Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
  • Gießen, Hesse, Germany
Recent publications
Mountain ranges are known for their particular level of biodiversity typically including a striking amount of endemism. This has been comparatively well studied for certain mountain ranges worldwide such as the Alps in Europe, the Himalayas in Asia, the Rocky Mountains in North America and the Andes in South America. Apparently, this is not the case for the mountains on the African continent and especially their freshwater fauna. One of Africa’s largest high-elevated regions is the Ethiopian Highlands. The study of freshwater molluscs might potentially allow to provide valuable insights into the interplay of environmental variation and evolutionary change. Here, we present the first genetically based study of Afromontane sphaeriid bivalves in a worldwide phylogenetic framework which allowed us to assess and describe the recent diversity and endemism as well as the fauna’s biogeographic background. Additionally, a new Ethiopian species of Sphaeriidae, Pisidium boessnecki Albrecht & Clewing sp. nov., could be discovered and is formally described here. Our study revealed a total of six sphaeriid species for the restricted study region in the Ethiopian Highlands of which the first two are most likely endemic: Pisidium boessnecki sp. nov., P. ethiopicum, P. cf. kenianum, P. cf. pirothi, P. cf. viridarium, and Pisidium sp. V. Based on the multigene phylogeny generated, we conclude that the observed diversity might have been caused by multiple independent colonization events from Africa. The zoogeographic affinities of all Ethiopian sphaeriids are related to the Afrotropics. The importance of these findings is discussed. http://zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:act:99C2C3A3-533B-4180-BBDD-E4E5A4D28F09
The accurate simulation of additional interactions at the ATLAS experiment for the analysis of proton–proton collisions delivered by the Large Hadron Collider presents a significant challenge to the computing resources. During the LHC Run 2 (2015–2018), there were up to 70 inelastic interactions per bunch crossing, which need to be accounted for in Monte Carlo (MC) production. In this document, a new method to account for these additional interactions in the simulation chain is described. Instead of sampling the inelastic interactions and adding their energy deposits to a hard-scatter interaction one-by-one, the inelastic interactions are presampled, independent of the hard scatter, and stored as combined events. Consequently, for each hard-scatter interaction, only one such presampled event needs to be added as part of the simulation chain. For the Run 2 simulation chain, with an average of 35 interactions per bunch crossing, this new method provides a substantial reduction in MC production CPU needs of around 20%, while reproducing the properties of the reconstructed quantities relevant for physics analyses with good accuracy.
Objective RT-qPCR is a reliable method for gene expression analysis, but the accuracy of the quantitative data depends on the appropriate selection of reference genes. A Co-culture system consisting of periodontal ligament cells (SV-PDL) and cementoblasts (OCCM-30) to investigate the crosstalk between these two cell lines under orthodontic condition is essential for experimental orthodontic setups in-vitro. Therefore, we aimed to identify a set of reliable reference genes suitable for RT-qPCR studies for prospective co-culture systems of OCCM-30 and SV-PDL cells. Results The results demonstrated that PPIB , GUSB and RPLP0 turned out to be the three most stable reference genes for OCCM-30 in the co-culture system, while PPIB , POLR2A and RPLP0 have the three highest rankings for SV-PDL cells in the co-culture system. The most stable gene combination were PPIB and POLR2A in the co-culture system. In conclusion, PPIB is overall the most stably expressed reference gene for OCCM-30 or SV-PDL cell line in the system. The combination of PPIB and POLR2A as reference genes are indicated to be the potential and mandatory to obtain accurate quantification results for normalizing RT-qPCR data in genes of interest expression in these two cell lines co-culture systems.
The ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider has a broad physics programme ranging from precision measurements to direct searches for new particles and new interactions, requiring ever larger and ever more accurate datasets of simulated Monte Carlo events. Detector simulation with Geant4 is accurate but requires significant CPU resources. Over the past decade, ATLAS has developed and utilized tools that replace the most CPU-intensive component of the simulation—the calorimeter shower simulation—with faster simulation methods. Here, AtlFast3, the next generation of high-accuracy fast simulation in ATLAS, is introduced. AtlFast3 combines parameterized approaches with machine-learning techniques and is deployed to meet current and future computing challenges, and simulation needs of the ATLAS experiment. With highly accurate performance and significantly improved modelling of substructure within jets, AtlFast3 can simulate large numbers of events for a wide range of physics processes.
Recent work indicates that male fertility is compromised by SARS-CoV-2 infection. Direct effects derive from the presence of viral entry receptors (ACE2 and/or CD147) on the surface of testicular cells, such as spermatocytes, Sertoli cells, and Leydig cells. Indirect effects on testis and concentrations of male reproductive hormones derive from (1) virus-stimulated inflammation; (2) viral-induced diabetes, and (3) an interaction between diabetes and inflammation that exacerbates the deleterious effect of each perturbation. Reproductive hormones affected include testosterone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone. Reduction of male fertility is also observed with other viral infections, but the global pandemic of COVID-19 makes demographic and public health implications of reduced male fertility of major concern, especially if it occurs in the absence of serious symptoms that would otherwise encourage vaccination. Clinical documentation of COVID-19-associated male subfertility is now warranted to obtain quantitative relationships between infection severity and subfertility; mechanistic studies using animal models may reveal ways to mitigate the problem. In the meantime, the possibility of subfertility due to COVID-19 should enter considerations of vaccine hesitancy by reproductive-age males.
Background Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are a group of lysosomal storage disorders caused by defects in genes coding for different lysosomal enzymes which degrade glycosaminoglycans. Impaired lysosomal degradation causes cell dysfunction leading to progressive multiorgan involvement, disabling consequences and poor life expectancy. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) is now available for most MPS types, offering beneficial effects on disease progression and improving quality of life of patients. The landscape of MPS in Europe is not completely described and studies on availability of treatment show that ERT is not adequately implemented, particularly in Southern and Eastern Europe. In this study we performed a survey analysis in main specialist centers in Southern and Eastern European countries, to outline the picture of disease management in the region and understand ERT implementation. Since the considerable number of MPS IVA patients in the region, particularly adults, the study mainly focused on MPS IVA management and treatment. Results 19 experts from 14 Southern and Eastern European countries in total responded to the survey. Results outlined a picture of MPS management in the region, with a high number of MPS patients managed in the centers and a high level of care. MPS II was the most prevalent followed by MPS IVA, with a particular high number of adult patients. The study particularly focused on management and treatment of MPS IVA patients. Adherence to current European Guidelines for follow-up of MPS IVA patients is generally adequate, although some important assessments are reported as difficult due to the lack of MPS skilled specialists. Availability of ERT in Southern and Eastern European countries is generally in line with other European regions, even though regulatory, organizational and reimbursement constrains are demanding. Conclusions The landscape of MPS in Southern and Eastern European countries is generally comparable to that of other European regions, regarding epidemiology, treatment accessibility and follow up difficulties. However, issues limiting ERT availability and reimbursement should be simplified, to start treatment as early as possible and make it available for more patients. Besides, educational programs dedicated to specialists should be implemented, particularly for pediatricians, clinical geneticists, surgeons, anesthesiologists and neurologists.
Artificial intelligence can enhance our ability to manage natural disasters. However, understanding and addressing its limitations is required to realize its benefits. Here, we argue that interdisciplinary, multistakeholder, and international collaboration is needed for developing standards that facilitate its implementation.
