FACULTY OF SCIENCE

Newsletter: INSIDAN, 24 August 2017
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Welcome back from your summer holidays, and happy reading!
Prizes and awarded grants
Chemist awarded millions by the ERC
Peter Jönsson, associate senior lecturer at the Department of Chemistry, has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant of around EUR 1.5 million over five years. He will use the money in his research into the body’s immune system. On the occasion of this major grant, Jönsson will hold a lecture in English tomorrow 25 August from 12:15 to 12:45 in Lundmarksalen, Astronomihuset, Sölvegatan 27. All those who are interested are most welcome.
Astronomer receives ERC Starting Grant
Bertram Bitsch, researcher at the Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics, has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant of around EUR 1.5 million over five years. The funding will be used in the PAMDORA project which aims to understand how planets form and migrate around young stars. Heidelberg University is hosting the project.
Chemists awarded grant for cooperation theme
The Department of Chemistry has been awarded a grant in the LU call for applications on thematic cooperation initiatives. The project is entitled “Circular Biobased Economy” and is coordinated by Eva Nordberg Karlsson (professor at the Department of Chemistry) and Josefine Ahlqvist (project manager at the University’s Research, External Engagement and Innovation Office).
Physicist wins the Science Slam in Almedalen
Emil Rofors, doctoral student at the Department of Physics, won the Science Slam in Almedalen. Rofors spoke about his research on finding new alternatives to Helium-3. The news item was picked up by several media outlets.
Apply for grants and scholarships
Apply for funding to cooperate with Nottingham
Now you can apply for funding, within the framework of the strategic partnership with the University of Nottingham, for research cooperation in the form of contact-establishing workshops. The application deadline is 30 September.
Read more and apply
Apply for funding from STINT
The current calls for applications from STINT are:
  • Initiation Grants (apply by 5 September)
  • Joint Japan-Sweden Research Collaboration (apply by 6 September)                        
  • South Africa-Sweden Bilateral Scientific Research Cooperation (apply by 15 September)
  • Joint Brazilian-Swedish Research Collaboration (apply by 15 September)
  • Teaching Sabbatical - It's too late to apply since Lund University's internal deadline was 20 August.
  • Joint China-Sweden Mobility (apply by 26 September)
  • Postdoctoral Transition Grants for Internationalisation (apply by 28 September)
  • Korea-Sweden Research Cooperation (apply by 29 September)
Read more about the calls for applications
Nominate candidates for the Heineken Prizes 2018
Now you can nominate candidates for the Heineken Prizes for outstanding research in subjects such as biochemistry, biophysics and environmental sciences. The deadline for nominations is 15 October.
Read more and nominate
What's on
Series of seminars with pharmaceutical companies
During the autumn, the Faculty of Medicine will be offering a series of seminars in which you can learn more about the work opportunities within the pharmaceutical industry. Register by email to heiko.herwald@med.lu.se.
See the whole programme
LU’s science week and culture week
Don’t miss the science week on The Amazing Brain from 4 to 10 September and the culture week on Art in Time and Space from 11 to 17 September. The latter event includes the Science Trail (Naturvetarstråket) which will take place as usual during Lund’s Culture Night (16 September).
Welcome day for new employees, 18 October
LU’s Welcome Day event for new employees will be held in English on 18 October from 08:30 to 14:00 at Skissernas museum – Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art. Read more and sign up for the event by 4 October on Kompetensportalen.
Theses of the month
Theses of the month in science
Andrei Stoica has investigated sharp bounds for Calderón-Zygmund operators spaces of vector-valued functions.
Search for theses in the research portal
See upcoming public defences
Staff in the Swedish media
Pesticides in groundwater in Skåne
Charlotte Sparrenbom, senior lecturer at the Department of Geology, was interviewed by many media outlets on the subject of the high levels of pesticides found in sources of drinking water used by municipalities in Skåne. “Above all, there should be more severe restrictions with regard to the approval of pesticides. We also need to ensure that all our water resources are in protected areas”, she says.
New study could lead to better mosquito control
Marcus Stensmyr, senior lecturer at the Department of Biology, was interviewed in many media outlets on the subject of new research showing how flies and other insects perceive changes in both temperature and air humidity. “If we manage to disable certain nerve cells in their brains, it could open new doors for mosquito control”, he says.
Now the Milky Way is at its most visible
Sofia Feltzing, professor at the Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics, was interviewed in many media outlets about the Milky Way being most visible now during the late summer and early autumn. “You should get as far away as possible from civilisation, to a place where you don’t see a lot of yellow light from motorway junctions and cities”, she says.
