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News overview 2016


A Happy 2017 from Science LinX!
Published on:31 December 2016

A Happy 2017 from Science LinX!

Antibiotic resistance just became more complex
Published on:27 December 2016

Bacteria that are susceptible to antibiotics can survive when enough resistant cells around them are expressing an antibiotic-deactivating factor. This new take on how the microbial context can compromise antibiotic therapy was published by a team of microbiologists from the University of Groningen microbiologists, together with colleagues from San Diego, in the journal PLOS Biology on 27 December.

Quantum laws rule tiniest circuits
Published on:20 December 2016

The integrated circuitry of microchips is getting ever smaller. New technologies even promise molecular circuits. But at this length-scale, the normal laws governing conductance have to make way for quantum laws. Ryan Chiechi and co-workers explored some of these quantum effects in molecular circuits in a paper published on 20 December in Nature Communications.

Images of Nobel-winning motors by Ben Feringa
Published on:20 December 2016

University of Groningen / Science LinX present five images for Nobel-winning motors by Ben Feringa

ROBOX: new enzymes and nice film
Published on:14 December 2016

University of Groningen professor Marco Fraaije is looking to improve enzymes to make them suitable for use in industry. He has already improved a number of such enzymes in his work on the European research project ROBOX. A new film explains the project.

New research paper challenges dogma of cell cycle control
Published on:14 December 2016

All textbooks describe the cyclin-dependent kinase complex as the one and only/exclusive regulator of the eukaryotic cell cycle. But now University of Groningen scientists have found evidence that a metabolic oscillator acts as the 'conductor' of cell division. Their results were published online in the journal Molecular Cell on December 15.

Out of the lab, into the classroom
Published on:07 December 2016

Peter van Abswoude spent over four years working with electron beams. He now teaches at a school. His ambition is to inspire pupils and spark enthusiasm for his subject of physics.


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Below, all 2016 Science LinX news items are listed


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Serendipitous observation may lead to more efficient solar cells and new gas sensors
When:27 July 2016

While investigating perovskite crystals, University of Groningen scientists made an observation that could make perovskite solar cells more efficient. It could also lead to new sensors for oxygen and water vapour. The results were published in the journal Science Advances on 27 July.

Groningen researchers steer spin transport
When:21 July 2016

A team of physicists from the University of Groningen led by Bart van Wees have managed to steer the transport of electron spins with an electric field. They are the first to achieve this at room temperature, bringing new applications of spintronics a step closer. Their results were published in the journal Nano Letters.

Big grant for rafting on a bacterial cell
When:19 July 2016

University of Groningen microbiologists are participating in a project which has just been awarded some EUR 7.4 million by the European Horizon 2020 programme. The aim is to use ‘lipid rafts’, parts of cell membranes, to produce useful products or break down pollutants.

Syuzanna Harutyunyan wins KNCV Gold Medal
When:14 July 2016

On December 7 the KNCV Gold Medal will be awarded to University of Groningen associate professor Syuzanna R. Harutyunyan. The KNCV Gold Medal is the most prestigious, Dutch recognition for chemical talent, and will be awarded during the chemical conference CHAINS, which takes place from 6 - 8 December 2016.

Two light switches combined in one molecule
When:13 July 2016

University of Groningen scientists led by Professor of Organic Chemistry Ben Feringa have developed a molecule containing two separate light switches. Feringa has thus created another tool for building light-controllable functional materials. An article on the double switch was published in the journal Nature Communications on 12 July.

Science LinX newsletter on teachers training
When:30 June 2016

Science LinX newsletter on teacher training


Science LinX newsletter June 2016
When:30 June 2016

Science LinX newsletter for July 2016

Location is what counts for bacterial genes
When:29 June 2016

Location is what counts: University of Groningen microbiologists Jan-Willem Veening and Jelle Slager describe how gene location influences bacterial processes in a review that was published in Trends in Microbiology on 27 Juni (corrected proofs).

Parkinson protein shape revealed
When:28 June 2016

An international group of scientists has published a model of the ‘Parkinson protein’ LRRK2. University of Groningen biochemist Arjan Kortholt is one of the corresponding authors of the paper which describes the model. It was published on 27 June in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

European Control Award for Ming Cao
When:27 June 2016

University of Groningen engineer Ming Cao receives European Control Award

Knots receive eminent visitor
When:23 June 2016

University of Groningen Professor of Animal Ecology Theunis Piersma and his colleagues from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) received an eminent visitor during their fieldwork on the knot, a wading bird, on Banc d’Arguin in Mauretania. None other than Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, dropped by.

