Newsmakers at KTH

Published Feb 07, 2020

Who has received what when it comes to funding? What findings, results and researchers have attracted attention outside KTH? Under the vignette Newsmakers, we provide a selection of the latest news and events at KTH.

When the dingo became a wild dog

Dingo (Photo: Henry Whitehead)

Dingon's origins have long been a hot topic of discussion among biologists. Researchers from KTH, among others, can through genetic research show that the wild dog originates from domestic pets. Peter Savolainen, professor at the Department of Gene Technology at KTH, has concluded that genes linked to behavior, digestion and reproduction show how dingos adapted to living in a wild state rather than with humans. The research results also say that dingoes came to Australia about 8,300 years ago. The scientific article, "Genomic regions under selection in the feralization of the dingoes"  is published in Nature Communications.

Faster production of a perfect particle

Michael Malkoch.

Researchers at KTH, with Professor Michael Malkoch leading the way, have developed a way to speed the production of so-called dendrimers, a precision polymer with several application areas within medicine. The production time, which previously took around eight hours in eight steps, has been shortened to two hours 20 minutes, and to a single step, which has resulted in a more advanced dendrimer. They can be charged with active substances such as cytostatic, diagnostic dye agents and target-seeking molecules. According to researchers, dendrimers are the ultimate, synthetically produced carrier of medicines and where therapeutic usage is a highly relevant application area. The researchers’ work has been published in the weekly peer-reviewed Journal of the American Chemical Society .

Surgeon neck problems under the loupe

Mikael Forsman, Professor of Ergonomics, has received funding to develop new technology for surgical loupes. The research idea came to him when he gave a lecture on ergonomics to the Swedish Surgical Society. An ophthalmologist explained that she and her colleagues were no longer able to reverse their cars due to work-related neck problems. Working standing in an awkward position and wearing heavy surgical loupes and a surgical head lamp can lead to musculoskeletal disorders and pain. Forsman is now going to investigate whether it is possible to use so-called prismatic magnifying loupes within precision surgery. The loupes act like binoculars with inbuilt mirrors that cause your field of vision to be angled downwards. The research is being financed with a SEK 2.3 million grant from AFA Försäkring.

Monitoring forest fires with AI and radar surveillance

Yifang Ban.

Researchers Yifang Ban, Puzhao Zhang and Andrea Nascetti of the Geoinformatics Division at the Department for Urban Planning and Environment, who are developing technology to better monitor natural catastrophes, have had their latest findings published in Nature Scientific Reports . The technology uses synthetic aperture radar images from satellites in combination with Artificial Intelligence to be able to monitor almost in real time, how floods and fires, for example, are developing. The technology can penetrate clouds and smoke and provide a rapid overview of enormous fires such as those that recently hit Australia, California, last year's forest fires in  and the flooding catastrophe in .

Alternative architecture acclaimed

Architecture student Antonia Myleus has been awarded the Arwidsson Foundation Award for best degree work within Applied Urban Development. The prize, a grant, has been awarded for her work on alternative architecture for a textile factory with a circular production line and economy, where the input goods come from textiles donated by the public.

Physics Professor elected to KVA

Mark Pearce, Professor of Physics with specialisation in astroparticle physics at KTH, has been elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA). He is an experimental physicist who develops instrumentation and methods which enable the study of cosmic radiation from space platforms. Being elected a member of KVA is in recognition of a strong performance within prominent research or other major initiatives in support of the sciences.

Cancer diagnosis via a blood test

Exosomes (Photo: Sara Cavallaro)

A research project to develop new technology for cancer diagnostics headed by Jan Linnros, Professor of Material Physics, has been granted further financing of SEK 20 million by the Erling-Persson Family Foundation. The research is oriented to the detection of so-called exosomes, that are formed in our cells and found in the blood. The project is developing a microchip-based sensor that can detect exosomes via an electrical signal at a very low concentration. The aim is to develop a fast and inexpensive technology to diagnose a certain type of cancer via a standard blood test. Around 25 researchers are involved in the multidisciplinary project, led by KTH in cooperation with KI, Uppsala University and research institute RISE/ACREO.

Better malaria medication comes a step closer

Researchers from KTH and Stockholm University have been able to show in detail how malaria parasites absorb sugar, a discovery that can lead to better medication against malaria. According to the researchers, there is still some way to go before a new medical product based on the research findings can be developed, but this newly acquired knowledge can enable substances that are known to affect the malaria parasite to be improved such that they do not cause side effects that can block the transport of sugar in human cells, for example. This discovery in its turn, increases the probability of being able to develop substances that block sugar transport by the parasite into a medical product. The research findings, that have been developed by a team including Sarah E. McComas and Lucie Delemotte at the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics at KTH and SciLifeLab, have been published in Nature .

Award for sustainable public transport

Kevin Lloret Cendales, a masters student at the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, has been awarded the prize for the best masters academic paper within sustainable mobility. The award is given by K2, Sweden's national centre for research and education on public transport. The jury citation describes his paper as being of very high quality and that can lead to more efficient and more resilient bus services in cities.

Text: Christer Gummeson

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Last changed: Feb 07, 2020