Biological sciences

Definition

Biological sciences encompasses all the divisions of natural sciences examining various aspects of vital processes. The concept includes anatomy, physiology, cell biology, biochemistry and biophysics, and covers all organisms from microorganisms, animals to plants.

Featured

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Reviews |

    Non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are functional molecules that regulate physiological programmes in developmental and disease contexts. This Review article discusses the complex networks of interactions that ncRNAs engage in and how these confer oncogenic or tumour-suppressive effects in cancer.

    • Eleni Anastasiadou
    • , Leni S. Jacob
    •  & Frank J. Slack
  • Reviews |

    Idiopathic rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavioural disorder (RBD) is now recognized as an early marker of α-synucleinopathies. Here, Högl and colleagues review potential biomarkers for RBD and summarize the evidence for a prodromal stage, which might enable disease-modifying intervention. In light of these advances, they reconceptualize idiopathic RBD as isolated RBD.

    • Birgit Högl
    • , Ambra Stefani
    •  & Aleksandar Videnovic
  • Reviews |

    Advances in biomaterials have enabled control over desired cell responses. Here, the authors highlight key analytical and bioprocessing techniques, outlining a framework for incorporating these tools into designing functionally optimal biomaterials.

    • Max Darnell
    •  & David J. Mooney
    Nature Materials 16, 1178–1185
  • Reviews |

    Activity-driven changes in gene transcription regulate synaptic development and function. Bading and colleagues describe recent evidence of lineage-specific changes in the gene regulatory regions that govern excitation–transcription coupling and consider how such changes may have contributed to the evolution of human cognitive abilities.

    • Giles E. Hardingham
    • , Priit Pruunsild
    • , Michael E. Greenberg
    •  & Hilmar Bading
  • Reviews |

    Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the progressive, irreversible loss of renal function that has many causes and contributing factors. In this Primer, the authors describe the many consequences of CKD and how understanding — and treating — the underlying cause can substantially slow CKD progression.

    • Paola Romagnani
    • , Giuseppe Remuzzi
    • , Richard Glassock
    • , Adeera Levin
    • , Kitty J. Jager
    • , Marcello Tonelli
    • , Ziad Massy
    • , Christoph Wanner
    •  & Hans-Joachim Anders

News and Comment

  • Editorial |

    As the role of biophysical cues in regulating cell behaviour is increasingly understood, more evidence in the field of bioengineering indicates how such signals can affect cells and tissues.

  • Comments and Opinion |

    The availability of targeted anticancer drugs and the relative affordability of genomic analyses has led to a growing expectation among patients with cancer that they can receive personalized treatment based on the genomic signature of their tumour. Here, we discuss some of the challenges and steps needed to bring such approaches into routine practice.

    • Roberto Salgado
    • , Helen Moore
    • , John W. M. Martens
    • , Tracy Lively
    • , Shakun Malik
    • , Ultan McDermott
    • , Stefan Michiels
    • , Jeffrey A. Moscow
    • , Sabine Tejpar
    • , Tawnya McKee
    • , Denis Lacombe
    •  & on behalf of the IBCD-Faculty
  • News and Views |

    A recent study reports that the global prevalence of paediatric obesity increased to >5% between 1975 and 2016. This increase occurred even as the prevalence of paediatric underweight decreased slightly but remained >8%. These average prevalence changes blur the remarkable regional variations in how prevalence has changed. There is a pressing need to address both underweight and obesity worldwide.

    • Jack A. Yanovski
  • News and Views |

    The influence of matrix stiffness and degradation on neural progenitor cell stemness was investigated in a three-dimensional culture system, highlighting the role of remodelling in enhancing cell-to-cell interaction and ultimately maintaining neural stemness.

    • Phillip H. Kang
    • , Sanjay Kumar
    •  & David V. Schaffer
    Nature Materials 16, 1174–1176
  • News and Views |

    Blocking the growth of new blood vessels has been shown to alter fibrosis in livers in a disease stage-specific manner. In vitro models of fibrosis were developed to understand this process, highlighting the role of environmental mechanics.

    • Geoffrey C. Gurtner
    •  & Jagannath Padmanabhan
    Nature Materials 16, 1176–1177
  • News and Views |

    Three cardiovascular outcome trials failed to show superiority of DPP4 inhibitors compared with placebo in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and high cardiovascular risk, a rather disappointing finding. Now, a post hoc subgroup analysis suggests that patients treated with metformin at baseline might benefit from DPP4 inhibitors in contrast with metformin non-users.

    • André J. Scheen