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A Hormone—Plant Style

Published on 29. Mai 2020

Researchers develop biotechnological production process 

How can chemistry be used to produce plant hormones? This is the subject of a new study being carried out by doctoral student Jana Löwe and the two professors, Dr Harald Gröger and Dr Karl-Josef Dietz (from left to right). Photo: Bielefeld University
Plants produce the hormone jasmonic acid as a defence response when challenged. This is how they ensure that their predators no longer like the taste of their leaves. Biologists want to find out whether biological precursors and other variants of jasmonic acid lead to similar or different effects. But such derivatives of the hormone have so far been too expensive for experiments and difficult to come by. Researchers from the Faculties of Chemistry and Biology at Bielefeld University have now found a method that might make the production of a biologically significant precursor of jasmonic acid more efficient and cheaper. Their innovation: they imitate how plants produce the hormone. The result is 12-OPDA, a central precursor of jasmonic acid. In the long term, it could also be a potential precursor for high-quality perfume. The researchers present their method today (29.05.2020) in the research journal Advanced Science.


Posted by JHeeren in General

A Non-Destructive Method of Analysing Molecules in Cells

Published on 29. Mai 2020

Fibre laser microscopy to be used in clinical applications

The fibre-based microscope – the setup pictured here is in Bielefeld. Future versions of the device are intended to be made small enough to be portable. Photo: Bielefeld University/J. Kopp
When investigating how tumors grow, or how pharmaceuticals affect different types of cells, researchers have to understand how molecules within a cell react – and interact. This is possible with modern laser microscopy. Until now, however, molecules in cell specimens had to be labelled with fluorescent substances in order to make them visible, and this can distort the very behavior of the molecules. Research groups from Bielefeld University and the University of Hong Kong have developed a laser microscope that works without having to label the molecules. For this, the researchers innovated a unique compact fibre laser instead of the solid-state lasers that had previously been used. The new microscope generates far less noise when in use than customary designs, making it suitable for use in operating rooms. The researchers presented their innovative technology in the journal ‘Light: Science and Applications,’ which is published by Springer Nature.


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How news becomes false news

Published on 15. Mai 2020
New ZiF research group on the effects of digital media

Social media is changing communication just as much as the dissemination of news. Radical positions that used to be voiced in the private sphere can now reach a worldwide audience. The research group "Multimodal Rhetoric in Online Media Communications" at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at Bielefeld University will investigate how sub-communities and other interested parties create, manage and disseminate information across media platforms. The researchers will focus specifically on the role of language, images and videos in this process. The group starts on May 18, with a virtual opening conference. The aim is to develop analysis tools that will allow us track the development and flow of different kinds of information, particularly false information, across media platforms.[Weiterlesen]
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Making Better Decisions with Artificial Intelligence

Published on 17. April 2020

Cooperation among Bielefeld University, University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld & v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel

These researchers are developing a technical system that is designed to help professionals in social work make well-informed decisions. From left:  Prof. Dr. Philip Cimiano and Angelika Maier (both from CITEC) with Diana Schneider and Prof. Dr. Udo Seelmeyer (both from the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld). Photo: CITEC/Bielefeld University


Methods of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are increasingly being used to support the human decision-making process. Researchers from Bielefeld University’s CITEC institute are working together with researchers from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld to investigate the opportunities and risks of using algorithm-based recommendations for decision-making in the field of social services. For this, the academic researchers are partnering with the v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel. The Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia is supporting the project as part of the Digital Society research program.

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Daily Estimates for the Spread of COVID-19

Published on 7. April 2020
Daily Estimates for the Spread of COVID-19

A new website tracking the COVID-19 epidemic which is updated daily allows everyone to stay informed about the speed of epidemic spread in Germany and the rest of the world. To this end, scientists of Technische Universität Ilmenau cooperate with public health scientists of Universität Bielefeld to estimate the reproduction number, i.e. the mean number of people one infectious person will in turn infect. It allows to quantify the impact of the countermeasures that have been imposed, and also to continuously track the epidemic‘s progress over time. As such it is an important tool for policymakers.[Weiterlesen]
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When Populist Politics Hurt Public Health

Published on 6. April 2020
Bielefeld researchers call attention to scientists experiencing political repression in the journal Science


‘Health is a human right, not something that is bound to certain characteristics of a group of people,’ says Prof. Dr. Oliver Razum. The public health scientist advocates for independent public health research. Photo: Bielefeld University
The World Health Day, which is held on 7 April is meant to highlight the importance of healthcare and disease prevention around the world. In many countries, however, these public health objectives are under threat. Researchers from Bielefeld University diagnosed this problem in a recent ‘Letter to the Editor’ published in the journal Science. As argued by the research team, the Coronavirus crisis lays bare just how essential evidence-based research is – and how dangerous it is for public health when information on disease from scientists and medical professionals becomes subject to political repression. 


