Yearbook 2013

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Synaptic plasticity, the ability for synapses to change their connection strength, is thought to underlie learning and memory. Many forms of synaptic plasticity are occurring in small postsynaptic compartments called dendritic spines. Dendritic spines – tiny protrusions emanating from the surface of neurons – are the devices used to store memory in the brain. New technologies now allow to directly monitor the biochemical reactions in individual dendritic spines. more
House mice from the Faroe Islands are among the largest mice in the world. Researchers at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory try to understand how they come to settle in the Faroe and how they have evolved island gigantism so rapidly in the last thousand years by sieving through their genomes. Hidden in the tapestry of the mouse DNA is a complex history resulting from hundreds of years of mixing between mouse subtypes. Efforts are now underway to uncover the genetics of island gigantism. more
Structure of amorphous materials clarified. This project has so far been a big challenge due to the complexity of this material class. Modern preparation methods in combination with scanning tunneling microscopy succeed in decrypting the everyday material glass. more
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