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News overview 2019


North Atlantic Current may cease temporarily in the next century
Posted on:30 December 2019

Simulations by scientists from the University of Groningen and Utrecht University showed that it is unlikely that the North Atlantic Current , which is responsible for the mild climate in northwestern Europe, will come to a complete stop. However, there is a 15 percent likelihood that there will be a temporary change in the current in the next 100 years.

Resurrected protein reveals structure of important enzyme
Posted on:23 December 2019

University of Groningen enzyme engineer Marco Fraaije and colleagues from Italy and Argentina reconstructed the ancestral genetic sequences for three FMO genes and subsequently studied the enzymes. The ancestral enzymes proved to be stable enough to study and revealed how FMOs metabolize toxic substances.

Duisternis meetnetwerk breidt uit
Posted on:19 December 2019

Het in het najaar gestarte duisternismeetnetwerkx van het Kapteyn Instituut en ScienceLinX is recent uitgebreid met twee nieuwe sensoren in Boerakker en De Zilk (Zuid-Holland).

Science LinX newsletter Christmas 2019 / January 2020
Posted on:19 December 2019

Science LinX newsletter for Christmas 2019 / January 2020

Using a molecular motor to switch the preference of anion-binding catalysts
Posted on:06 December 2019

University of Groningen chemists Ruth Dorel and Ben Feringa have constructed a catalyst that can produce different products and is controlled using light.

Regionale voorronde van Europese wetenschapsolympiade
Posted on:04 December 2019

Maar liefst 57 middelbare scholieren waren 28 november op bezoek bij Science LinX voor de regionale voorronde van de European Union Science Olympiad (EUSO).


Sinterklaas Surprise Lab laat hondjes blaffen
Posted on:28 November 2019

Ruim 20 kinderen uit groepen 7 en 8 van basisscholen uit de directe omgeving van de Zernike Campus hebben hard gewerkt om hun surprise een technische upgrade te geven in het Sinterklaas Surprise Lab.

Science LinX newsletter December 2019
Posted on:28 November 2019

Science LinX newsletter for December 2019

Education & Outreach Day on 10 December
Posted on:28 November 2019

For all FSE staff: join in at the Education and Outreach Day on 10 December

Hot electrons harvested without tricks
Posted on:15 November 2019

Some photons carry too much energy for the material of solar panels to absorb. These photons produce ‘hot electrons’, and the excess energy of these electrons is converted into heat. Scientists from the University of Groningen have now shown that it may be easier than expected to harvest this excess energy.

Suspended layers make a special superconductor
Posted on:05 November 2019

Associate Professor Justin Ye, head of the Device Physics of Complex Materials group at the University of Groningen, studied superconductivity in a double layer of molybdenum disulfide and discovered new superconducting states.


Science LinX te gast bij Festival della Scienza
Posted on:31 October 2019

Tijdens het Festival della Scienza vertegenwoordigt Science LinX de Groningse wetenschap met een 12-daags programma voor jong en oud in het Italiaanse Genua.

Science LinX newsletter November 2019
Posted on:31 October 2019

Science LinX newsletter for November 2019

Double layer of graphene helps to control spin currents
Posted on:17 October 2019

University of Groningen scientists have now taken an important step towards transistors that operate using the spin of electrons, rather than their charge.

Uitdaging voor scholieren op de vrije zaterdag
Posted on:15 October 2019

Enthousiaste scholieren van scholen uit Assen en Groningen zijn op hun vrije zaterdag naar de Zernike Campus gekomen om deel te nemen aan de ‘Astro Data Science Hackathon’.

Watching energy transport through biomimetic nanotubes
Posted on:10 October 2019

Scientists from the University of Groningen (the Netherlands) and the University of Würzburg (Germany) have investigated a simple biomimetic light-harvesting system.


Curved nanochannels allow independent tuning of charge and spin currents
Posted on:30 September 2019

University of Groningen physicist Dr Kumar Sourav Das created curved spin transport channels. Together with his colleagues, he discovered that this new geometry makes it possible to independently tune charge and spin currents.

