Founded in its present form in 1818, as the linear successor of earlier academic institutions, the University of Bonn is today one of the leading universities in Germany. The University of Bonn offers a large number of undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of subjects. Its library holds more than two million volumes. The University of Bonn has 525 professors and 31,000 students. Among its notable alumni and faculty are seven Nobel Laureates, two Fields Medalists, twelve Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize winners, Prince Albert, Pope Benedict XVI, Frederick III, Karl Marx, Heinrich Heine, Friedrich Nietzsche, Konrad Adenauer, and Joseph Schumpeter.
In the years 2010, 2011 and 2013, the Times Higher Education ranked the University of Bonn as one of the 200 best universities in the world.
University of Bonn research articles from Innovation Toronto
- Using nanoparticles to combat arteriosclerosis – January 7, 2016
- Adenosine can melt “love handles – October 19, 2014”
- With light echoes, the invisible becomes visible – a camera that can see around the corner – June 18, 2014
- Researchers from the University of Bonn found out that tiny foraminifera in the oceans can save islands
- Stem cell replacement for frequent age-related blindness
- New Soccer Robot Has Human-Like Agility
- New nanotube surface promises dental implants that heal faster and fight infection
- Scientists Demonstrate New Method for Harvesting Energy from Light
- Drug design success propels efforts to fight HIV with a combination of two FDA-approved drugs
- Biological transistor enables computing within living cells
- Free Trove of Music Scores on Web Hits Sensitive Copyright Note
In Lab Tests, Researchers Halt Arrhythmias With Gentle Beams—Not Harsh Electric Shocks
Using high-tech human heart models and mouse experiments, scientists at Johns Hopkins and Germany’s University of Bonn have shown that beams of light could replace electric shocks in patients reeling from a deadly heart rhythm disorder.
The findings, published online Sept. 12 in the October 2016 edition of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, could pave the way for a new type of implantable defibrillators.
Current devices deliver pulses of electricity that are extremely painful and can damage heart tissue. Light-based treatment, the Johns Hopkins and Bonn researchers say, should provide a safer and gentler remedy for patients at high risk of arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat that can cause sudden cardiac death within minutes.
This idea springs from advances in the field of optogenetics, in which light-sensitive proteins are embedded in living tissue, enabling the use of light sources to modify electrical activity in cells.
“We are working towards optical defibrillation of the heart, where light will be given to a patient who is experiencing cardiac arrest, and we will be able to restore the normal functioning of the heart in a gentle and painless manner,” said Natalia Trayanova, who supervised the research at Johns Hopkins.
To move the new heart treatment closer to reality, the scientists at the University of Bonn and Johns Hopkins focused on two different types of research.
The Bonn team conducted tests on beating mouse hearts whose cells had been genetically engineered to express proteins that react to light and alter electrical activity within the organ.
When the Bonn researchers triggered ventricular fibrillation in the mouse heart, a light pulse of one second applied to the heart was enough to restore normal rhythm. “This is a very important result,” said Tobias Bruegmann, one of the lead authors of the journal article. “It shows for the first time experimentally that light can be used for defibrillation of cardiac arrhythmia.”
To find out if this technique could help human patients, Trayanova’s team at Johns Hopkins performed an analogous experiment within a detailed computer model of a human heart, one derived from MRI scans taken of a patient who had experienced a heart attack and was now at risk of arrhythmia.
“Our simulations show that a light pulse to the heart could stop the cardiac arrhythmia in this patient,” said Patrick M. Boyle, a Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering research professor who was also a lead author of the journal article.
To do so, however, the method from the University of Bonn had to be tweaked for the human heart by using red light to stimulate the heart cells, instead of the blue light used in mice. Boyle, who is a member of Trayanova’s lab team, explained that the blue light used in the much smaller mouse hearts was not powerful enough to fully penetrate human heart tissue. The red light, which has a longer wavelength, was more effective in the virtual human tests.
“In addition to demonstrating the feasibility of optogenetic defibrillation in a virtual heart of a patient, the simulations revealed the precise ways in which light alters the collective electrical behavior of the cells in the heart to achieve the desired arrhythmia termination,” Trayanova said.