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Three million euros in funding for new nano water filters

Published on 12. März 2020

Bielefeld University heading EU project on ultra-thin membranes

Prof. Dr Armin Gölzhäuser is the head of the new EU project. Universities and companies are working together to develop nanomembranes that can efficiently separate water. Photo: Bielefeld University/M.-D. Müller
Researchers and engineers from seven countries want to develop special filters on the nano scale. They are cooperating in a new project that has now been approved by the European Union. The new filters are to produce ultrapure water for applications in, for example, industry and research. At the same time, they should make it possible to extract water from liquids such as milk or fruit juice to produce concentrates. The project is being funded with a total of three million euros. Bielefeld University will be in charge of the research cooperation that will run until 2023.


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Identifying pathogenic genes in virus strains at a glance

Published on 27. Februar 2020

International project to help determine genetic abnormalities


In the new Pangaia project, Prof. Dr Alexander Schönhuth (left) and Prof. Dr Jens Stoye are developing methods for comparing gigantic gene data sets. Photo: Bielefeld University/M.D-Müller
When new viruses or bacteria spread to humans, it is essential to clarify their special characteristics as quickly as possible. For example, why is the coronavirus resistant to common drugs? In the future, new Big Data technology can help to identify the characteristics of new strains of viruses and bacteria in a short time. It does this by comparing the genome of a single organism with the genome of all the strains of a species. This procedure can also be used for more highly developed organisms such as mammals. The new project ‘Pangaia’ at Bielefeld University is investigating how the masses of data used in this process can be ordered and analysed for use in biomedicine. The university is one of eleven project partners from Europe and North America. The EU is funding the project with 1.14 million euros over three years.


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Five million euros for the ‘de.NBI’ bioinformatics network

Published on 24. Februar 2020

Further funding for the project based in Bielefeld five years after its start

For the de.NBI, they are coordinating computing power and services for bioinformatics in Germany (from left to right): Professor Dr Andreas Tauch, Professor Dr Alexander Sczyrba, Professor Dr Jens Stoye, and Professor Dr Alfred Pühler. Photo: Bielefeld University/M.-D. Müller


It should be possible for researchers in the life sciences to draw on powerful technological services throughout Germany when they need to analyse large data sets. This is why the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) invested about 80 million euros in a major large-scale project: the German Network for Bioinformatics Infrastructure (de.NBI). Bielefeld University is coordinating the project. On Thursday 13 February, scientists and politicians celebrated the fifth anniversary and the previous successes of the network with a symposium in Berlin. These successes include a distributed cloud infrastructure, eight service centres throughout the nation, and 40 participating bioinformatics groups. The BMBF has now announced continued funding for the de.NBI. Until the end of 2021, Bielefeld University alone will have up to 5.3 million euros at its disposal to continue the project.

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From Disseminating Ideology to Financing: How Extremist Networks Operate

Published on 24. Februar 2020

Closing conference for joint project on radicalization online

Wie werden Dschihadist*innen und rechtsextreme Täter*innen radikal? Darum geht es im Verbundprojekt X-Sonar. Prof. Dr. Andreas Zick und Dr. Kerstin Eppert vom Institut für interdisziplinäre Gewalt- und Konfliktforschung leiten das Projekt. Foto: Universität Bielefeld
Key players in radical Islamic and extreme right-wing groups make use of similar strategies to mobilize support on social media. The joint research project “X-Sonar” arrived at this finding. The Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF) funded X-Sonar’s work as part of their funding line on civil securityresearch. Over the past three years, X-Sonar researchers investigated the ways in which extremist groups build networks of support both online and offline. It is through these groups that they engage people and mobilize support for their aims. The researchers evaluated both online content and the biographies of convicted individuals who were active in extremist spheres in order to pave the way for early intervention and prevention in the future.


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