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Massimo Caine

About Massimo

Massimo, molecular biologist, is constantly on a mission to inspire scientists and laypeople around him with his passion for science. During the time spent on the bench, he followed his natural all-around curiosity, investigating several topics from medical diseases to plant physiology. Head of TheScienceBreaker, Massimo proudly chases his naïve dream of an engaged society where scientists and citizens are facing together the upcoming challenges for human civilizations. At the University of Geneva, Switzerland, Massimo works for BiOutils – an academic and laboratory-based platform for outreach in life sciences.

Massimo is the editor of 269 Breaks:

A world without lake ice?

Lakes are rapidly losing ice cover around the Northern Hemisphere. Currently, 14,800 lakes are no longer freezing every winter. And even small increases in temperature could result in thousands of additional lakes losing ice cover. Lake ice provides essential ecosystem services that support human life. Its loss will impact hundreds of millions of people socioeconomically and culturally.

Jul 19, 2019 | 3.5 min read
A new strategy to beat Ebola virus at its own game

We investigated how Ebola virus interacts with proteins in human cells. Doing this, we identified a human protein called RBBP6 that reduces the virus’ growth. Using a small part of RBBP6, we could slow down the infection in the lab – a promising finding for future treatments.

Jul 17, 2019 | 4 min read
Genetic determinants of thinness and obesity: cards of the same deck

Obesity is a major public health concern. While most genetic studies have focused on obesity, we opted to look at the contribution of genetic variation to healthy thinness. In this study, we found that propensity to obesity or thinness is affected mostly by the same genes.

Jul 12, 2019 | 3.5 min read
A timeline for the Denisovans, an enigmatic group of archaic humans

The Denisovans are a mysterious group of archaic humans named after the type locality of Denisova Cave in southern Siberia. The site was also occupied at times by Neanderthals and modern humans. Thanks to optical dating and environmental reconstructions we defined a robust chronology for these archaic humans.

Jul 10, 2019 | 3.5 min read
Overturning the hypothesis for how humans evolved language

Few traits are as uniquely human as complex spoken language. Language, therefore, has interested evolutionary biologists and neuroscientists seeking to understand what makes us, and in particular our brains, distinct from other animals.

Jul 8, 2019 | 4 min read
High extinction risk for wild coffee species and implications for coffee sector sustainability

Coffee is a globally significant commodity and the source of livliehoods for millions of farmers worldwide. Our coffee crop plants, represent very recent domestication events. We found that at least 60% of all coffee species are threatened with extinction, 45% are not held in any germplasm collection, and 28% are not known to occur in any protected area.

Jul 5, 2019 | 4 min read