Heatwaves threaten increasing numbers of Europeans
Markku Rummukainen, professor of climatology, was interviewed in many media outlets about new research showing that Europeans risk dying as a result of heatwaves in the future. “The study shows an important example of the major consequences climate change will have if we don’t limit the global increase in temperatures”, he says. Rummukainen was also interviewed on Radio Sweden about this summer’s heatwaves in southern Europe.
Jackdaw’s flapping wings save energy
Anders Hedenström, professor at the Department of Biology, was interviewed in many media outlets on the subject of new research showing that birds that fly actively and flap their wings save energy. “Purely from an energy perspective, the cost goes down. Separate, slotted feathers on wingtips probably evolved because they facilitated flapping”, he says.
Biologist interviewed about the brownification of lakes
Emma Kritzberg, senior lecturer at the Department of Biology, was interviewed about new research indicating that coniferous forest is the cause of the brownification of Swedish lakes. “I am not saying that we should remove all the conifers in the landscape, but perhaps start to replace conifers with deciduous trees close to streams and rivers. That would probably have a very positive effect on the brownification”, she says.
Bacteria show flock behaviour
Joakim Stenhammar, associate senior lecturer at the Department of Chemistry, was interviewed about new research showing that bacteria form flocks at very low concentrations of individuals. “From a biological perspective, this is usable to examine the evolutionary basis of flock behaviour in bacteria, as the connections can increase our understanding of the course of infectious diseases”, he says.
The migration genes of birds are conditioned by geography
Max Lundberg, researcher, and Staffan Bensch, professor, both from the Department of Biology, were interviewed about new research showing that the migration genes of the willow warbler differ depending on where they breed in the summertime. “Our findings constitute an important addition to the understanding of the genetics of migration and will guide future studies in the subject”, says Bensch.
Researchers have investigated the spread of the signal crayfish
Ullrika Sahlin, researcher at the Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, was interviewed in the newspaper Kristianstadsbladet on the subject of a risk analysis she has produced on the spread of the signal crayfish in Sweden. The analysis is to be handed over to the Swedish Board of Agriculture and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, who in turn will produce a management programme to be approved by the EU Commission.
Geologist on board research ship
Sylvain Richoz, senior lecturer at the Department of Geology, was interviewed in several media outlets about his participation in the project “Science Sets Sail” in which researchers from various disciplines sailed together in the Baltic Sea. “The aim is to reinforce expertise and create new research projects around the Baltic. The idea is to do something out of the ordinary”, he says.
Birds can become immune to influenza
Neus Latorre-Margalef, researcher at the Department of Biology, was interviewed in several media outlets about new research showing that mallards infected with influenza develop protection against other variants of the influenza virus. “This can help us to understand how the system works, in order to develop better vaccines”, she says.
Climate change damages crops in the US and Canada
Markku Rummukainen, professor of climatology, was interviewed in many media outlets about new research showing that climate change has led to bad harvests in the central USA and Canada. “Vegetation and agriculture are sensitive to colder and later springs and less precipitation – plants don’t get going as usual and their growth is reduced”, he says.
Insect research leads to new technical solutions
Marie Dacke, senior lecturer at the Department of Biology, was interviewed in Svenska Dagbladet about how research into insects can lead to new technical solutions to problems that we humans are struggling with. Among other things, Dacke explained that there is work underway to develop a small robot which, like the dung beetle, can orientate itself using the night sky. The article also mentions Emily Baird, researcher at the same department.
Biologist writes about the verdict against Coop
Torbjörn Fagerström, professor emeritus at the Department of Biology, wrote two opinion pieces in Svenska Dagbladet about the Patent and Market Court finding Coop guilty in its advertising of organic food. “Scientific research is not a playpen in which anybody can design experiments, interpret results and choose which results are to be highlighted on the basis of their own ideological or commercial agenda”, he wrote.
Swordfish in Skåne may have starved to death
Maria Mostadius, curator at the Biology Museum, was interviewed in many media outlets on the subject of her dissection of the swordfish found dead in the Falsterbo canal. “I suspect that it starved to death”, she says.
Deadly heatwave could strike South Asia
Markku Rummukainen, professor of climatology, was interviewed in many media outlets about new research showing that millions of people in South Asia risk suffering from deadly heatwaves unless global warming is limited. Those who have little opportunity to adapt can suffer particularly badly. “We are talking about areas where there are many poor people, who cannot afford to install air conditioning and who work out in the fields even when it is hot”, says Rummukainen.