Science LinX newsletter October 2019
Posted on:26 September 2019

Science LinX newsletter for October 2019

Scientists construct energy production unit for a synthetic cell
Posted on:18 September 2019

Scientists at the University of Groningen have constructed synthetic vesicles in which ATP, the main energy carrier in living cells, is produced. This metabolic network will eventually be used in the creation of synthetic cells.

All-electronic two-dimensional spin transistors
Posted on:12 September 2019

Physicists from the University of Groningen constructed a two-dimensional spin transistor, in which spin currents were generated by an electric current through graphene.

At the edge of chaos, powerful new electronics could be created
Posted on:03 September 2019

A phenomenon that is well known from chaos theory was observed in a material for the first time ever, by scientists from the University of Groningen. This ‘spatial chaos’ in a material was first predicted in 1985 and could be used in applications such as adaptable neuromorphic electronics.

Science LinX newsletter September 2019
Posted on:03 September 2019

Science LinX newsletter for September 2019


Antacid helps tuberculosis bacteria to survive
Posted on:19 August 2019

University of Groningen scientists, with an international team of colleagues, have now discovered a key mechanism in the tuberculosis bacteria which prevents the immune cells from killing them: the bacteria produce a unique type of antacid which gives the immune cells indigestion.

New Zealand’s biodiversity will take millions of years to recover
Posted on:05 August 2019

The arrival of humans in New Zealand, some 700 years ago, triggered a wave of extinction among native bird species. Calculations by scientists from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and Massey University in New Zealand show that it would take at least 50 million years of evolution to restore the biodiversity that has been lost.


Scientists in business
Posted on:16 July 2019

On 24 June, Paul Zomer defended his PhD thesis at the University of Groningen. Zomer used the technological know-how that he acquired during his research at the company HQ Graphene, which he co-owns with Niko Tombros.

Science LinX newsletter July/August 2019
Posted on:10 July 2019

Science LinX newsletter for July/August 2019

Small-volume, high-throughput organic synthesis
Posted on:09 July 2019

University of Groningen Professor of Drug Design, Alexander Dömling, has devised a method to rapidly synthesize thousands of new molecules and evaluate their properties as potential drugs. In a paper published by Science Advances on 5 July, he shows that this method works well when applied to boronic acid chemistry, an important technique in synthetic organic chemistry.


New instrument will add to Gaia data
Posted on:21 June 2019

Professor of Astronomy Amina Helmi investigates how the Milky Way got its present shape. The Gaia satellite mission, in which she plays an important role, has provided a cornucopia of data so far. Now, Helmi is involved in the building of a new instrument that will be mounted onto an Earth-based telescope and that will provide even more information.

Using waves to move droplets
Posted on:14 June 2019

Self-cleaning surfaces and laboratories on a chip become even more efficient if we are able to control individual droplets. University of Groningen professor Patrick Onck, together with colleagues from Eindhoven University of Technology, have shown that this is possible by using a technique known as mechanowetting.


Science LinX newsletter June 2019
Posted on:29 May 2019

Science LinX newsletter for June 2019

Turning organic waste into green gold
Posted on:16 May 2019

Pyrolysis, heating in the absence of oxygen, is a technique to turn wood chips into valuable chemicals. University of Groningen Professor of Chemical Engineering Erik Heeres is involved in producing ‘green gold’ from organic waste.

A guide to 'Leading your Research Team in Science'
Posted on:15 May 2019

So, you want to be a scientist? In that case, know that simply mastering your chosen subject is only the beginning. Fortunately, there is a series of books about these three topics, written by University of Groningen Dean of Talent Development Ritsert Jansen.

Novel molecular multi-step photoswitches caught in the act
Posted on:08 May 2019

Scientists at the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry at the University of Groningen, together with collaborators from the University of Amsterdam, the University of Twente and the European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy in Italy, have been able to follow the entire sequence of structural transformations in a new class of molecular switches for the first time.

Modelling an inconvenient truth about carbon footprints
Posted on:02 May 2019

In his latest paper, newly appointed Professor in Energy and Environmental Scienceis Klaus Hubacek describes how Chinese cities export their pollution to neighbouring regions. His work combines economics and environmental science into models that show the global consequences of regional policies.


