds the annual symposium with twenty-one speakers who are leading human biology including human development, genetics, and evolution.
14 Jan 2020 to 17 Jan 2020
Organised by the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore, the Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS) brings together distinguished scientists, post-graduates and academics for four days of learning and mentoring from 14 to 17 January 2020.
28 Aug 2019
The 2019 Genome Expo is scheduled to be held at UNIST from August 28 to 29, 2019.

Researchers

Mags Crumlish
Dr. Crumlish has researched aquatic microbial diseases, specifically ones that have economic impact in global aquaculture, and potential solutions to such infectious diseases. Her current project seeks to develop vaccines against antimicrobial resistance in aquaculture.
Matthew Tay
Dr. Tay has researched antibodies and diseases like malaria and SARS-CoV-2 at A*STAR. His focus is on discovering methods for developing antibodies that can be used in therapies against multidrug-resistant pathogens.
Nguyen Huu Nghia
Nguyen Huu Nghia is the Director of the Center for Environment and Disease Monitoring in Aquaculture (CEDMA) at the Research Institute for Aquaculture No.1 (RIA1) under Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. He has co-managed various research efforts in Vietnam aquaculture as well as published recent research into the use of nanobubbles.
Dr. Natrah Fatin Bt Mohd Ikhsan
Dr. Ikhsan is an associate professor at the Department of Aquaculture, University Putra Malaysia. Her research on aquatic microbial ecology includes the development of novel and sustainable microbial management strategies.
Dr. Stefan Oehlers
Dr. Oehlers leads the Bacterial Pathogenesis Laboratory at A*STAR ID Labs, where he and his colleagues focus on identifying molecular bases of mycobacterial disease and, thus, deploy therapies that address antibiotic resistance in mycobacterial infections.
Professor Yue Wang
Dr. Yue Wang is senior principal investigator at the Antifungal Resistance Laboratory of A*STAR ID Labs, where his body of work focuses on virulence mechanisms of the fungal human pathogen Candida albicans.
Amit Singhal
Dr. Singhal serves as senior principal investigator at the Bacterial Immunopathology Lab at A*STAR ID Labs in Singapore. His work at A*STAR ID Labs revolves around three main pathogens: Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Gram-negative bacteria and Dengue virus.
Dr. Pablo Bifani
Dr. Bifani is an associate professor and research director at the Yong Yoo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, and a principal investigator at A*STAR ID Labs. He has extensively researched antimicrobial resistance in tuberculosis and malaria.
Jian Yan
Dr. Yan is an assistant professor at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, City University of Hong Kong (CityU). His current research focuses on developing genomic tools to dissect lncRNA function and mechanism in diseases and to identify genetic variations that contribute to disease pathogenesis.
Xin Deng
Dr. Deng is a biomedical scientist with a special interest in bacterial virulence, including gene regulation, signaling pathways, and RNA epigenetics. He has worked on virulence regulation in pathogens to discover new therapies against bacterial infections.
So Iwata
Dr. So Iwata is a Professor at the Graduate School of Medicine Kyoto University and the Group Director of the SACLA Science Research Group, RIKEN SPring-8 Center. He has investigated how specialized membrane channels remove antimicrobial drugs from inside bacterial cells.
Robert Mitchell of UNIST
Dr. Mitchell is a professor at the Department of Biological Sciences, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST). His primary research interest is the study of bacterial strains that attack and prey on other bacteria, including antimicrobial-resistant pathogens.
Dr. Soojin Jang
Dr. Soojin Jang heads the Antibacterial Resistance Research Laboratory at Institut Pasteur Korea, where her team focuses on discovering new antibacterial agents for “superbugs” or bacteria resistant to most antibiotics.
Assistant Professor Izumi Fukunaga grew up in Japan and Malaysia and went to London to study neuroscience. Her research focuses on how sensory circuits in the brain function.
Professor Gail Tripp is a neurobiologist who established the OIST Children’s Research Center to undertake research on the nature, etiology and management of ADHD with English and Japanese speaking children and families.
Assistant Professsor Lauren Sallan is a fish paleobiologist who uses big data — the fossil record — to study how some species win and others lose. Her multiple TED Talks on the evolution of fishes, mass extinction and paleontology have received over 3 million views.
Dr. Owen Rackham
Dr Owen Rackham is an expert in the development of computational approaches for cell reprogramming and disease-gene association.
Dr. Sonia Chotani
Dr. Sonia Chotani is a computational biologist working in the area of small open reading frames and RNA translation in human diseases.
