Taste is one of the canonical five human senses, but it is also probably the least well understood. From the taste buds on the tongue to the appreciation of flavour in the brain, there are plenty of unknowns that science is looking to fill. In December 2017, the Nature Café event on Taste science, culture and communication brought international experts to London in search of answers. Watch the presentations and read the summary report.
Modern medicine is affording people longer and healthier lives. But researchers want to take improvements in health even further. With advances in gene editing, technology to overcome paralysis and efforts to address high drug costs, the future of medicine is bright.
The space industry is undergoing a profound shift from being exclusively sponsored by governments to increasingly seeing participation by commercial entities. Dubbed ‘new space’, Japan is keen to embrace this movement. This focal point contains specific examples of companies that are seeing opportunities in space.
This year’s ‘Frontiers in biology’ Insight features Reviews on the development of mature blood cells from haematopoietic stem cells, interactions between skin microorganisms and their host and how these contribute to health and disease, recent developments in three-dimensional brain tissue culture systems, and the biology of non-small cell lung cancer and recent advances in its treatment.
As artificial intelligence makes headway in genomic medicine, collecting, storing, curating and processing masses of genetic information is becoming an enormous, data-intensive task. Some countries, such as Japan, must collect a huge amount of genetic information from their populations to provide the best future healthcare. Who will do this work? What will technology companies be able to add? And, how will the medical and IT industries deal with their inevitable new partnership?
The WE Summit, initiated in 2013 by Tencent, China’s leading internet service provider, is a platform for interdisciplinary exchange amongst the world’s science and technology innovators. In the past five years, approximately 50 world-leading scientists, professionals and influencers have come onto the WE Summit stage, disseminating the most cutting-edge science and technology to ignite the audience’s imagination.
Produced with support from Translational Research Informatics Center (TRI) and Sapporo Medical University
An injury to the spinal cord is life-changing. There is currently no way to reverse damage to the spinal cord, and no way to restore the ability to move and feel that such an injury takes away. But regenerative therapies in the initial stages of clinical testing are offering some much-needed hope.
The Estonian Presidency conference “European Research Excellence – Impact and Value for Society” brought together experts to discuss the value of research in Europe. European investment in research and innovation has been stagnant and a significant increase in spending in these areas is needed for Europe to keep pace with the rest of the world.
Large corporations are retreating from high-stakes investments in basic research. They are instead outsourcing the production of knowledge needed to drive innovation to academic and government institutions. Nature Index Science Inc. 2017 investigates the changing role of corporate institutions in the world of science and the costs and benefits to high-quality research of these evolving arrangements.
The worldwide increase in obesity and diabetes has led to a spike in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which often progresses to the more severe condition non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. This Outlook discusses topics such as the surge in drug development that is poised to deliver new treatments; how innovative technologies are enabling earlier diagnosis; and the disturbing rise of fatty liver disease in children.
The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) was founded in Beijing in 1957 to serve the national strategic needs in agricultural development and lead the advancement of agricultural technologies via basic and applied agricultural research. In the past 60 years, CAAS has grown to be the home of 34 research institutes spread across China, with many talented agricultural researchers, who have made scientific innovations in areas ranging from genomics and molecular breeding to pest control and animal health. With the launch of new talent plans to further drive research innovation, CAAS is poised to become a world-class agricultural research institution, contributing to sustainable development of agricultural resources.
Produced with support from AstraZeneca and funded by a grant from Merck & Co., Inc.
For three decades, the treatment of bladder cancer stood still. There were no new drugs and no improvements in diagnosis or survival rates. But all of that has changed, and now people with the disease and researchers have more options and hope. This Outlook discusses topics such as: how checkpoint-inhibitor drugs are helping those affected to survive for longer; why a healthy bladder is not sterile; and how the genetics of bladder cancer is revealing some surprising connections.
These are testing times for the United States. The country’s commanding scientific position is being thrown into question by the current administration’s controversial policies. Nature Index 2017 United States reveals that the country’s output of high-quality research in the natural sciences has declined over the past five years, following on from long-term declines in federal funding for research and development. At the current pace, China could overtake the US as the top contributor to the Nature Index within a decade.
The human brain is probably the most astonishing of the body’s organs and its workings have intrigued scientists across the world. As China is to launch its brain project, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the Qinhuangdao municipal government organized the first International Life Science Summer Summit in Beidaihe, focusing on brain science and health. A key event of the Beidaihe Life Science and Healthcare Innovation Demonstration Zone, the conference aimed to boost brain science research and brain health industry in China, and provided a platform for interdisciplinary exchange among world-renowned neuroscience experts and clinicians.
Produced with support from Translational Research Informatics Center (TRI), and Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine.
Bone fractures are an unfortunate fact of life. In most cases, after the pain subsides, they become a mere inconvenience — soon to be forgotten once the bone has healed. But some, known as non-union bone fractures, do not heal with conventional treatment, causing prolonged pain and disability. With the incidence of such fractures expected to rise, researchers are looking for ways to improve the success rate of existing surgical repair techniques and to accelerate the bone-healing process.
Science thrive in cities. With two-thirds of the global population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, cities will become even more distinctly the domain of knowledge and innovation. Nature Index 2017 Science Cities explores the high-quality research being produced by 10 cities in the natural sciences. We chose them for their strong scientific credentials, metropolitan flair and global connections.
Produced with support from Biogen, BrainStorm, Cytokinetics and funded by a grant from Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Inc.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating disease with poorly understood causes and no known cure. But research is slowly beginning to bring hope to those affected. This Outlook discusses topics such as: how genetic and epidemiological research are beginning to reveal the secrets of ALS; new drugs and other treatments that are finally becoming available; and the lessons that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge offers for funding disease research.
The worldwide rise in obesity and diabetes has led to a massive spike in the number of people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which often advances to a more severe condition known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, and in some cases to fibrosis and cirrhosis. This Outline discusses new ways to diagnose and treat this progressive condition.
Faced with a warming planet, scientists tired of inaction are seeking technical and political solutions to a truly global problem. This Outlook discusses the wide array of marine life that is threatened by acidifying oceans, and how species are struggling to adapt. It also takes a look at the latest approaches to carbon capture, storage and use and at how some scientists are swapping research for politics to spur climate action.