Sensor noise guides flexible robots
When:21 June 2016

Industrial robots are usually good at doing one pre-programmed job. Getting them to do something else requires a lot of new programming. The ENgineering and TEchnology institute Groningen (ENTEG) wants to develop flexible robots. Hector García de Marina describes how to do so in his PhD thesis.

ISCOMS - Internationaal, interessant, interdisciplinair
When:21 June 2016

Verslag van het International Student Congress of (bio)Medical Sciences, eerder deze maand in het UMCG.

Exhibition competition for Dutch schools
When:14 June 2016

In academic year 2015-2016, various schools in the Netherlands participated in the IRRESISTIBLE project.

Taste of science for class 3Y of Lindenborg School
When:14 June 2016

Report of the annual science taster by class 3Y of the Lindenborg (Leek) at the University of Groningen’s Bernoulliborg and Linnaeusborg buildings.

Spinoza prize winner Bart van Wees: Innovative, smaller and better
When:13 June 2016

Bart van Wees, Professor of Physics of Nanodevices at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials of the University of Groningen, is one of the four recipients of this year’s NWO Spinoza Prize, the highest distinction in Dutch academia. His research stems from his curiosity about the behaviour of electrons inside new materials, but he has always had at least half an eye on practical applications.

Stable isotopes help calibrate thermometers
When:10 June 2016

The work of University of Groningen PhD student Vahideh Faghihi will make the calibration of thermometers even more accurate. No big deal for the average user, but important to climate scientists.

One step closer to finishing Einstein’s work
When:09 June 2016

Albert Einstein spent the last twenty years of his career trying to unify physics in one theory, without success. The most nagging aspect was his failure to describe gravity in terms of quantum mechanics. Physicists around the world are still working on the problem and believe they will find the answer by studying the early Universe. The cosmological models developed by University of Groningen PhD student Marco Scalisi promise significant progress.

Another first for Feringa: chemically powered rotary motor
When:08 June 2016

University of Groningen chemist Ben Feringa has done it again. He has presented a rotary motor driven by chemical energy. An article on the new motor was published in Nature Chemistry on 6 June.

Connecting light to electronics
When:08 June 2016

University of Groningen chemist Ryan Chiechi has produced a device that can be switched by light from low to high conductance at the speed of picoseconds. In time, such a photogated device could use organic molecules to convert optical pulses to electronic signals. The proof of principle study was published on 8 Junein Nature Communications.

Night of Arts and Sciences: Science LinX @ Der Aa-kerk
When:07 June 2016

Photo report: Science LinX @ Der Aa church during the Night of Art en Science

School pupils seek inspiration in Der Aa-kerk.
When:07 June 2016

Who hasn’t lain awake at night worrying about their profile assignment? Some 300 school pupils came to seek inspiration for that oh so important research question from the Science LinX exhibition in the Der Aa-kerk during the Research Days prior to the Night of Arts and Sciences. Our reporter Sterre Koops was there too.

Green chemistry now even greener
When:02 June 2016

Three years ago, University of Groningen chemist Ben Feringa presented a cleaner method to make compounds that are important for pharmaceuticals and more. He has now come up with a follow-up that is cleaner still. Nature Communications published the new technique on 2 June.


Science LinX newsletter June 2016
When:31 May 2016

Science LinX newsletter for June 2016

Cooling graphene with electrons
When:24 May 2016

Transistors are shrinking, but the heat they produce is becoming a problem. One solution could be to cool them with electrons, relying on what is known as the Peltier effect. This works for beer, and Ivan Vera Marun, a physicist at the Universities of Groningen and Manchester, has now shown that it also works on two-dimensional graphene sheets.

Young scientists to be trained to analyse Big Data
When:17 May 2016

The University of Groningen will lead a European consortium that will train 14 PhD students to analyse large databases using state-of-the-art computer science. The training programme, called Sundial,will be funded by a EUR 3.7 million grant from the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks programme.

