Video games to help children with dyslexia, chips that allow testing drugs without using laboratory animals, intelligent sensors that detect volcanic eruptions and data analysis to improve e-commerce are technologies developed by four Spanish entrepreneurs. These experts in engineering and computer science stand out in a field clearly dominated by men.
Scientists at the University of Copenhagen, led by the Spanish Professor Guillermo Montoya, are investigating the molecular features of different molecular scissors of the CRISPR-Cas system to shed light on the so-called ‘Swiss-army knives’ of genome editing. Montoya’s research group has visualized the atomic structures of the Cpf1 and Cas9 proteins to analyse each of their properties and peculiarities that make them ideal for different applications in gene modification.
The Spanish firm Sylentis has developed a compound to treat diseases of the retina, such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, which will be administered by ophthalmic drops instead of intraocular injections. The drug, which has been tested in animals, is a small interfering RNA capable of penetrating the cells of the retina and blocking the formation of new blood vessels.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), led by the Spanish researcher Guillermo Montoya, have discovered how Cpf1, a new molecular scissors unzip and cleave DNA. This member of the CRISPR-Cas family displays a high accuracy, capable of acting like a GPS in order to identify its destination within the intricate map of the genome. The high precision of Cpf1 will improve the use of this type of technology in repairing genetic damage and in other medical and biotechnological applications.
Researchers at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability in Denmark have developed a method of producing P450 enzymes – used by plants to defend against predators and microbes – in bacterial cell factories. The process could facilitate the production of large quantities of the enzymes, which are also involved in the biosynthesis of active ingredients of cancer drugs.
The gelatinous jaw of a sea worm, which becomes hard or flexible depending on the environment around it, has inspired researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop a new material that can be applied to soft robotics. Despite having the texture of a gel, this compound is endowed with great mechanical resistance and consistency, and is able to adapt to changing environments.
Researchers from the Tokyo-based company Silicon Studio, led by Spanish data scientist África Periáñez, have developed a new algorithm that predicts when a user will leave a mobile game. This information is useful for game studios so that they can design strategies to maintain the player's interest.