Boyle added that this aspect of the study highlighted the important role that computational modeling can play in guiding and accelerating the development of therapeutic applications for cardiac optogenetics, a technology that is still in its infancy.
Junior Professor Philipp Sasse of the Institute of Physiology I at the University of Bonn, who is corresponding author of the study and supervised the project in Germany, agreed that the promising light treatment will require much more time and research before it can become a commonplace medical procedure.
“The new method is still in the stage of basic research,” Sasse said. “Until implantable optical defibrillators can be developed for the treatment of patients, it will still take at least five to ten years.”
When individuals engage in risky business transactions with each other, they may end up being disappointed.
This is why they’d rather leave the decision on how to divvy up jointly-owned monies to a computer than to their business partner. This subconscious strategy seems to help them avoid the negative emotions associated with any breaches of trust. This is the result of a study by scientists from the University of Bonn and US peers. They are presenting their findings in the scientific journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B.”
Trust is an essential basis for business relationships. However, this basis can be shaken if one business partner exhibits dishonest behavior. “Everyone knows that trust can be shattered in risky businesses,” explained Prof. Dr. Bernd Weber from the Center for Economics and Neuroscience (CENs) at the University of Bonn. “As a result, people are not all that eager to put their trust in others.” Scientists call this attitude “betrayal aversion” – people try to avoid being disappointed by potential breaches of trust.
In a current study, Prof. Weber and his US colleagues, Prof. Dr. Jason A. Aimone from Baylor University and Prof. Dr. Daniel Houser from George Mason University examined in experiments the effects betrayal aversion has on simple financial decisions. A total of 30 subjects played a computer game at George Mason University in Arlington, VA (USA) that promised real monies to the winners. At the Life & Brain Zentrum of the University of Bonn, the same number of subjects then made their decisions based on the results of the earlier experiment. And while the Bonn subjects were responding to their gaming partners’ decisions made earlier in Arlington, their brain activity was measured by means of MRI scans.
Sharing fairly or making a profit at the other person’s expense?
In this experiment, the test subjects in Bonn were able to select whether they and their US partners would get one euro each only, or whether they wanted to have a higher amount – i.e., 6 euros – divided up. However, the latter variant came with a risk. So, for example, the other player might get as much as 5.60 euros while the Bonn player would be left with only 40 Cents. The actual dividing of the amount, which came in a second step, could be left either to one’s partner or to the computer. However, the computer gave out exactly the same decisions as the real test subjects. “So, from the point of view of winnings, there was no difference whether the other player or the machine divided the amount,” explained Prof. Weber. “And the subjects had explicitly been told so from the very start.”
Even though the winnings were exactly the same in the end, more subjects put their trust into the computer. When the money was divided by the computer, 63 percent of subjects trusted the process and only 37 percent preferred taking just the one euro. But if the arrangement was that the human partners would make the decision, only 49 percent of test subjects trusted them – 51 percent would rather take the more secure, small amount. “These results show that more subjects prefer to leave risky decisions in which they may be betrayed to an impersonal device, thus avoiding the negative feeling that comes from having wrongly trusted a human,” said Prof. Weber, adding that obviously a breach of trust committed by an impersonal computer was less emotionally stressful than if had been a private business partner.
The brain’s frontal insula was especially active
The University of Bonn’s subjects also showed interesting brain activities as measured in MRI scans. In the process of making financial decisions, the frontal insula was especially active when it was another player who made the decision on how to divide the amount. “This area of the brain is always involved when negative emotions such as pain, disappointment or fear are activated,” explained Prof. Weber. He added that the fact that the frontal insula was activated is a clear indication that negative emotions played an important role in these situations.
Financial decisions are very complex. “This is a very contrary phenomenon. Many studies show that the anonymity of business partners on the Internet results in a loss of trust,” said Prof. Weber. “But our results indicate that this anonymity can also help avoid negative feelings.” He added that these decision processes in financial transactions would yet have to be studied in more detail.