Biologist interviewed about how mosquitoes choose their victims
Marcus Stensmyr, senior lecturer at the Department of Biology, was interviewed on Radio Sweden and TV4 Nyhetsmorgon about why some people get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Stensmyr also explained how to avoid getting bitten.
Infrared light reveals the relationship between extinct plant species
Vivi Vajda (professor at the Department of Geology) and Per Uvdal (professor at the Department of Chemistry) were interviewed in many media outlets about how they have succeeded in mapping the relationships between plant species that are 200 million years old.
Professor interviewed about the function of colours in the animal world
Almut Kelber, professor at the Department of Biology, was interviewed about how colours are perceived and function in the animal world. In the future, increased knowledge in this area could contribute to the development of fields as far apart as medicine, safety and clothing.
Geologist interviewed about groundwater shortage
Charlotte Sparrenbom, senior lecturer at the Department of Geology, was interviewed on Radio Sweden about the shortage of groundwater in Sweden. Sparrenbom says that one of the solutions to the problem could be to increase the price of water.
Studying how bats hunt in flight
Per Henningsson, researcher at the Department of Biology, was interviewed in many media outlets on the subject of researchers studying for the first time how bats out-manoeuver their prey when hunting in flight. Henningsson explained the how a wind-tunnel is used to study the bats’ flying technique.
Dragonflies can predict where their prey is heading
David O’Carroll, professor at the Department of Biology, was interviewed in many media outlets on new research showing that dragonflies can predict where moving objects, such as prey, will be within the immediate future. Among other things, the research can be used for the development of driverless vehicles.
Researcher investigates how bumble-bees navigate
Emily Baird, researcher, and Pierre Tichit, doctoral student, at the Department of Biology, were interviewed on the subject of their investigation into how bumble-bees navigate in various environments. Among other things, their research could contribute to the development of small robots.
Discovered proteins help bacteria to divide
Klas Flärdh, professor at the Department of Biology, was interviewed in several media outlets on the subject of his discovery of two proteins which contribute to enabling bacterial cells to divide and thereby reproduce. In the long term, the discovery could facilitate the development of new antibiotics which must be produced as resistance to existing antibiotics increases.
Poisonous plant threatens horses
Torbjörn Tyler, curator at the Biology Museum, was interviewed about the increase in the occurrence of a poisonous plant, common ragwort, in southern Sweden. “Ragwort is really only a problem for horse-owners. It is apparently also dangerous for cows, but they don’t eat it. It is completely harmless for humans and not a problem for nature conservation” he says.
Gold fever in Österlen
Anders Scherstén, senior lecturer at the Department of Geology, was interviewed on SVT News on the subject of gold found on the beach below the Ravlunda firing range in Österlen. “This is of course very exciting and also rather unusual. And as far as I know, this is unique to Skåne”, he says.
Researcher investigates pollinating insects in Malmö
Anna Persson, researcher at the Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, was interviewed on Radio Sweden about her investigation into how pollination in Malmö works.
The offspring of older mothers live longer
Dennis Hasselquist, professor at the Department of Biology, was interviewed on TV4 News about new findings showing that older great reed warbler mothers, who stay healthy, have better conditions to have offspring that live longer. Hasselquist says that similar mechanisms may exist in humans.
Gigantic dandelion leaf astounds biologist
Torbjörn Tyler, curator of the Biology Museum, was interviewed in Expressen on the subject of a dandelion leaf found in Skåne that is 68 centimetres long. “I have never seen such large dandelion leaves, but they can become large and in that case it could be due to the fact that they have received a great deal of nutrition”, he says.
Doctoral student to investigate Europe’s freshwater algae gonyostomum semen
Raphael Gollnisch, doctoral student at the Department of Biology, was interviewed in Skånska Dagbladet about the freshwater microalgal species, gonyostomum semen, which is increasing rapidly in European lakes. By studying whether there are differences in the genome of the algae in different areas, he hopes to find out how the species has spread and why.
Flowering field borders benefit pollinators
Henrik Smith, professor at the Department of Biology, was interviewed in the daily Dagens Nyheter about the project “The Birds and the Bees” which creates flowering field borders for bees, bumble-bees and other pollinators. “Compared with not doing anything, the effects of flowering field edges are very positive. Besides the pollinators, there can also be other positive effects such as benefiting the natural enemies of pests, such as parasitoids which lay eggs in aphids”, he says.
Clear connection between risk-taking and innovations
Ullrika Sahlin, researcher at the Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, was interviewed about the connection between risk-taking and innovations. Sahlin says that there is a clear correlation and that the whole of evolution has been driven by risk-taking.
