Focus

The Force to control stress

2002
Bacteria and biological systems respond to external perturbations through several different mechanisms. The origins of external stress are diverse: chemical, biological and physical. The sensing mechanisms of external forces by cells have recently been identified. Membrane proteins forming pores across the membrane are the basis of these response mechanisms: they can open and close in correspondence to external stimuli such as touch, sound, gravity, osmolarity variations etc. ...

Gamma-Ray-Bursts in the BeppoSAX Era.

2002
Gamma-Ray-Burst studies have rapidly become one of the hot frontiers in astrophysical research, thanks to the BeppoSAX italian satellite. This mission, managed by the IASF in Rome together with Bologna and Palermo sections, has been launched in 1996 and successfully concluded in 2002, with a wealth of bursts data. It opened an entirely new research chapter: the physics of afterglows, lower energy residual emissions of these cosmic explosions, whose analysis led to the epochal discovery of ...

Bacterial toxins: knowing them is paramount for defeating them

2002
Gianfranco Menestrina, Biophysics Institute, Trent Division Thought to have been eliminated with the discovery of penicillin, bacterial threats are now back for two important reasons: the development of resistance and bio-terrorism. The overuse of antibiotics, in the health and food chains, has put us at risk for the rising of resistant super-bugs that cannot be cured. We have already bred new strains of Staphylococcus aureus, a microorganism responsible in the USA of 2 million infections ...

The Knowledge Map of ICAR, Institute for High Performance Computing and Network of CNR

2002
The Institute for High Performance Computing and Networking (ICAR) during its first year of activity has produced the following taxonomy of research topics which represents a sort of Knowledge Map of ICAR: (A) High Performance Computing and Networking (A.1) Advanced Architecture and Pervasive Platforms (A.1.1) Dedicated Processors (A.1.2) Reflective Middleware for Pervasive Computing (A.1.3) Multichannel Software Platforms (A.2) Advanced Environments, Protocols ...

MATHEMATICS MEETS SATELLITES

2002
"Satellites are invading our skies". At a first sight this sentence could represent only a common sense; actually it summarizes a powerful reality that permeates (sometimes in an inquietant way) everyday life of each person and that involves both strongly industrialized countries and those that hope to become such. The main reason is that satellite is the cheapest tool able to "photograph" or "inform" the whole terrestrial globe (including oceans, isolated areas, poles and everything most ...

New hydro-soluble porphyrin core polymers for biochemical applications

2002
In recent years, biomedical research has encountered several difficult problems related to an increasing number of diseases, as consequence of life expectancy growth in the developed countries. Two main recovering actions have been adopted: 1) precocious diagnosis of biochemical anomalies; 2) development of new pharmacological techniques aiming to minimize undesirable effects of the therapy. Many efforts have been directed to the development of "intelligent" molecules, capable of selective ...

1) New material and technologies for the conservation and the restoration of textiles. 2)Ecosustainable innovative membranes made of plastic

2002
1) The safeguard of Cultural and Environmental Heritage has been recognised as a national and European priority producing, hence, an increasing demand of research on new polymeric materials with performances suitable to be used in the field of the conservation and restoration,linked to the development and the application of eco-sustainable technologies.Within the specific domain "Textiles", which deteriorate naturally by oxidation,heat,mechanical stress, radiation and microbiological and ...

New methods for the solution of the crystal structure of proteins

2002
While the crystallographic phase problem is definitively solved in practice far small molecules, it is still a challenging problem in Macromolecular Crystallography. This is one of the most exciting areas of the modern Sciences and constitutes a primary tool for studying the structure of complex biological systems, so providing insight into the mechanisms at the basis of the life. Indeed Macromolecular Crystallography allows to determine the crystal structure of proteins, nucleic acids, ...

Optmization of Treasury securities issuances

2002
For a few years the Institute has had a research group in quantitative methods for finance and economics. Most of the group's research activity is, at this time, concentrated on a collaboration with the Italian Ministry for Economic Affairs for the optimization of the management of the Public Debt in Italy, an issue of paramount importance for the Italian society. There are a number of possible fixed income securities issued by the Italian Treasury ("zero coupon", called BOT, and bonds with ...

Electrophysiological recordings on isolated sponge cells: a model system for the study of ancient responses to environmental stimuli?