The anatomy of flower colour
When:10 May 2016

Roses are red, violets are blue. Everybody knows that, but what makes them so? Although plant breeders were aware of some of the genes involved, there was as yet no quantitative study of how pigment turns a flower red, blue or yellow. Casper van der Kooi conducted just such a study, combining biology and physics.

Lezing: onmogelijke micro-organismen
When:10 May 2016

Op dinsdagavond 17 mei zal prof. Mike Jetten ​(Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen) ​een lezing geven bij het Koninklijk Natuurkundig Genootschap te Groningen, over de ontdekking van 'onmogelijke' microorganismen.


Restoring fish to combat coastal eutrophication
When:29 April 2016

Management measures aimed at restoring commercial stocks of marine fish, for example cod, is an efficient tool to decrease eutrophication effects in coastal areas. This is the main conclusion of a review, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Research days as inspiration for profile assignment
When:28 April 2016

Almost 800 school pupils from 11 different schools attended the University of Groningen research days on 21, 22, 25 and 26 April. They found inspiration for their profile assignment and learned about open and investigative questions.

Science LinX newsletter May 2016
When:28 April 2016

Science LinX newsletter for May 2016

FameLab: juryprijs voor uitdijing heelal, publieksprijs naar Groningen.
When:26 April 2016

Welke wetenschapper kan het beste zijn onderzoek uitleggen aan het publiek? Daar gaat het om bij FameLab, een internationale wedstrijd waaraan honderden jonge onderzoekers uit meer dan 25 landen aan meedoen.

Profielwerkstukken scoren in Roemenië
When:26 April 2016

De afgelopen week waren vier middelbare scholieren in Roemenië om namens de RUG hun profielwerkstuk te presenteren op de International Conference for Young Scientists. Ze wonnen een gouden, een zilveren en een bronzen medaille.

Betere plastic halfgeleider door verdunning
When:26 April 2016

RUG-promovendus Davood Abbaszadeh heeft met collega’s uit Duitsland een manier gevonden om plastic halfgeleiders efficiënter te maken. Het levert betere led’s op, en mogelijk ook efficiëntere zonnecellen. En dat tegen lagere kosten. Het onderzoek is maandag 25 april gepubliceerd in Nature Materials.

Bachelor’s phase research results in Science publication
When:21 April 2016

In spring 2015, chemistry student Marieke Veenstra did her final Bachelor’s project in organic chemistry. During the three-month project in Syuzanna Harutyunyan’s lab, she tested a new method to produce carbon-carbon bonds. Her work has ended up in a Science article that was published on 23 April.

Cool combination produces easier carbon bonds
When:20 April 2016

By combining two century-old techniques in organic chemistry, Syuzanna Harutyunyan is able to make organic compounds with greater ease and precision. Such compounds are important for drug discovery and development. Harutyunyan’s method is described in a paper that is be published by the journal Science on 22 April.

Girls’ Day – girl power at the Bernoulliborg
When:19 April 2016

Some 30 girls in their first year at secondary school visited the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences for the annual Girls’ Day, held this year on 14 April. The programme included a lecture on whole-brain synchronization in Tibetan monks, visits to the Science LinX exhibition and the Blaauw Observatory and an opportunity to meet female scientists.

Hybrid perovskites promise cheaper solar panels, better X-ray detectors
When:14 April 2016

You may not have heard of hybrid perovskites, but they could make solar panels much cheaper. They could also make X-ray detectors more efficient, which would mean less radiation in scans. Professor of Photophysics and Optoelectronics Maria Antonietta Loi studies these exciting materials and has just published two papers on them.

New revolutionary technique too good to be true
When:06 April 2016

Dipayan Paul wanted to introduce a new way of measuring the radioactive isotope carbon-14 to Groningen. But he failed to reproduce the results published by an American lab, and could only conclude that the method was wrong. The results can be found his PhD thesis, which he defended on 11 April.

Energy in pictures
When:05 April 2016

Science nowadays isn’t just about producing data: making sense of publicly available ‘Big Data’ can be equally important. Chris Davis from the Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Groningen used some 1.5 million data points describing electricity generation in all US states to assess the likely impact of the new Clean Power Plan, a policy aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the US.


