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Mention “mutated DNA” to non-scientists and they’ll think of something harmful, genetic errors to be avoided at all costs. Mention “mutated DNA” to geneticists, and the reaction may be quite different, especially since the advent of CRISPR. This new genome-editing tool lets researchers modify the base sequence of DNA at very precise locations – essentially, producing tailor-made mutations – even in living organisms! Michaela Willi and her colleagues, for example, use CRISPR to generate mice with mutations in a super-enhancer that controls activity of a gene in mammary gland cells.

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“I’m an MRI scientist with physics training, which is very helpful to advance MRI,” explains Alexander Rauscher. Growing up in Salzburg, Rauscher’s interest in medicine was triggered by his civilian service work as a nurse in a Salzburg hospital. Combine that with his academic training in engineering physics, a large dash of neuroscience, and a solid grasp of signal processing, and you end up with a 2015 recipient of the Canada Research Chair (CRC) Tier II award in Developmental Neuroimaging! You also get an ARIT poster that highlights several facets of Rauscher’s recent work with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

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When the pilots let Tobias Niederwieser sit in the cockpit as the plane approached Vienna, they didn’t know that the experience would change the 8-year old’s life! Seventeen years later, Niederwieser has a private pilot certificate and is pursuing his PhD in Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder! And his fascination with flying now extends far beyond the Earth’s atmosphere: “First impressed by planes, that interest moved over to human spaceflight,” he says of himself.

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“In school, I was always looking for alternative solutions for mathematical or physical problems,” Philipp Haslinger (Recipient of the 2016 ASCINA Young Scientist Award) says, adding: “My teachers were not always very amused!” It’s likely that his childhood teachers in Großkrut, Lower Austria, would be impressed by his current pursuit of alternative solutions, as Haslinger applies his ingenuity to improving the measurement of tiny forces using atomic interferometry.

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Growing up in Grafensulz, Lower Austria, Marlies Meisel already had a deep interest in medical science and research. “I always wanted to know how the things work in the body and what happens when the body gets sick,” she says. Marlies had a strong personal incentive for understanding how the body works and why it gets sick.

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