2002
Armando Carpaneto Our project focuses on the investigation of temperature effects on sponges (phylum Porifera) and the identification of the molecular bases for this phenomenon. Temperature represents a fundamental environmental parameter, able to modulate and determine a variety of physiological processes. In sponges the first event to be recognised in response to a temperature increase is the activation of a plasma membrane ion channel permeable to potassium and sodium. The activation ...

New and cost effective solar light photocatalysis of MOCVD TiO2 films

2002
New and cost effective solar light photocatalysis of MOCVD nanostructured titania films for ecological applications Titania (TiO2) nanostructured thin films have been synthesized in our institute by the MOCVD technique. This technique has offered the relevant peculiarity of depositing titania in the anatase phase with a calibrated oxygen deficiency; the films were so characterized by intermediate states in the band gap allowing the interaction with the visible light. Our recent results ...

RADIOCHEMICAL APPROACH TO ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTIGATION OF AQUATIC SYSTEMS

2002
RADIOCHEMICAL APPROACH TO ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTIGATION OF AQUATIC SYSTEMS Introduction Sustainable development and responsible care are imperatives in countries where, it is possible to conjugate properly development and environmental protection; this implies: -introducing advanced technologies to minimise and control emissions in the environmental compartments -recovering of the already compromised natural environments. Environmental Protection - Aquatic systems The aquatic systems ...

Molecular Basis in Diagnosis and Pharmacology

2002
Innovative results in the Biostructure Section have been achieved during the year 2002 in the structural study of the ribosome, the complex machinery which is responsible for protein biosynthesis in cells. The determination of the ribosome structure allows gathering of information on its mechanisms of action and inhibition. In this framework, researchers of the Institute of Biostructure and Bioimaging, in collaboration with Max Planck Institut (Hamburg, Germany) and Weizmann Institute ...

AutoCPAP in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

2002
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is characterized by repeated episodes of partial or complete pharyngeal obstruction during sleep. Its main treatment is ventilation by continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), that is applied during sleep. Although the required pressure changes within each night, a constant pressure is traditionally applied. By contrast, "autoCPAP" machines deliver continuously variable pressure levels in relationship to needs automatically identified by their ...

BIOMETEOROLOGY

2002
Le attività svolte dall' Istituto possono essere distinte secondo alcune linee guida: Meteorologia e Climatologia L' Istituto si occupa dello sviluppo e trasferimento delle conoscenze e delle nuove tecnologie concernenti meteorologia e climatologia al settore agricolo-forestale, costiero, urbano e relativo alla salute umana. In quest' ambito viene studiato il Global Change ed il suo impatto sugli ecosistemi e la loro risposta, oltre che le interazioni tra fattori meteorologici, colture e ...

ACUTE ADAPTATION OF TIBETAN REFUGEES TO LOW ALTITUDE

2002
The preliminary results of a physiological and molecular study carried out in the frame of the Pyramid project have been reported on the occasion of the "International Seminars on Mountains" (Kathmandu, Nepal, March 2002). For the first time some variables related to physical performance have been investigated in Tibetan refugees, during the early phase of reacclimatization to normoxia. Tibetans, the only population resident permanently at high altitude since thousands of years, appear to ...

Representation of 3D digital objects with reduced dimensionality

2002
An important goal has been reached regarding shape representation with reduced dimensionality for three-dimensional objects (refer to "Curve skeletonization of surface-like objects in 3D images guided by voxel classification", S. Svensson, I. Nyström, G. Sanniti di Baja, Pattern Recognition Letters, 23/12 1419-1426, 2002). It is well-known that skeletonization is a process to extract from a two-dimensional object a set of arcs and curves, called skeleton, that is a sketched and faithful ...

Multiple Sclerosis: Fine mapping and candidate gene analysis in genetically homogeneous populations.

2002
There is a prevailing hypothesis that multiple sclerosis (MS) is a polygenic immune-mediated disease. So far only one genetic factor has been identified located in human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II, specifically DR15, DQ6. However, there is no convincing evidence of a common susceptibility locus. We have identified a pedigree of Pennsylvania Dutch extraction, in which MS segregates with an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern. We have collected blood samples from 18 family members, seven ...

