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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.

Massimo is the editor of 328 Breaks:

Distinctive stone tools reveal Siberian Neanderthals originated in eastern Europe

Neanderthals once inhabited Eurasia, but the geographical origin and time of arrival of the easternmost populations in southern Siberia remain open questions. Distinctive stone tools found at Chagyrskaya Cave reveal at least two separate dispersals of Neanderthals into this region, with the most recent incursion about 60,000 years ago originating in eastern Europe—a journey of more than 3,000 km.

Oct 26, 2020 | 3.5 min read
Repurposing of retroviral genes: when foe becomes self

Throughout evolution, our genomes have been under attack by potentially harmful viruses. However, sometimes genes from the viral invaders have been captured and converted to provide a beneficial function for the host. A viral gene responsible for protecting retroviral RNA has been repurposed in both human and insect hosts to protect and transmit neurological mRNA signals.

Oct 23, 2020 | 3.5 min read
How to know slow slip events and anticipate future large earthquakes

To visualize the slow slip events on the plate boundary and the geological process that leads to future catastrophic earthquakes, we installed a "seafloor GNSS station".

Oct 22, 2020 | 3 min read
Where mind meets body: a master brain circuit for stress responses

We discovered in rats the long-sought brain circuit mechanism of "mind–body connection". This mechanism is critical for driving a variety of autonomic and behavioral responses when mammals undergo psychological stress. This new knowledge will be an essential basis for the future development of novel strategies for treating stress-related disorders.

Oct 21, 2020 | 4 min read
Making non-magnetic photons feel a taste for magnetism

Photons are intrinsically chargeless and non-magnetic. Using intrinsic properties of photons and a straightforward structure, we have created “synthetic dimensions” in which such photons behave like electrons, responding to magnetic fields as if they were carrying a charge. The strength of these magnetic field effects can be easily and precisely controlled at will.

Oct 19, 2020 | 3.5 min read
The solid which conducts heat best

A phonon is a quantum of atomic vibrations. According to quantum mechanics, these phonons are what allow heat to travel in any solid medium. The capacity of solids to conduct heat is extremely variable. We identify a stack of graphene sheets as the best-known conductor of heat at room temperature, thanks to carbon atoms' ability to vibrate fast combined to other mysterious properties of a honeycomb lattice.

Oct 15, 2020 | 3 min read