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Trento, Italy

Frasnelli E.,University of Trento | Haase A.,University of Trento | Rigosi E.,University of Trento | Rigosi E.,tech Research Center | And 3 more authors.
Insects | Year: 2014

The honeybee Apis mellifera, with a brain of only 960,000 neurons and the ability to perform sophisticated cognitive tasks, has become an excellent model in life sciences and in particular in cognitive neurosciences. It has been used in our laboratories to investigate brain and behavioural asymmetries, i.e., the different functional specializations of the right and the left sides of the brain. It is well known that bees can learn to associate an odour stimulus with a sugar reward, as demonstrated by extension of the proboscis when presented with the trained odour in the so-called Proboscis Extension Reflex (PER) paradigm. Bees recall this association better when trained using their right antenna than they do when using their left antenna. They also retrieve short-term memory of this task better when using the right antenna. On the other hand, when tested for long-term memory recall, bees respond better when using their left antenna. Here we review a series of behavioural studies investigating bees' lateralization, integrated with electrophysiological measurements to study asymmetries of olfactory sensitivity, and discuss the possible evolutionary origins of these asymmetries. We also present morphological data obtained by scanning electron microscopy and two-photon microscopy. Finally, a behavioural study conducted in a social context is summarised, showing that honeybees control context-appropriate social interactions using their right antenna, rather than the left, thus suggesting that lateral biases in behaviour might be associated with requirements of social life. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Maniglio D.,University of Trento | Maniglio D.,tech Research Center | Ding Y.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Wang L.,University of Colorado at Boulder | And 2 more authors.
Polymer | Year: 2011

This work demonstrates a new strategy of producing honeycomb-like porous structures in cross-linked polymer films via a simple one-step synthesis/fabrication process. This is based on the "breath figure" formation during the in situ cross-linking of reactive monomer solutions. A chloroform solution, containing tert-butyl acrylate monomer and tetraethylene glycol dimethacrylate cross-linker, was cross-linked upon UV radiation under a moist and nitrogen saturated chamber. Micron-sized pores with reasonable uniformity were obtained in the cross-linked polymer films. The size, shape, uniformity and ordering of the pores show significant dependences on the processing conditions. Using this method, porous structures were also achieved in a commercially available photo-active resin, NOA 65, illustrating the generality of this approach. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Benetti F.,tech Research Center | Fedel M.,tech Research Center | Minati L.,Fondazione Bruno Kessler | Speranza G.,Fondazione Bruno Kessler | Migliaresi C.,tech Research Center
Journal of Nanoparticle Research | Year: 2013

Material interaction with blood proteins is a critical issue, since it could influence the biological processes taking place in the body following implantation/injection. This is particularly important in the case of nanoparticles, where innovative properties, such as size and high surface to volume ratio can lead to a behavioral change with respect to bulk macroscopic materials and could be responsible for a potential risk for human health. The aim of this work was to compare gold nanoparticles (AuNP) and planar surfaces to study the role of surface curvature moving from the macro- to the nano-size in the process of blood protein adsorption. In the course of the study, different protocols were tested to optimize the analysis of protein adsorption on gold nanoparticles. AuNP with different size (10, 60 and 200 nm diameter) and surface coatings (citrate and polyethylene glycol) were carefully characterized. The stabilizing action of blood proteins adsorbed on AuNP was studied measuring the variation of size and solubility of the nanoparticles following incubation with single protein solutions (human serum albumin and fibrinogen) and whole blood plasma. In addition, we developed a method to elute proteins from AuNP to study the propensity of gold materials to adsorb plasma proteins in function of dimensional characteristics and surface chemistry. We showed a different efficacy of the various eluting media tested, proving that even the most aggressive agent cannot provide a complete detachment of the protein corona. Enhanced protein adsorption was evidenced on AuNP if compared to gold laminae (bare and PEGylated) used as macroscopic control, probably due to the superior AuNP surface reactivity. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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