VALUE OF [11C]CHOLINE-PET IN RE-STAGING PROSTATE CANCER

2002
Prostate cancer is one of the most relevant tumors in male. After radical treatment for this tumor an increase of PSA serum level indicates a recurrence of disease. Once recurrence is suspected re-staging procedures are indicated, involving different studies such as trans-rectal ultrasound, CT, MR imaging and bone scintigraphy. PET with [18F]FDG is showing increasing usefulness in clinical oncology. However, its use in some tumors, including prostate adenocarcinoma, is limited by a low ...

Engineering and development of scientific instrumentation for in situ studies of chemical reactions under elevated gas pressure: autoclaves, high-pressure NMR and IR devices

2002
Several chemical processes of utmost industrial relevance occur at medium/elevated pressure of gases, for example many Ziegler-Natta polymerizations, and almost all hydrogenation and carbonylation reactions of unsaturated substrates. The investigations in these fields are commonly carried out in autoclaves that are generally expensive and devoid of many devices of importance to control and monitor the course of the reactions. Also, a high gas pressure does not allow for in situ studies of ...

Ancient climate and global sea-level changes

2002
The recognition of Earth's orbital cyclicity in the geologic record and its link with periodic variation in orbital parameters (precession, obliquity, eccentricity) has been instrumental in improving our understanding of past climate changes at different time scales. To this aim, some intervals of the Cretaceous, a period of Earth's history ranging from 135 to 65,5 million years ago, are considered among the possible proxies of warm phases of the near future climate extremes. Our experience ...

Radio channel modelling for the design of high capacity satellite telecommunication systems

2002
The main aim of this research is to generate and upgrade prediction models of radio propagation impairments, necessary to design satellite systems at centimetric and millimetric wavelengths with large capacity. To obtain this goal, an extensive use was made of the experimental equipments at disposal: an S band meteorological radar, radiometers operating in the 13-50 GHz frequency bands, and an ASI receiving station for different satellites. Two main research areas have been considered: 1) ...

Use of recombinant allergens in the diagnosis and therapy of Parietaria judaica pollen allergy

2002
Recent epidemiological data suggest that the allergic manifestations in industrialised countries have increased enormously in the last years, with a percentage between 20 and 30% of the population. Among the allergenic causes, pollens are one of the main responsible factors. The most allergenic species belong to important families such as: fagacee, urticacee, oliacee, composite and graminacee. The Parietaria belongs to the Urticaceae family and is considered to be the most common group of ...

Nanotechnologies and nanomaterials

2002
At the Pisa station, a new efficient route to the preparation of very active and specific nanostructured catalysts has been developed and optimized. The method consists in using metal vapour as reagent and allows one to obtain catalysts that are remarkably more active and selective than analogous commercial counterparts. These new catalysts can be already obtained on a kilogram scale, which forecasts an industrial application (Figure 1). It has been also developed the preparation of ...

Root development in Arabidopsis under gravitational effects

2002
The research concerned the selection of new Arabidopsis mutants disturbed in the growth of the roots in general, and in particular in gravitropism and circumnutational movements. In the year 2002 the cloning of the AtRHA1 gene, that characterizes the Atrha1 mutant of Arabidopsis, was pursued. This mutant, isolated from the Feldmann collection of T-tagged mutants some years ago, shows in the roots reduced gravitropic response and notable resistance to the plant hormones auxin and ...

Agenti virtuali animati con Facce Parlanti

2001
Definizione e applicazioni. Gli Agenti Virtuali con Faccia Parlante costitutiscono la più recente proposta per una interazione uomo-macchina più robusta e più naturale rispetto agli attuali sistemi unimodali di sintesi e di riconoscimento automatico del parlato. Sono sistemi più naturali perchè si propongono di riprodurre l'interazione comunicativa umana faccia-a-faccia nella quale l'informazione viene scambiata lungo i canali uditivo e visivo attraverso messaggi verbali, intonazione, ...

AUTOMATIC SYSTEMS FOR "MAN-MACHINE" INTERACTION

2000
Introduction The development of new technologies in the field of the automatic treatment of human language are essential for an effective utilization of new multimodal and multimedia systems built with the eventual goal of enabling people to communicate with machines using natural communication skills. Advances in human language technology (HLT) offer the promise of nearly universal access to on-line information and services. Since almost everyone speaks and understands a language, the ...