Dong currently works at the Asian Institute of Technology. He does research in Aquaculture, Pathology, Infectious Diseases, and Aquatic Bioscience.
Takami Tomiyama
Takami Tomiyama is currently an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Medicine of Osaka City University.
Department of Microbiology / Biomolecular Sciences Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia
https://www.iium.edu.my/v2/
Dr. Irina's research focuses on sustainability, including an analysis of environmental management, the urban environment, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and education for sustainable development, or ESD, and its application in real-world contexts.
Dr. Seong-Kyoon Choi is a senior researcher at the Division of Biotechnology of Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST)
Dr. Wookbong Kwon
Dr. Wookbong Kwon is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Division of Biotechnology of Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST)
Myungin Baek is currently an Assistant Professor at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST).
Picture of Prof. Eriko Kage-Nakadai
Eriko Kage-Nakadai is a professor at the Graduate School of Human Life Science of Osaka City University.
Prof. Miyabi Nakabayashi
Prof. Miyabi Nakabayashi works on tropical ecology, especially on seed dispersal by mammals in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Recently, she is focusing on seed dispersal system of fig trees (Ficus spp.) and large-seeded plants such as durians.
Picture of Ann-Marie Chacko
Prof. Ann Marie Chacko lead the translational efforts for a portfolio of in vivo PET, SPECT, CT and optical imaging agents that span key therapeutic areas including oncology, immunology, infectious disease and neurobiology.
Picture of Prof. Gavin James Smith
Prof Smith’s research programme primarily investigates the ecology and evolution of zoonotic viruses and the molecular epidemiology of human respiratory pathogens.
Prof. Chen Sheng
Prof. Chen’s current research covers research on bacterial antimicrobial resistance, virulence and tolerance in the veterinary, food and medical microbiology fields

Giants in history

Chinese-American virologist and molecular biologist Flossie Wong-Staal (27 August 1946 – 8 July 2020) was the first scientist to clone HIV and determine the function of its genes.
Maharani Chakravorty (1937 – 2015) was one of India’s earliest molecular biologists whose research paved the way for advances in the treatment of bacterial and viral infections.
Archana Sharma (16 February 1932 - 14 January 2008) conducted research into plant and human genetics that expanded the understanding of both botany and human health. In relation to botany, she uncovered the means by which asexually-reproducing plants evolve into new species.
Hwang Hye-seong (5 July 1920 – 14 December 2006) was an expert on Korean royal court cuisine, the knowledge of which she dedicated her career to keeping alive. Formerly an assistant professor of nutritional science, Hwang met the last kitchen court lady in the Joseon Dynasty Han Hui-sun and, from her, learned about the culinary traditions of the royal court.
In 1915, pathologist Katsusaburo Yamagiwa and his research assistant Koichi Ichikawa became the first to prove that chronic exposure to chemicals can cause cancer.
Reiji Okazaki (8 October 1930 – 1 August 1975) and Tsuneko (7 June 1933) were a Japanese couple who discovered Okazaki fragments – short sequences of DNA that are synthesized during DNA replication and linked together to form a continuous strand.
Tsuneko (7 June 1933) and Reiji Okazaki (8 October 1930 – 1 August 1975) were a Japanese couple who discovered Okazaki fragments – short sequences of DNA that are synthesized during DNA replication and linked together to form a continuous strand.
Husband and wife team, Kimishige (3 December 1925 – 6 July 2018) and Teruko Ishizaka (28 September 1926 – 4 June 2019) discovered the antibody class Immunoglobulin E (IgE) that triggers allergic reactions. They also discovered that IgE antibodies attach to white blood cells, known as mast cells, releasing histamine, which causes allergic reactions.
Husband and wife team, Kimishige (3 December 1925 – 6 July 2018) and Teruko Ishizaka (28 September 1926 – 4 June 2019) discovered the antibody class Immunoglobulin E (IgE) that triggers allergic reactions. They also discovered that IgE antibodies attach to white blood cells, known as mast cells, releasing histamine, which causes allergic reactions.
Lim Boo Liat (21 August 1926 – 11 July 2020), a leading authority in the conservation of Malaysia’s biological diversity, had his initial interest in the outdoors piqued by nature lessons in school. Lim, who helped found the National Zoo of Malaysia and re-establish the Malaysian Nature Society, had a particular interest in researching zoonotic diseases associated with small animals.
A pioneer of bio-organic chemistry, Darshan Ranganathan (4 June 1941 – 4 June 2001) is remembered for developing a protocol for synthesising imidazole, a compound used to make antifungal drugs and antibiotics. Widely considered India’s most prolific researcher in chemistry, she also published dozens of papers in renowned journals on protein folding, molecular design, chemical simulation of key biological processes, and the synthesis of functional hybrid peptides and nanotubes.
