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3Episodes
Category: Science & Medicine

A fun take on the latest science news with enough data to sink your teeth into. Lagrange Point goes beyond the glossy summary and gets in depth with the research from across the world.

April 29, 2019

Episode 324 - Hunting for missing matter, gravitational waves and stellar deaths

Hunting for missing dark matter or gravitational waves involves incredibly precise measurements. Scientists are constantly developing new measurement techniques to try and find new sources of data and test theories. Whether it be staring at the space between Andromeda and the Milky Way to find primordial black holes, to looking in the remnants of a white dwarf using spectroscopy. Plus ways to make the newer generation of gravitational wave detectors more accurate by listening to quantum noise.

References:

  1. Hiroko Niikura, Masahiro Takada, Naoki Yasuda, Robert H. Lupton, Takahiro Sumi, Surhud More, Toshiki Kurita, Sunao Sugiyama, Anupreeta More, Masamune Oguri, Masashi Chiba. Microlensing constraints on primordial black holes with Subaru/HSC Andromeda observations. Nature Astronomy, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41550-019-0723-1
  2. Christopher J. Manser, Boris T. Gänsicke, Siegfried Eggl, Mark Hollands, Paula Izquierdo, Detlev Koester, John D. Landstreet, Wladimir Lyra, Thomas R. Marsh, Farzana Meru, Alexander J. Mustill, Pablo Rodríguez-Gil, Odette Toloza, Dimitri Veras, David J. Wilson, Matthew R. Burleigh, Melvyn B. Davies, Jay Farihi, Nicola Gentile Fusillo, Domitilla De Martino, Steven G. Parsons, Andreas Quirrenbach, Roberto Raddi, Sabine Reffert, Melania Del Santo, Matthias R. Schreiber, Roberto Silvotti, Silvia Toonen,†, Eva Villaver, Mark Wyatt, Siyi Xu, Simon Portegies Zwart. A planetesimal orbiting within the debris disc around a white dwarf star. Science, 2019 DOI: 10.1126/science.aat5330
  3. Jonathan Cripe, Nancy Aggarwal, Robert Lanza, Adam Libson, Robinjeet Singh, Paula Heu, David Follman, Garrett D. Cole, Nergis Mavalvala, Thomas Corbitt. Measurement of quantum back action in the audio band at room temperature. Nature, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1051-4

 

April 22, 2019

Lagrange Point Episode 323 - Keeping your immune system in fighting shape

How can we keep our immune systems in fighting shape? What happens when our immune systems are responding well or are missing key genes? is there targeted gene therapies that can be used to help save lives of those most at risk from infection?  How does our body hunt down and stop Listeria in it's tracks? Plus undercooked wild game or pork can lead to parasitic infections, but how does the body fight back?

References:

  1. E Mamcarz et al. Lentiviral gene therapy with low dose busulfan for infants with X-SCIDThe New England Journal of Medicine, April 17, 2019; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1815408
  2. Kazuhito Sai, Cameron Parsons, John S. House, Sophia Kathariou, Jun Ninomiya-Tsuji. Necroptosis mediators RIPK3 and MLKL suppress intracellular Listeria replication independently of host cell killingThe Journal of Cell Biology, 2019; jcb.201810014 DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201810014
  3. Nicola Steel, Aduragbemi A. Faniyi, Sayema Rahman, Stefanie Swietlik, Beata I. Czajkowska, Bethany T. Chan, Alexander Hardgrave, Anthony Steel, Tim D. Sparwasser, Mushref B. Assas, Richard K. Grencis, Mark A. Travis, John J. Worthington. TGFβ-activation by dendritic cells drives Th17 induction and intestinal contractility and augments the expulsion of the parasite Trichinella spiralis in micePLOS Pathogens, 2019; 15 (4): e1007657 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007657
April 15, 2019

Episode 322 - Imaging strange objects in space (and on earth)

Taking images of strange objects in space is incredibly complicated and requires both large telescopes, and even larger teams of scientists to pour over the data. Techniques, codes and algorithms to sift through that data to find the unusual patterns is an incredibly difficult and challenging task. However with it we can capture some incredible things whether it be images of black holes, to asteroids literally spinning themselves apart, or even missing endangered species here on earth.

References:

  1. Iowa State University. (2019, March 27). Data flows from NASA's TESS Mission, leads to discovery of Saturn-sized planet. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 13, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190327174701.htm
  2. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2019, March 28). Hubble watches spun-up asteroid coming apart. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 13, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190328112601.htm
  3. British Ecological Society. (2019, April 9). Astro-ecology: Counting orangutans using star-spotting technology: A collaboration between astrophysicists, conservationists and ecologists aims to save rare and endangered animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 13, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190409083245.htm

 

April 8, 2019

Lagrange Point Episode 321 - Bacterial search engine, blending in with hosts

Bacteria are all around us and inside our guts too. Yet despite this there is still so much we do not know about them. We keep discovering new types, new species and then they change the game by blending into hosts and having new side effects. We look at how microbial infections disguise themselves to blend in, how fungal infections deactivate alarm systems, and just how many unknown bacteria there are in your gut. We also find out about ways to tackle our lack of knowledge with bacterial search engines.
References

  1. Alexandre Almeida, Alex L. Mitchell, Miguel Boland, Samuel C. Forster, Gregory B. Gloor, Aleksandra Tarkowska, Trevor D. Lawley, Robert D. Finn. A new genomic blueprint of the human gut microbiotaNature, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-0965-1
  2. Iratxe Estibariz, Annemarie Overmann, Florent Ailloud, Juliane Krebes, Christine Josenhans, Sebastian Suerbaum. The core genome m5C methyltransferase JHP1050 (M.Hpy99III) plays an important role in orchestrating gene expression in Helicobacter pyloriNucleic Acids Research, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/nar/gky1307
  3. Koenig S et al. Gliotoxin from Aspergillus fumigatus Abrogates Leukotriene B4 Formation through Inhibition of Leukotriene A4 HydrolaseCell Chemical Biology, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2019.01.001
  4. Phelim Bradley, Henk C. den Bakker, Eduardo P. C. Rocha, Gil McVean, Zamin Iqbal. Ultrafast search of all deposited bacterial and viral genomic dataNature Biotechnology, 2019; 37 (2): 152 DOI: 10.1038/s41587-018-0010-1
April 1, 2019

Episode 320 - Extinction events and their causes

Life has been around on earth for a long time, but there have been many extinction events that have wiped out large numbers of species. This week we find out how scientists peel back the layers of rock to uncover what caused these extinction events. Plus we find out about current extinction events and what we can learn from the past to protect species today.

References:

  1. DePalma, Robert A.; Smit, Jan; Burnham, David; Kuiper, Klaudia; Manning, Phillip; Oleinik, Anton; Larson, Peter; Maurrasse, Florentin; Vellekoop, Johan; Richards, Mark A.; Gurche, Loren; Alvarez, Walter. Prelude to Extinction: a seismically induced onshore surge deposit at the KPg boundary, North DakotaPNAS, 2019
  2. Ben C. Scheele et al. Amphibian fungal panzootic causes catastrophic and ongoing loss of biodiversityScience, 2019 DOI: 10.1126/science.aav0379
  3. Seth A. Young, Andrew Kleinberg, Jeremy D. Owens. Geochemical evidence for expansion of marine euxinia during an early Silurian (Llandovery–Wenlock boundary) mass extinctionEarth and Planetary Science Letters, 2019; 513: 187 DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.02.023