Writing a PhD thesis is a personal and professional milestone for many researchers. But the process needs to change with the times.
US regulators must regain the upper hand in the approval system.
The high-profile of the virus can kick-start work on long-standing problems.
John Holdren tells Nature about the highs and lows of nearly eight years in the White House.
Cytomegalovirus is a much greater global problem than Zika.
Forecasters warn that high ocean temperatures presage intense blazes in rainforest.
Panel recommends scrapping proposed changes to 'Common Rule' on human-subjects research.
Shoebox-sized craft face a wait to be propelled beyond Earth’s orbit.
Late nights, typos, self-doubt and despair. Three leading scientists dust off their theses, and reflect on what the PhD was like for them.
Doctoral courses are slowly being modernized. Now the thesis and viva need to catch up.
News & Views
The Hitomi astronomical satellite observed gas motions in the Perseus galaxy cluster shortly before losing contact with Earth. Its findings are invaluable to studies of cluster physics and cosmology. See Letter p.117
The protein PKM-ζ has been proposed to regulate the maintenance of memory in rodents, but this theory has been questioned. The finding that another isoform of the protein acts as a backup if PKM-ζ is lacking will influence this debate.
An investigation of how ultracold molecules are broken apart by light reveals surprising, previously unobserved quantum effects. The work opens up avenues of research in quantum optics. See Letter p.122
A study reveals that human-driven disturbances in previously undisturbed Amazon rainforest can cause biodiversity losses as severe as those of deforestation. Urgent policy interventions are needed to preserve forest quality. See Letter p.144
A range of neuronal mechanisms can enable animals to detect the direction of visual motion. Computational models now indicate that a factor as simple as eye size might explain some of this diversity. See Article p.105
Directional selectivity in the detection of moving visual stimuli critically depends on starburst amacrine cells, which have been studied primarily in rabbit retina; a large-scale reconstruction of the mouse retina at a single-synapse level, along with experimental and theoretical analysis, shows that mouse retinal circuitry is adapted to the smaller eye size of mice.
The N-terminal domains of gasdermin proteins cause pyroptotic cell death by oligomerizing to form membrane pores.
X-ray observations of the core of the Perseus cluster reveal a remarkably quiescent atmosphere in which the gas has a line-of-sight velocity dispersion of about 164 kilometres per second in the region 30–60 kiloparsecs from the central nucleus; turbulent pressure support in the gas is four per cent of the thermodynamic pressure, necessitating only a small correction to the total cluster mass determined from hydrostatic equilibrium.
The photodissociation of 88Sr2 molecules is examined at ultracold temperatures with a high degree of control, and a wealth of quantum effects such as barrier tunnelling, matter—wave interference of reaction products and forbidden pathways are observed
Placing a light emitter in an ultra-small optical cavity results in coupling between matter and light, generating new forms of emission that can be exploited in practical or fundamental applications; here, a system is described in which strong light–matter coupling occurs at room temperature and in ambient conditions by aligning single dye molecules in the optical cavities between gold nanoparticles and surfaces.
A long-sought three-dimensional graphene-like carbon structure that resembles periodically networked carbon nanotubes is now readily available through lanthanum-catalysed carbon synthesis using a zeolite template.
The computational design of an extremely stable icosahedral self-assembling protein nanocage is presented; the icosahedron should be useful for applications ranging from calibrating fluorescence microscopy to drug delivery.
Computer models of mantle convection with plate-like behaviour are used to demonstrate that the size–frequency distribution of tectonic plates on Earth is controlled by subduction geometry—the spacing between subducting slabs controls the layout of large plates, and the stresses caused by the bending of trenches break plates into smaller fragments.
Evaluation of the primary forests in the Brazilian state of Pará shows that anthropogenic disturbance can more than double the loss of biodiversity expected from deforestation.
SHP099, a selective inhibitor of signalling meditator SHP2 with drug-like properties, has an allosteric mechanism of action whereby it stabilizes SHP2 in an auto-inhibited conformation, and suppresses RAS–ERK signalling and proliferation in receptor-tyrosine-kinase-driven cancer cell lines and mouse tumour xenograft models.
Caspase-mediated cleavage of gasdermin D, previously shown to mediate pyroptosis, acts by inducing oligomerization and pore formation in cell membranes.
A CRISPR screening approach shows that endoplasmic-reticulum (ER)-associated protein complexes, including the oligosaccharyltransferase (OST) protein complex, are important for infection by dengue virus and other related mosquito-borne flaviviruses, whereas hepatitis C virus is dependent on distinct entry factors, RNA binding proteins and FAD biosynthesis.
The endoplasmic-reticulum-associated signal peptidase complex is required for infection by numerous flaviviruses, including West Nile, Dengue and Zika viruses, but is not required for infection by other types of virus or for host protein synthesis.
High-resolution structures of the unliganded Ebola virus glycoprotein (GP) and of GP bound to the drugs toremifene and ibuprofen are presented, providing insights into how the drugs inhibit viral fusion with the endosomal membrane.
Here, a small core protein of human adenoviruses is shown to associate with histones, sequestering proteins on host chromatin and preventing inflammatory proteins from being released and triggering inflammation.
When transcription and replication machineries collide on DNA, they can cause mutations to occur in the area near the collision; these mutations are now shown to include two types—duplications/deletions within the transcription unit and base substitutions in the cis-regulatory element of gene expression.
Here, pharmacological and biochemical evidence is provided that shows that G-protein coupling to the β2-adrenergic receptor stabilizes a ‘closed’ conformation of the G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) and that that the effects of the G protein on the ligand-binding site of the GPCR are observed even in the absence of a bound agonist.