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Ana Hernando

Journalist specialising in science, technology and economics. Editor of SINC’s innovation section.

Searching for the CRISPR Swiss-army knife
4 December 2017 9:00

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 compound will enter the clinical trial phase at the end of 2018
A drug to treat retinal diseases with drops instead of injections
13 November 2017 8:00

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.

Breakthrough in CRISPR technology
A new molecular scissors act like a GPS to improve genome editing
4 July 2017 10:15

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.

Bacteria used as factories to produce cancer drugs
31 May 2017 9:30

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.

A material inspired by a sea worm changes according to the environment
26 April 2017 8:00

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.

An algorithm that knows when you’ll get bored with your favourite mobile game
21 March 2017 8:00

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.