News

HITS Annual Report 2017 released!

The HITS Annual Report 2017 has been released. In this report, you will find research highlights from 2017 that range from decoding of the genome of the Axolotl salamander to the most complete simulation of the universe ever performed.

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In memory of Isabel Rojas

On May 11, 2018, Isabel Rojas (1968-2013) would have turned fifty years old. HITS views Isabel Rojas’s fiftieth birthday as an opportunity to commemorate her as a scientist and a wonderful person.

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New planetarium and astronomy visitor centre opened

Today, after three years of construction, the ESO Supernova Planetarium and Visitor Centre will be inaugurated. The new centre at the European Southern Observatory headquarters in Garching is an endowment from the Klaus Tschira Foundation. The state-of-the-art astronomy centre is tailored to convey the fascination and significance of astronomy andastrophysics to the public. The idea for the centre emanated from a cooperation between the ESO and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS).

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Protein analysis: Less is more

CONAN to the rescue! The new software-package for molecular dynamic simulations compresses 3D data to contact maps and helps to analyze protein structures. The tool CONAN (CONtact ANalysis), developed at HITS, has now been presented in the latest issue of „Biophysical Journal“.

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Habilitation for HITSter Rüdiger Pakmor

The astrophysicist Dr. Rüdiger Pakmor from the Theoretical Astrophysis group (TAP) successfully completed the habilitation process at Heidelberg University. At the end of January, the faculty committee of physics and astronomy presented him the certificate of venia legendi. He develops novel numerical methods and applies them, among others, to galaxy formation and supernova explosions. Pakmor…

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EuroNeurotrophin project starts

14 Early Stage Researchers to be trained in a European training network for the discovery of small molecule neurotrophin mimetics as candidate therapeutic agents for neurodegeneration and neuro-inflammation. HITS will host two young scientists who will work on the computer-aided design of neurotrophin mimetics.

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Die Computational Biology (CBI) Gruppe, 2013-2018 (v.l.n.r.): Martin Pippel, Siegfried Schloissnig, Philipp Kämpfer, Sean Powell, Philipp Bongartz.

CBI Junior Group: Mission Accomplished

HITS Junior Group “Computational Biology” is bringing its work to a close with two publications in “Nature.” According to Group Leader Siegfried Schloissnig, “We had enough time to do diligent quality work.” New HITS Junior Groups will be established in 2018.

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Better Weather Forecasts for Africa: Development Assistance 2.0

Precipitation forecasts are very useful for agricultural areas such as the Sahel. However, while there are reliable models and measurements for Europe, a targeted use of weather information for Africa remains a vision for the future. Scientists from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) are therefore researching methods to improve precipitation forecasts for Africa.

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How black holes shape the cosmos

Astrophysicists from Heidelberg, Garching, and the USA gained new insights into the formation and evolution of galaxies. They calculated how black holes influence the distribution of dark matter, how heavy elements are produced and distributed throughout the cosmos, and where magnetic fields originate. This was possible by developing and programming a new simulation model for the universe, which created the most extensive simulations of this kind to date. First results of the “IllustrisTNG” project have now been published in three articles in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. These findings should help to answer fundamental questions in cosmology.

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The Mexican axolotl Ambystoma mexicanum (Copyright: IMP)

The largest genome ever: Decoding the Axolotl

A team of researchers led by scientists in Vienna, Dresden and Heidelberg has decoded the entire genetic information of the Mexican salamander axolotl. The axolotl genome, which is the largest genome ever to be sequenced, will be a powerful tool to study the molecular basis for re-growing limbs and other forms of regeneration. The journal NATURE publishes the news in its current issue.

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A new genome for regeneration research

The planarian flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea is an extraordinary animal. Even when cut into tiny pieces, each piece can regenerate back into a complete and perfectly proportioned miniature planarian. Key to this ability are fascinating adult stem cells, a single one of which can restore a complete worm. But how Schmidtea mediterranea achieves these feats is so far poorly understood. An important step towards this goal is the first highly contiguous genome assembly of Schmidtea mediterranea that researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden in cooperation with the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) report in the current issue of Nature.

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