Background Pain occurs in the majority of patients with late onset Pompe disease (LOPD) and is associated with a reduced quality of life. The aim of this study was to analyse the pain characteristics and its relation to a small nerve fiber involvement in LOPD patients. Methods In 35 patients with LOPD under enzyme replacement therapy without clinical signs of polyneuropathy (19 females; 51 ± 15 years), pain characteristics as well as depressive and anxiety symptoms were assessed using the PainDetect questionnaire (PDQ) and the hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS), respectively. Distal skin biopsies were analysed for intraepidermal nerve fiber density (IENFD) and compared to age- and gender-matched reference data. Skin biopsies from 20 healthy subjects served as controls to assure validity of the morphometric analysis. Results Pain was reported in 69% of the patients with an average intensity of 4.1 ± 1.1 on the numeric rating scale (NRS; anchors: 0–10). According to PDQ, neuropathic pain was likely in one patient, possible in 29%, and unlikely in 67%. Relevant depression and anxiety symptoms occurred in 31% and 23%, respectively, and correlated with pain intensity. Distal IENFD (3.98 ± 1.95 fibers/mm) was reduced in 57% of the patients. The degree of IENFD reduction did not correlate with the durations of symptoms to ERT or duration of ERT to biopsy. Conclusions Pain is a frequent symptom in treated LOPD on ERT, though a screening questionnaire seldom indicated neuropathic pain. The high frequency of small nerve fiber pathology in a treated LOPD cohort was found regardless of the presence of pain or comorbid risk factors for SFN and needs further exploration in terms of clinical context, exact mechanisms and when developing novel therapeutic options for LOPD.
In bacteria, the monopolar localization of enzymes and protein complexes can result in a bimodal distribution of enzyme activity between the dividing cells and heterogeneity of cellular behaviors. In Shewanella putrefaciens , the multidomain hybrid diguanylate cyclase/phosphodiesterase PdeB, which degrades the secondary messenger c-di-GMP, is located at the flagellated cell pole. Here, we show that direct interaction between the inactive diguanylate cyclase (GGDEF) domain of PdeB and the FimV domain of the polar landmark protein HubP is crucial for full function of PdeB as a phosphodiesterase. Thus, the GGDEF domain serves as a spatially controlled on-switch that effectively restricts PdeBs activity to the flagellated cell pole. PdeB regulates abundance and activity of at least two crucial surface-interaction factors, the BpfA surface-adhesion protein and the MSHA type IV pilus. The heterogeneity in c-di-GMP concentrations, generated by differences in abundance and timing of polar appearance of PdeB, orchestrates the population behavior with respect to cell-surface interaction and environmental spreading.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the wearing of face masks became mandatory in public areas or at workplaces in many countries. While offering protection, the coverage of large parts of our face (nose, mouth and chin) may have consequences for face recognition. This seems especially important in the context of contact tracing which can require memory of familiar and unfamiliar contacts and whether they were wearing a mask. In this study, we tested how well participants perform at remembering faces and whether they wore a mask, and if this depends on familiarity. Our results show that: (a) Participants remembered familiar faces better than unfamiliar ones, regardless of mask wearing. (b) Participants remembered unmasked faces better than masked faces, regardless of familiarity. (c) Participants were significantly worse at remembering whether an unfamiliar face was wearing a mask or not—even if they indicated remembering the face. (d) Participants showed a bias to indicate no memory of unfamiliar faces. (e) Participants showed a bias to indicate that unfamiliar faces wore a mask, even if they did not. In sum, it was harder to remember both, the identity of unfamiliar faces and whether they wore a mask. These findings have practical relevance for contact tracing and epidemic control.
Intense phase-locked terahertz (THz) pulses are the bedrock of THz lightwave electronics, where the carrier field creates a transient bias to control electrons on sub-cycle time scales. Key applications such as THz scanning tunnelling microscopy or electronic devices operating at optical clock rates call for ultimately short, almost unipolar waveforms, at megahertz (MHz) repetition rates. Here, we present a flexible and scalable scheme for the generation of strong phase-locked THz pulses based on shift currents in type-II-aligned epitaxial semiconductor heterostructures. The measured THz waveforms exhibit only 0.45 optical cycles at their centre frequency within the full width at half maximum of the intensity envelope, peak fields above 1.1 kV cm ⁻¹ and spectral components up to the mid-infrared, at a repetition rate of 4 MHz. The only positive half-cycle of this waveform exceeds all negative half-cycles by almost four times, which is unexpected from shift currents alone. Our detailed analysis reveals that local charging dynamics induces the pronounced positive THz-emission peak as electrons and holes approach charge neutrality after separation by the optical pump pulse, also enabling ultrabroadband operation. Our unipolar emitters mark a milestone for flexibly scalable, next-generation high-repetition-rate sources of intense and strongly asymmetric electric field transients.
