Research News

The Forecaster’s Dilemma: Evaluating forecasts of extreme events

Accurate predictions of extreme events do not necessarily indicate the scientific superiority of the forecaster or the forecast method from which they originate. The way forecast evaluation is conducted in the media can thus pose a dilemma. When it comes to extreme events, public discussion of forecasts often focuses on predictive performance. After the international…

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The Dark Side of Natural Language Processing

At the first “Ethics in Natural Language Processing” workshop in Valencia, scientists discussed the opportunities and dangers of automatic speech analysis. According to HITS researcher Michael Strube, “Exceedingly few people know how well we can analyze unstructured data.” Smartphones are a part of our everyday lives both at work and at home. We write emails,…

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On the front cover: Multiexpert Platform for the Identification of Hits Targeting Parasitic Enzymes

In the New Medicines for Trypanosomatidic Infections (NMTRypI) project funded by the EU and completed in January 2017, in which 13 partners participated, including the HITS Molecular and Cellular Modeling (MCM) and Scientific Databases and Visualization (SDBV) groups, novel anti-leishmanial and anti-trypanosomal hit compounds that inhibit pteridine reductase 1 (PTR1) were discovered. PTR1 is an enzyme of…

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On the front cover: Molecular dynamics involved in DNA compaction

DNA is packaged in the cell nucleus by wrapping around proteins called histones to form chromatin fibers. Nucleosomes, the structural units of these fibers, are formed by wrapping 146 base pairs of DNA around eight histones. Additional histone proteins, known as linker histones, bind to nucleosomes in a 1:1 ratio to form chromatosomes.  The study…

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Made by nature: a highly elastic pressurized balloon

Collagens constitute the dominant class of extracellular proteins in multicellular organisms. They are highly abundant wherever high elasticity is needed. The collagens of cnidarians, multicellular organisms among the oldest appearing on Earth and including jellyfish and sea anemones, are particularly fascinating. They structure the wall of the nematocyst, a balloon-shaped organelle, designed to naturally withstand…

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Turbulent times: When stars approach

HITS astrophysicists use new methods to simulate the common-envelope phase of binary stars, discovering dynamic irregularities that may help to explain how supernovae evolve. When we look at the night sky, we see stars as tiny points of light eking out a solitary existence at immense distances from Earth. But appearances are deceptive. More than…

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Award for Paper on Simulation of Flow Processes

SIAM Society honours research publication in the field of applied mathematics With one of the highest possible awards in the field of applied mathematics the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) has honoured the authors of a paper on computer-supported simulation of flow processes that appeared last year in one of the society’s five…

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Durch die ultraschnelle, aber zugleich gezielte Bindung rast der Rezeptor (goldfarben) durch die mit ungeordneten Proteinen gefüllte Pore in den Zellkern, während unerwünschte Moleküle ferngehalten werden. (Bild: Mercadante /HITS) The ultrafast and yet selective binding allows the receptor (gold) to rapidly travel through the pore filled with disordered proteins (blue) into the nucleus, while any unwanted molecules are kept outside. (Image: Mercadante /HITS)

In “Cell”: Floppy but fast

Inside cells, communication between the nucleus, which harbours our precious genetic material, and the cytoplasm is mediated by the constant exchange of thousands of signaling molecules and proteins. Until now, it was unknown how this protein traffic can be so fast and yet precise enough to prevent the passage of unwanted molecules. Through a combination…

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