Darwin can help your doctor
Posted on:30 April 2019

Taking an evolutionary view can inspire new ideas in clinical microbiology. That is why clinicians, bioinformaticians analysing pathogens and evolutionary biologists should all work together. These are the conclusions of a diverse group of scientists led by University of Groningen microbiologist Marjon de Vos, in a short review published by The Lancet Infectious Diseases on 29 April.

Secondary school pupils field test teaching module
Posted on:25 April 2019

On 9 April, more than 40 pupils from the Leeuwarder Lyceum and the RSG De Lindenborg from the municipality of Leek visited a farmer to explore ‘sustainable landscapes’. In a masterclass, they got a first impression of the research project that they will be working on over the next eight weeks.

Fitting a right hand in a left-handed mitten
Posted on:25 April 2019

University of Groningen scientists have now shown that a prokaryotic transport protein can transport both L- and D- versions of the amino acid aspartate with equal efficiency. The results were published in the journal eLife on 24 April.

Secondary school pupils experience the Hannover Messe
Posted on:23 April 2019

The five groups of pupils nominated for the Jan Kommandeur prize for their final school projects were invited to the Hannover Messe Challenge on 1 and 2 April. This event is the largest technology and innovation fair in the world!

New compound allows bacterial communication to be controlled by light
Posted on:15 April 2019

Scientists from the University of Groningen have succeeded in incorporating a light-controlled switch into a molecule used by bacteria for quorum sensing – a process by which bacteria communicate and subsequently control different cellular processes.

Meteorites and gut bacteria are the winners of FameLab 2019
Posted on:04 April 2019

The University Museum was the venue of this year’s Groningen heat of the international science communication competition FameLab, which took place on 28 March.

High throughput method to produce and screen engineered antimicrobial lanthipeptides
Posted on:02 April 2019

Molecular biologists from the University of Groningen and their colleagues in Switzerland and Germany have now developed a pipeline to create and screen large numbers of new lantibiotic peptides. A description of the method and the first results were published on 1 April in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

Science LinX newsletter May 2019
Posted on:28 March 2019

Science LinX newsletter for May 2019


Science LinX newsletter April 2019
Posted on:28 March 2019

Science LinX newsletter for April 2019

Finding your future job at the Beta Business Days
Posted on:25 March 2019

The 32nd edition of the Beta Business Days took place on 11 and 12 March. Beta (science, engineering and technology) students entered the MartiniPlaza to immerse themselves into their future career possibilities.

Bridging the gap between society and science
Posted on:22 March 2019

The 40th anniversary of the six UG ‘science shops’ was celebrated in style at the University Museum on Thursday 21 March. The Museum’s upstairs room was adorned with scientific posters presenting research carried out by the science shops.

Making solar cells can be like buttering bread
Posted on:21 March 2019

Formamidinium lead iodide is a very good material for photovoltaic cells, but getting the correct and stable crystal structure is a challenge. Now, University of Groningen scientists, led by Professor of Photophysics and Optoelectronics Maria Antonietta Loi, think they have cracked it.

Molecular motors run in unison in a metal-organic framework
Posted on:18 March 2019

Organic chemists at the University of Groningen have succeeded in integrating numerous unidirectional light-driven rotary motors into a metal-organic framework (a solid material with a 3D cage-like structure). Details of their discovery were published on 18 March, in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Subsidie voor onderzoek ziekte van Huntington
Posted on:15 March 2019

Vorige week werd bekend dat adjunct hoogleraar Patrick van der Wel van de RUG een subsidie van 250.000 euro heeft ontvangen van het Campagneteam Huntington, een organisatie die via crowdfunding geld ophaalt voor wetenschappelijk onderzoek naar de ziekte van Huntington.

How a mitochondrial enzyme can trigger cell death
Posted on:14 March 2019

Using solid-state NMR, University of Groningen Associate Professor Patrick van der Wel and colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh have discovered how the enzyme cytochrome c induces programmed cell death.

Novel potent antimicrobial from thermophilic bacterium
Posted on:12 March 2019

University of Groningen microbiologists and their colleagues from Lithuania have discovered a new glycocin, a small antimicrobial peptide with a sugar group attached, which is produced by a thermophilic bacterium and is stable at relatively high temperatures.