Background The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is still ongoing and a major challenge for health care services worldwide. In the first WSES COVID-19 emergency surgery survey , a strong negative impact on emergency surgery (ES) had been described already early in the pandemic situation. However, the knowledge is limited about current effects of the pandemic on patient flow through emergency rooms, daily routine and decision making in ES as well as their changes over time during the last two pandemic years. This second WSES COVID-19 emergency surgery survey investigates the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on ES during the course of the pandemic. Methods A web survey had been distributed to medical specialists in ES during a four-week period from January 2022, investigating the impact of the pandemic on patients and septic diseases both requiring ES, structural problems due to the pandemic and time-to-intervention in ES routine. Results 367 collaborators from 59 countries responded to the survey. The majority indicated that the pandemic still significantly impacts on treatment and outcome of surgical emergency patients (83.1% and 78.5%, respectively). As reasons, the collaborators reported decreased case load in ES (44.7%), but patients presenting with more prolonged and severe diseases, especially concerning perforated appendicitis (62.1%) and diverticulitis (57.5%). Otherwise, approximately 50% of the participants still observe a delay in time-to-intervention in ES compared with the situation before the pandemic. Relevant causes leading to enlarged time-to-intervention in ES during the pandemic are persistent problems with in-hospital logistics, lacks in medical staff as well as operating room and intensive care capacities during the pandemic. This leads not only to the need for triage or transferring of ES patients to other hospitals, reported by 64.0% and 48.8% of the collaborators, respectively, but also to paradigm shifts in treatment modalities to non-operative approaches reported by 67.3% of the participants, especially in uncomplicated appendicitis, cholecystitis and multiple-recurrent diverticulitis. Conclusions The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic still significantly impacts on care and outcome of patients in ES. Well-known problems with in-hospital logistics are not sufficiently resolved by now; however, medical staff shortages and reduced capacities have been dramatically aggravated over last two pandemic years.
This study investigates the influence of an external electric field on the kinetics of a heterogeneous solid state reaction between Al2O3 and Y2O3. The reaction couples were prepared by means of pulsed laser deposition (PLD) by growing Y2O3 films on single crystalline alumina substrates with an (0001) orientation. The solid state reaction was performed at a temperature of 1400° (1673 K). Utilising attached platinum electrodes, an electric field of 350 V/mm was applied. The superposed field led to an ionic current through the reacting sample and modifies the individual growth kinetics of the three product phases/layers, Y3Al5O12 (YAG), YAlO3 (YAP) and Y4Al2O9 (YAM) The cross-sections of the reacted samples were characterised by means of SEM and XRD. Depending on the direction of the ionic current, the kinetics of the YAP phase formation in particular was strongly influenced. The general kinetics of a solid state reaction forming multiple product phases was analysed using linear transport theory. The effect of an electric field for controlling the product phase formation to prefer or to kinetically suppress the formation of a distinct phase is demonstrated.
In this work we study existence, asymptotic behaviour and stability properties of O(m)×O(n)-invariant solutions of the Allen-Cahn equation Δu+u(1−u2)=0 in Rm×Rn with m,n≥2 and m+n≥8. We exhibit four families of solutions whose nodal sets are smooth logarithmic corrections of the Lawson cone and with infinite Morse index. This work complements the study started in [23] by Pacard and Wei and [1] by Agudelo, Kowalczyk and Rizzi.