Science LinX newsletter May 2016
When:28 April 2016

Science LinX newsletter for May 2016

Revolution in membrane transport
When:30 March 2016

University of Groningen scientists are the first to discover the mechanism bacteria use to import vitamins, and in the process they discovered that the textbooks were wrong. The results were published in Nature Communications.

Kraak de code: werk met een Turing Machine!
When:24 March 2016

Scholieren kunnen kennismaken met Informatica en Wiskunde tijdens een speciale middag over het kraken van codes.

Huge crowd at Blaauw Observatory
When:15 March 2016

On Friday and Saturday, March 11th and 12th, a record number of 565 visitors participated in the National Stargazing Days at the Blaauw Observatory of the University of Groningen.

Re-engineering a tiny enzyme
When:08 March 2016

Gerrit Poelarends was looking for an enzyme that would make a key step in the production of important pharmaceuticals greener and much more efficient. It led him to a tiny protein called 4-oxalocrotonate tautomerase. Over a period of five years, he managed to map the possibilities it offers and re-engineer it to perform the required step.

Lofar hears cosmic rays hit
When:03 March 2016

Physicists have used the radio antennas of the Lofar telescope to study high energy cosmic particles. In the journal Nature they report that the origin of these particles lies within the Milky Way.

The meek shall inherit the Earth – as long as it’s crowded
When:01 March 2016

When there is fierce competition for territories, shy-slow birds have an advantage. That's what University of Groningen ecologists found while studying the evolution of personality traits in great tits.


Science LinX newsletter March 2016
When:28 February 2016

Science LinX newsletter for March 2016

Teachers: learn more about new teaching modules
When:23 February 2016

Science LinX organizes two workshops for teachers to introduce new teaching modules.

Spin waves and free will win FameLab qualifying round
When:12 February 2016

Report on the Groningen qualifying round of FameLab, the international competition for young scientists who want to explain their work to the general public.

Controlling a chopping mirror
When:11 February 2016

Astronomer and engineer Robert Huisman designed a vital part for the European Extremely Large Telescope, and got his PhD in the process.

Working at full stretch to recycle rubber
When:03 February 2016

Martin van Duin, research scientist at Lanxess, becomes honorary professor in Rubber products at the University of Groningen.

Master’s student reviews ecology and evolution of bacteria and phages
When:02 February 2016

The first year essay written by master student Nancy Obeng became an Opinion article in the journal Trends in Microbiology.

Come and watch FameLab
When:02 February 2016

Come and watch the Groningen heat of FameLab 2016, on 11 February!


Parkinson’s patients can breathe a sigh of relief
When:20 January 2016

Researchers from the Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmacy and the Martini Hospital are developing a drug preparation that can be inhaled. Patients suffering from what is known as an ‘off-period’ (cramps throughout body) are expected to recover much faster with this innovation.

Festival-goers fully recharged at RE:charge expo
When:19 January 2016

During Eurosonic/Noorderslag, festival-goers had the opportunity to touch and interact with innovations in sustainability in SummerLabb. Science LinX was part of this festival-lab with a preview of the new exhibition on energy transition RE:charge.

Visit 'RE: charge' during Eurosonic/Noorderslag
When:14 January 2016

Science LinX presents RE: charge at Eurosonic/Noorderslag

More light under the microscope
When:11 January 2016

University of Groningen scientists have come up with an improved method to apply fluorescent labels in microscopy studies. They have linked a protective ‘stabilizer’ to the fluorophore resulting in increased and longer emission. Their results were published on 11 January in the journal Nature Communications.

Failed experiment ends up in Nature
When:07 January 2016

Three trips to Greenland resulted only in disappointment for climate researcher Harro Meijer from the University of Groningen Centre for Isotope Research. A few years later, however, the data from this failed field experiment on the ice cap suddenly proved extremely useful, and Meijer ended up contributing to a study that was published in Nature Climate Change on 4 January.

The origins of abiotic species
When:04 January 2016

University of Groningen chemistry professor Sijbren Otto studies ‘chemical evolution’ to see if self-organization and autocatalysis will provide the answer. His research group previously developed self-replicating molecules – molecules that can make copies of themselves – and have now observed diversification in replicator mutants. This means that ecological diversity as encountered in biology may well have its roots at the molecular level. The results were published on 4 January in Nature Chemistry.

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