Reviews & Analysis

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  • Tumors are more than cancer cells — the extracellular matrix is a protein structure that organizes all tissues and is altered in cancer. Here, the authors review recent progress in understanding how the cancer cells and tumor-associated stroma cells remodel the extracellular matrix to drive tumor growth and metastasis.

    • Juliane Winkler
    • Abisola Abisoye-Ogunniyan
    • Zena Werb
    Review Article Open Access
  • The social intelligence hypothesis predicts that social organisms tend to be more intelligent because within-group interactions drive cognitive evolution. Here, authors propose that conspecific outsiders can be just as important in selecting for sophisticated cognitive adaptations.

    • Benjamin J. Ashton
    • Patrick Kennedy
    • Andrew N. Radford
    Perspective Open Access
  • The development of high performing metal-ion batteries require guidelines to build improved electrodes and electrolytes. Here, the authors review the current state-of-the-art in the rational design of battery materials by exploiting the interplay between composition, crystal structure and electrochemical properties.

    • Artem M. Abakumov
    • Stanislav S. Fedotov
    • Jean-Marie Tarascon
    Review Article Open Access
  • In this Perspective, the authors review the different applications for mobile phone data to support COVID-19 pandemic response, the relevance of these applications for infectious disease transmission and control, and potential sources and implications of selection bias in mobile phone data.

    • Kyra H. Grantz
    • Hannah R. Meredith
    • Amy Wesolowski
    Perspective Open Access
  • The strategy of modular construction makes it possible to create ordered materials with structures that are controlled at the molecular level. In this perspective article, the author shows how the approach has yielded a new generation of materials with extraordinary properties of porosity.

    • James D. Wuest
    Perspective Open Access
  • Structural lubricity is one of the most interesting concepts in modern tribology, which promises to achieve ultra-low friction over a wide range of length-scales. Here the authors highlight novel research lines in this area achievable by combining theoretical and experimental efforts on hard two-dimensional materials and soft colloidal and cold ion systems.

    • Andrea Vanossi
    • Clemens Bechinger
    • Michael Urbakh
    Perspective Open Access
  • Photon-induced charge separation phenomena are at the heart of light-harvesting applications but challenging to be described by quantum mechanical models. Here the authors illustrate the potential of machine-learning approaches towards understanding the fundamental processes governing electronic excitations.

    • Florian Häse
    • Loïc M. Roch
    • Alán Aspuru-Guzik
    Perspective Open Access
  • Despite their widespread use, many fundamental questions about the internal structure of microgels are still open. Here the authors describe several pathways toward a complete understanding of microgel colloids based on recent experimental advances in nanoscale characterization.

    • Frank Scheffold
    Perspective Open Access
  • Adult neurogenesis is involved in several physiological and pathological processes, however standardization for the quantification of new born neurons is lacking. Here, the authors provide guidance to improve reproducibility and rigour in cell quantification.

    • Xinyu Zhao
    • Henriette van Praag
    Review Article Open Access
  • Retinoids are involved in a wide range of cellular functions; as such, delivery systems for retinoids are of significant clinical interest. Here the authors review the advances in preclinical and clinical testing regarding retinoid formulations in the context of regenerative medicine, brain, cancer, skin and immune diseases.

    • Raquel Ferreira
    • Joseph Napoli
    • Lino Ferreira
    Review Article Open Access
  • Why do human embryos need a yolk sac and how does it form? This Perspective by Thorsten Boroviak and Connor Ross explores the development and function of the yolk sac in primate embryogenesis.

    • Connor Ross
    • Thorsten E. Boroviak
    Perspective Open Access
  • Despite numerous advances in our understanding of subduction since the theory of plate tectonics was established, the mechanisms of subduction zone initiation remain highly controversial. Here, the authors present a transdisciplinary and expandable community database of subduction zone initiation events in the last 100 Ma, which establishes a clear direction for future research.

    • Fabio Crameri
    • Valentina Magni
    • Marcel Thielmann
    Perspective Open Access
  • Scarcity of high-quality annotated data and mismatch between the development dataset and the target environment are two of the main challenges in developing predictive tools from medical imaging. In this Perspective, the authors show how causal reasoning can shed new light on these challenges.

    • Daniel C. Castro
    • Ian Walker
    • Ben Glocker
    Perspective Open Access
  • Oceans provide important natural resources, but the management and governance of the ocean is complex and the ecosystem is suffering as a result. The authors discuss current barriers to sustainable ocean governance and suggest pathways forward.

    • Tanya Brodie Rudolph
    • Mary Ruckelshaus
    • Philile Mbatha
    Perspective Open Access
  • The lack of scalable, high-quality insulators is a major problem hindering the progress on electronic devices built from 2D materials. Here, the authors review the current state-of-the-art and the future prospects of suitable insulators for 2D technologies.

    • Yury Yu. Illarionov
    • Theresia Knobloch
    • Tibor Grasser
    Review Article Open Access
  • Current environmental impact mitigation neglects over-consumption from affluent citizens as a primary driver. The authors highlight the role of bottom-up movements to overcome structural economic growth imperatives spurring consumption by changing structures and culture towards safe and just systems.

    • Thomas Wiedmann
    • Manfred Lenzen
    • Julia K. Steinberger
    Perspective Open Access
  • Itch is an important somatosensation, but the central mechanisms underlying it are not fully understood. Here, Chen and Sun review recent studies on the spinal and supraspinal circuits involved in itch processing.

    • Xiao-Jun Chen
    • Yan-Gang Sun
    Review Article Open Access
  • Despite the new targeted and immunotherapies for metastatic melanoma, several patients show therapeutic plateau. Here, the authors review the current pre-clinical models of cutaneous melanoma and discuss their strengths and limitations that may help with overcoming therapeutic plateau.

    • Vito W. Rebecca
    • Rajasekharan Somasundaram
    • Meenhard Herlyn
    Review Article Open Access