Carnivorous plants can be a source of inspiration for new materials with specific mechanical properties, according to researchers from the Centre for Complexity and Biosystems (CC&B) of the University of Milan. In a paper recently published on PNAS– and selected for the journal’s cover –they analysed the mechanics by which one of these plants, Drosera capensis, folds its leaves around insects trapped on their sticky surface in order to digest them.
Caterina La Porta
Caterina A. M. La Porta is currently associate professor of General Pathology at University of Milan and group leader of the Molecular Oncology Laboratory. In 2015, she founded the Center for Complexity & Biosystems at the University of Milan. She has been visiting scientist in many international universities and institutes, including University of North Carolina, MIT, Cornell University, Weizmann Institute and Aalto University. The focus of her group is to understand cancer progression, cell cycle division and related mechanical properties. The group is also investigating the mechanisms underlining neurodegenerative pathologies. Member of many international societies, referee and member of the editorial board of many international journals. She organized several workshops and conferences including two interdisciplinary workshops on the physics of cancer funded by CECAM and ESF.
Le piante carnivore possono essere una fonte di ispirazione per nuovi materiali dotati di proprietà meccaniche molto particolari.
An MRI scan shows signs of atrophy in the brain of a patient with Huntington's disease.
Science Photo Library/Science Source
Researchers have found that aberrant protein aggregates responsible for Huntington’s disease have some weak spots that could be exploited to hinder the development of this pathology. The study, published on Scientific Report, has been conducted by scientists of the Centre for Complexity and Biosystems (CC&B) of the University of Milan, in collaboration with colleagues from Penn State University.
Nella seconda metà degli anni novanta John Dick dell’Università di Toronto identificò nella leucemia una sottopopolazione cellulare che era in grado di rigenerare il tumore in topi immunocompromessi. Da allora la presenza di sottopopolazioni in grado di riprodurre il tumore di partenza è stata riportata anche in diversi tumori solidi.