Lay Description What is already known about this topic? Teachers hold misconceptions about multimedia learning (e.g., learning materials should be adapted to students' individual learning styles, such as visualizers or verbalizers). Refutation texts, naming a commonly held misconception, disproving it and introducing a scientific explanation, are a common means to reduce misconceptions. Personalization fosters learning by drawing the learner's attention toward the discrepancy between their own beliefs and the learning material, further creating an impasse experience. Said impasse experience may trigger teachers' conceptual change, as, for teachers' conceptual change, a certain degree of discomfort is required. Yet, anger, caused by lessoning teachers on their topic may cause repulse and hamper learning. What this paper adds? With a computer algorithm, we can efficiently personalize refutation texts by automatically matching them to teachers' answers in a pre‐test. Such a personalized refutation instruction may especially foster conceptual change. Within a randomized experiment, the personalized refutation instruction worked best compared to common refutation texts and expository texts. Feelings of guilt and shame moderated the effect of a personalized refutation, as teachers felt more addressed in their misconceptions and thus experienced the required impasse experience. Feelings of anger did not play an important role within our experiment. The implications of study findings for practitioners Computer algorithms enable efficient personalization of instruction to better deal with heterogeneous groups of learners (e.g., with big differences in prior knowledge or experience, such as in the case of in‐service teachers). Refutation texts work better for teachers when they are personalized. Common refutation texts do not work better than expository texts. An advantage of digital instruction is the use of algorithms to efficiently personalize instructions even for larger groups.
The TRIM-NHL protein Meiotic P26 (Mei-P26) acts as a regulator of cell fate in Drosophila . Its activity is critical for ovarian germline stem cell maintenance, differentiation of oocytes, and spermatogenesis. Mei-P26 functions as a post-transcriptional regulator of gene expression; however, the molecular details of how its NHL domain selectively recognizes and regulates its mRNA targets have remained elusive. Here, we present the crystal structure of the Mei-P26 NHL domain at 1.6 Å resolution and identify key amino acids that confer substrate specificity and distinguish Mei-P26 from closely related TRIM-NHL proteins. Furthermore, we identify mRNA targets of Mei-P26 in cultured Drosophila cells and show that Mei-P26 can act as either a repressor or activator of gene expression on different RNA targets. Our work reveals the molecular basis of RNA recognition by Mei-P26 and the fundamental functional differences between otherwise very similar TRIM-NHL proteins.
Dysfunctional social communication is one of the most stable characteristics in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SSD) that severely affects quality of life. Interpreting abstract speech and integrating nonverbal information is particularly affected. Considering the difficulty to treat communication dysfunctions with usual intervention, we investigated the possibility to apply a multimodal speech-gesture (MSG) training. In the MSG training, we offered 8 sessions (60 min each) including perceptive and expressive tasks as well as meta-learning elements and transfer exercises to 29 patients with SSD. In a within-group crossover design, patients were randomized to a TAU-first (treatment as usual first, then MSG training) group (N = 20) or a MSG-first (MSG training first, then TAU only) group (N = 9), and were compared to healthy controls (N = 17). Outcomes were quality of life and related changes in the neural processing of abstract speech-gesture information, which were measured pre-post training through standardized psychological questionnaires and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, respectively. Pre-training, patients showed reduced quality of life as compared to controls but improved significantly during the training. Strikingly, this improvement was correlated with neural activation changes in the middle temporal gyrus for the processing of abstract multimodal content. Improvement during training, self-report measures and ratings of relatives confirmed the MSG-related changes. Together, we provide first promising results of a novel multimodal speech-gesture training for patients with schizophrenia. We could link training induced changes in speech-gesture processing to changes in quality of life, demonstrating the relevance of intact communication skills and gesture processing for well-being.
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Nicole Graulich
  • Institute of Chemistry Education
Goethestraße 58, D-35390 Giessen, Gießen, Hesse, Germany
Head of institution
Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee,
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