In his over 30 year career in rice research, Munshi Siddique Ahmad (1924 – 19 October 2011) developed more than 30 varieties of high-yielding rice, including the BRRI Shail strain, which was responsible for increasing the rice production of Bangladesh from 8 million tonnes in 1965 to 20 million tonnes in 1975.
Ground-breaking cancer researcher Kamal Jayasing Ranadive (8 November 1917 – 11 April 2001) advanced the understanding of the causes of leukaemia, breast cancer and oesophageal cancer through the use of animal models. She was also among the first to recognise how susceptibility to cancer is linked to tumour-causing interactions between hormones and viruses.
Birbal Sahni (14 November 1891 – 10 April 1949), a pioneer of Indian palaeobotanical research, and founder of what is now the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences in Lucknow, made multiple contributions to the study of prehistoric plants. These include the discovery of a new group of fossil gymnosperms (named Pentoxylae), reconstruction of the extinct Williamsonia sewardiana plant, and description of a new type of petrified wood from the Jurassic age.
Thai physician and conservationist Boonsong Lekagul (1907 – 1992) made major contributions to the preservation of his country’s wildlife.
Filipina chemist María Orosa (29 November 1892–13 February 1945) fought malnutrition and food insecurity in the Philippines by devising over 700 culinary creations including Soyalac, a nutrient rich drink made from soybeans, and Darak, rice cookies packed with Vitamin B1, which could prevent beriberi disease caused by Vitamin B1 deficiency. She was also a partisan of the guerrilla movement resisting Japanese occupation during World War II, and died after being struck by shrapnel while working in her laboratory during the Battle of Manila.
Eminent Filipina scientist and educator Clara Lim-Sylianco (18 August 1925 – 23 July 2013) is remembered for her extensive research on mutagens – often-carcinogenic agents that permanently alter genetic materials such as DNA – antimutagens and bioorganic mechanisms.
Chinese biochemist Cao Tianqin (5 December 1920 – 8 January 1995) discovered the myosin light chain, a subunit of myosin, a protein crucial for muscle contraction.
Research by Filipino plant scientist Benito Vergara (23 June 1934 – 24 October 2015) on the physiology of rice led to the development of deep-water and cold-tolerant rice varieties. Vergara also made several contributions to expanding public awareness of rice science.
In 1939, biochemist Kamala Sohonie (18 June 1911 – 28 June 1998) became the first woman to be accepted into the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
Korean parasitologist Seung-Yull Cho (16 November 1943 – 27 January 2019) is remembered largely for his pioneering works to control infections caused by helminthic parasites and his contribution to journal publishing.
Chinese agronomist Yuan Longping (7 September 1930 – 22 May 2021) developed the first varieties of the high-yield, hybrid rice that brought food security to multiple countries including China, which had been ravaged by food shortages as recently as the mid-20th century.
Minoru Shirota (April 23, 1899 – March 10, 1982) was a Japanese microbiologist who invented the popular fermented drink Yakult.
David T. Wong (born 1936) is a Hong Kong-born American neuroscientist who is best known for discovering the antidepressant drug fluoxetine, better known as Prozac.
Ali
Little is known about Ali, a teenager from Sarawak, Malaysia, who was chief assistant to the famous naturalist Alfred Wallace. Most of what is known comes from Wallace’s writings. Ali accompanied Wallace on expeditions throughout the Malay Archipelago from December 1855 to February 1862.
The techniques that make industrial pearl culturing possible were developed over a century ago at the Misaki Marine Biological Station in Japan. The station’s first director, Professor Kakichi Mitsukuri, emphasized to Kokichi Mikimoto in 1890 that stimulating pearl sac formation was important for pearl growth, and they went on to successfully develop methods for culturing pearls.
Indian organic chemist Asima Chatterjee (1917 to 2006) studied the medicinal properties of plant products, especially compounds known as vinca alkaloids.
Cyril Andrew Ponnamperuma (16 October 1923 – 20 December 1994) was a Sri Lankan chemist who was interested in the origins of life on Earth. His research in chemical evolution showed how inanimate molecules may have given rise to the building blocks of life – a process known as abiogenesis.
Motoo Kimura (13 November 1924 – 13 November 1994) was a Japanese theoretical population geneticist who is best remembered for developing the neutral theory of molecular evolution.
Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose (30 November 1858 – 23 November 1937) was a scientist and inventor who contributed to a wide range of scientific fields such as physics, botany and biology.