Question mark over the amount of carbon in the atmosphere
Anders Lindroth, professor emeritus at the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, was interviewed in Dagens ETC about why the amount of carbon in the atmosphere is increasing, despite the fact that human emissions of carbon dioxide have been stabilised. “There are many uncertain factors”, he says.
Mass death of bumble-bees in Sjöbo
Henrik Smith, professor at the Department of Biology, was interviewed in Ystads Allehanda on the subject of around a hundred bumble-bees found dead in Sjöbo. Smith says that the bumble-bees may have died of natural causes or been subjected to attack by birds.
Biologist talks about the nesting places of sand martins
Thomas Alerstam, professor emeritus at the Department of Biology, was interviewed in many media outlets about an inventory showing that there is a shortage of nesting places for the country’s sand martins. Alerstam explains that many sand martins have their nests in natural scree slopes, but that sand and gravel pits are also important nesting places for them.
Predators maintain existing animal species
Kaj Hultén, postdoc, and Anders Nilsson, professor, both at the Department of Biology, were interviewed about new research showing that hybrids (cross-breeds of two species) get eaten by predators to a larger extent than their parents. “Predators maintain the boundaries between species and contribute to preventing the appearance of a whole range of new hybrids”, says Nilsson.
Female odonates mimic males to avoid their attentions
Erik Svensson, professor at the Department of Biology, was interviewed on SVT News about new research showing that female odonates, which mimic the appearance of males in order to avoid sexual harassment, are most common in northern Europe. Svensson says that the need for females that look like males is greater here because the mating season is very short.
Climate professor in interview about forest fires
Markku Rummukainen, professor of climatology, was interviewed on Radio Sweden about the forest fires in Greece. “When it gets warmer because of climate change, we get a longer season for fires. With less precipitation, which is one of the consequences in the area, the risk of fires increases. We are facing increasingly difficult times”, he says.
How to get rid of fruit flies
Marcus Stensmyr, senior lecturer at the Department of Biology, was interviewed on SVT News about fruit flies and how to avoid having them at home.
Pesticides affect the reproduction of bumble-bees
Henrik Smith, professor at the Department of Biology, was interviewed on Radio Sweden about a new study showing that the pesticide neonicotinoids has a negative impact on bumble-bee egg-laying. “Previously, we have seen effects on their search for food and the development of their colonies, for example. But now, it was possible to see that the queen bees, when they are to establish themselves in the spring, are negatively affected by neonicotinoids”, he says.
New studies on how neonicotinoids affect bees
Maj Rundlöf, researcher at the Department of Biology, was mentioned in Dagens Nyheter in connection with two new studies showing that insecticide containing neonicotinoids has a negative impact on bees.
Astronomer in personal feature
Katrin Ros, doctoral student at the Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics, was interviewed for a personal feature published in Sydsvenskan. Among other things, Ros talks about her research into how planets are formed.
Researcher interviewed about the impact of forests on the climate
Anders Lindroth, professor emeritus at the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, was interviewed in Dagens ETC about the effect of forests on the climate. “In principle, it would be best for the climate simply not to cut down any forest for the immediate future, if we want to achieve results quickly”, he says.
More endangered plant and animal species in Skåne
Ola Olsson, senior lecturer at the Department of Biology, was interviewed on Radio Sweden on the subject of there being more endangered plant and animal species in Skåne. Olsson says that Skåne is particularly vulnerable because of its biodiversity.
Museum curator identified insects
Christer Hansson, curator at the Biology Museum, helped to identify insects in an illustrated insert published in Sydsvenskan, among other media outlets.
Biologist led guided tour in nature reserve
Pål Axel Olsson, professor at the Department of Biology, was interviewed in Frilagt about how he led a guided tour through the Vinslöv flower meadow nature reserve.
Biologist talks about blueberries
Lars Olof Björn, professor emeritus at the Department of Biology, answered questions about blueberries in Fokus.
Researcher talks about butterflies
Lars Pettersson, researcher at the Department of Biology, was mentioned in Ystads Allehanda in connection with a guided butterfly tour he led in the Ystad area.
Last but not least
Research opportunity at SciLifeLab
SciLifeLab is offering an opportunity for researchers to develop recombinant antibodies against new target proteins. The application deadline is close: 1 September. A second call for applications is planned for November.
Read more and apply
About the newsletter
Sent to: People currently working at the Faculty of Science, Lund University (employed or organisational role).
Editor: Helena Bergqvist, Faculty Office
Publishing schedule: The newsletter is published on alternate Thursdays. The next issue will come out on 7 September.
Do you have news you’d like us to include? Send it to the editor by 12 noon on 5 September.