Research Highlights

Can lactate be used for treating stroke?

Stroke is caused when there is restricted flow of blood to some parts of the brain, which starves the brain cells of oxygen and glucose. This leads to death of brain cells, also called neurons, which cannot be fully replaced after they are lost. The oxygen and glucose-starved cells accumulate ‘lactate’ in the spaces between neurons. Lactate is a metabolic substance found in human body, it is a component of the substance, lactic acid that gives a sour taste to curd.

Urban Growth Pattern in Chennai

The urban area of Chennai has increased from 1.46 to 18.55% in two decades (1991 – 2012), according to a new study published by the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Dr. T. V. Ramachandra and Dr. Bharath H. Aithal from the Centre for Ecological Sciences have studied the urban growth patterns in ten major Indian cities, one of which is Chennai. Their study also found that the vegetation cover has reduced by 22% during this period.

Fatal Attraction: A case of deceit by female figs

The fig-wasp is a tiny insect that lays its eggs in figs, which bear ever tinier flowers within them. As the female wasp lays eggs, it also deposits on the flowers pollen from the figs in which it was born. Figs act as bassinets for the new eggs, allowing them to hatch and develop into adults. The adults mate within the fig, before the female wasp takes off for another fig to lay eggs in, with help from the blind and wingless males which cut an exit opening for the females. The males are left behind in the fig to die a quiet death. Thus wasps help figs by pollinating their flowers, while figs provide wasps with mating and hatching grounds. This give-and-take relationship, a kind of ‘mutualism’, has remained intact for over 80 million years. This scenario is the norm for half the fig species in the world which are bisexual and have male and female flowers in the same fig.

Scientists study Commute CO2 Emissions in Bangalore and Xi’an

Car availability and household location majorly contribute to commute carbon dioxide emissions in developing countries, as per the latest study. An international team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, the University of Melbourne, Australia and Chang’an University, China, were a part of this study conducted in Bangalore, India and Xi'an, China. The two cities are currently undergoing rapid economic growth, urbanization, and motorization. The study aimed to analyze the characteristics and changing trends of the commute CO2 emissions and identify strategies for reducing emissions and mitigating climate change.

3D Information from just the Protein Sequence

Proteins are all around us in the biological world, like the hidden cogs that turn the hands of a watch; it is primarily proteins that form the structural and functional components of life as we know it. Just like beads on a string, proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids that are joined together in a specific sequence. This specific sequence is unique to a protein, and gives rise to both the shape of the protein and its associated function. While technology has allowed us to easily identify a protein’s sequence i.e. the sequence of amino acids it contains, what biologists are often concerned with is the three dimensional structure of a protein.

Bio-cementing termites: how soil is engineered into a strong fortress

“There is only one nature – the division into science and engineering is a human imposition, not a natural one” said Bill Wulf, an engineer. Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, have recently explained how a group of fungus-growing termites “bioengineer” the soil with their secretions and construct stable mounds. This process is termed “bio-cementation”, where termites alter soil properties to build strong mounds.