Two papers describe how a membrane protein can move both lipids and ions
Posted on:07 March 2019

In a new study, published in two back-to-back papers in the journal eLife , Cristina Paulino, head of the cryo-EM unit at the Structural Biology department at the University of Groningen, reveals how a protein family can either transport ions, or both ions and lipids.

Student designs DIY finger exoskeleton
Posted on:07 March 2019

University of Groningen Biomedical Engineering student Sander Hekkelman designed an ‘exoskeleton’ that can support a finger.


Science LinX newsletter March 2019
Posted on:28 February 2019

Science LinX newsletter for March 2019

Better understanding of spin transfer to non-conducting magnets
Posted on:27 February 2019

A new study by scientists from the Universities of Groningen and Manchester, which was published in Applied Physics Letters on 21 February 2019, shows how best to study this transfer from electonspins to a non-conductive magnet.

Telescopes to hunt for origin of gravitational waves assembled in Groningen
Posted on:26 February 2019

At the SRON Groningen workshop, scientists and technicians have assembled three survey telescopes to look for the optical source of gravitational waves.

Secondary school pupils become citizen scientists
Posted on:21 February 2019

In September 2017, Science LinX started an EU-funded project to involve secondary school pupils and their teachers from the Netherlands, Spain and Cyprus in research as real ‘citizen scientists’. Project leader Maaike de Heij explains what has been done so far.

Nanopores make portable mass spectrometer for peptides a reality
Posted on:19 February 2019

University of Groningen scientists have developed nanopores that can be used to directly measure the mass of peptides. An article on this discovery was published on 19 February in Nature Communications.

Oproep: steun fonds voor wetenschapsmusea en science centers
Posted on:19 February 2019

VSC, de sectororganisatie van wetenschapsmusea en science centers waar ook Science LinX bij aangesloten is, vraagt om het instellen van een speciaal fonds of een regeling voor het financieren van goede wetenschapscommunicatie.

How poppy flowers get those vibrant colours that entice insects
Posted on:08 February 2019

University of Groningen scientists Casper van der Kooi and Doekele Stavenga used microscopy and mathematical models describing how light interacts with petals of poppies, to find out how the vibrant colours are created.

First transport measurements reveal intriguing properties of germanene
Posted on:07 February 2019

Scientists led by Prof. Justin Ye of the University of Groningen have now managed to produce devices with stable germanene. The material is an insulator, and it becomes a semiconductor after moderate heating and a very good metallic conductor after stronger heating.

Theoretical model may help solve molecular mystery
Posted on:05 February 2019

When it comes to realizing low-power electronic devices, spintronics look promising. However, to generate a suitable spin current, you need a relatively large magnet. An alternative method that uses a special type of molecule has been proposed, but the big question is: does it work? University of Groningen PhD student Xu Yang has constructed a theoretical model which describes how to put this new method to the test.

Ferroelectric polymers made more versatile
Posted on:05 February 2019

The ferroelectric polymer PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride) has interesting properties and could be used to store information or energy. University of Groningen scientists have created block copolymers from PVDF that leave its ferroelectricity intact, but allow them to tune its characteristics.


Science LinX newsletter February 2019
Posted on:31 January 2019

Science LinX newsletter for February 2019

Green alternative to PET could be even greener
Posted on:30 January 2019

An alternative to PET can be made from bio-based furan molecules, but to polymerize these furans you need toxic catalysts and high temperatures. Now, polymer chemists from the University of Groningen, led by Prof. Katja Loos, have described an enzyme-based polymerization method.

How gut bacteria affect the treatment of Parkinson’s disease
Posted on:18 January 2019

In a study published on 18 January in the journal Nature Communications, scientists from the University of Groningen show that gut bacteria can metabolize levodopa into dopamine. As dopamine cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, this makes the medication less effective.

Complex molecules emerge without evolution or design
Posted on:17 January 2019

A team of scientists led by University of Groningen Professor of Systems Chemistry, Sijbren Otto, have discovered a new class of complex folding molecules that emerge spontaneously from simple building blocks. The results were published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society on 16 January.

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