Press Releases 2014
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Heidelberg, 22 October 2014 Chamber of secrets Cells can huddle to communicate within a restricted group, scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have found. The study is the first demonstration that the way cells organise themselves influences their ability to communicate. The researchers propose that this strategy, which they discovered in developing zebrafish, could be much more widespread, influencing processes like wound repair, organ formation and even cancer.
Monterotondo, 22 October 2014 Protecting us from our cells A molecule called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) boosts the body’s natural defence auto-immune diseases such as type-1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, scientists at EMBL Monterotondo have found. The findings are especially exciting because IGF-1 is already approved for use in patients, which could speed up the move to clinical trials for treating auto-immune diseases.
Heidelberg, 6 October 2014 Hungary joins EMBL as prospect member state EMBL welcomes Hungary as its newest prospect member state. In a Statement of Intent signed this month, Hungary and EMBL agree to explore possibilities for long-term cooperation, with a view to the country becoming a full member state within three years.
Heidelberg, 25 September 2014 How plankton gets jet lagged The hormone melatonin, which governs sleep and jet lag in humans, may also drive the mass migration of plankton in the ocean, scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have found. They discovered that it governs the nightly migration of a plankton species from the surface to deeper waters. The findings indicate that melatonin’s role in controlling daily rhythms probably evolved early in the history of animals, and hold hints to how our sleep patterns may have evolved.
Heidelberg, 11 September 2014 From worm muscle to spinal discs Thoughts of the family tree may not be uppermost in the mind of a person suffering from a slipped disc, but those spinal discs provide a window into our evolutionary past. They are remnants of the first vertebrate skeleton, whose origins now appear to be older than had been assumed. Scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have found that, unexpectedly, this skeleton most likely evolved from a muscle.
Hamburg, 7 August 2014 Double act How can you find the same thing both attractive and repulsive? For growing neurons, the answer is in how they engage with it. The findings, published online today in Neuron, stem from the 3D structure of Netrin-1 bound to one of the sensor molecules – receptors – the cell uses to detect it. The work, by scientists at EMBL Hamburg, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Peking University could also have implications for cancer treatment.
Hamburg, 24 July 2014 Fighting bacteria – with viruses Research published today in PLOS Pathogens reveals how viruses called bacteriophages destroy the bacterium Clostridium difficile (C. diff), which is becoming a serious problem in hospitals and healthcare institutes, due to its resistance to antibiotics. The study by scientists at EMBL Hamburg could help bring about a new way of fighting this and other bacteria.
Heidelberg, 3 July 2014 EMBL and EMBO to host anniversary science and policy meeting Scientists, politicians and policy makers met at the EMBL Advanced Training Centre in Heidelberg, Germany, on Wednesday 2 July and Thursday 3 July for the EMBO-EMBL Anniversary Science and Policy Meeting. The event will feature scientific talks from researchers, the participation of European science ministers, and sessions on policy issues such as excellence and inclusion.
Heidelberg, 2 July 2014 Surprisingly stable long-distance relationships Contrary to what was thought, sequences of DNA called enhancers find their targets long before they are activated during embryonic development, scientists EMBL Heidelberg have found. Their study, published in Nature, also reveals that, surprisingly, the degree of complexity of enhancers’ interactions in the fruit fly is comparable to what is seen in vertebrates.
Heidelberg, 22 June 2014 Cancer by remote-control One of the deadliest forms of paediatric brain tumour, Group 3 medulloblastoma, is linked to a variety of large-scale DNA rearrangements which all have the same overall effect on specific genes located on different chromosomes. The finding, by scientists at EMBL Heidelberg and collaborators, is published online today in Nature.
Heidelberg/Prague, 10 June 2014 Czech Republic becomes EMBL’s 21st member state Forty years after its foundation, EMBL announces its 21st member state: the Czech Republic. Building on a successful bilateral relationship, the Czech Republic’s membership grants Czech scientists access to EMBL’s state-of-the-art instruments, facilities and world-class training programmes.
Heidelberg, 25 May 2014 Insights into genetics of cleft lip Scientists in the Spitz group at EMBL Heidelberg have identified how a specific stretch of DNA controls far-off genes to influence the formation of the face. The study, published today in Nature Genetics, helps understand the genetic causes of cleft lip and cleft palate, which are among the most common congenital malformations in humans.
Hinxton, 9 May 2014 How immune cells use steroids Researchers at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have discovered that some immune cells turn themselves off by producing a steroid. The findings, published in Cell Reports, have implications for the study of cancers, autoimmune diseases and parasitic infections.
Hinxton, 27 March 2014 Where do you start when developing a new medicine? A pioneering public-private research initiative between GSK, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is to harness the power of ‘big data’ and genome sequencing to improve the success rate for discovering new medicines. The new Centre for Therapeutic Target Validation (CTTV) will aim to address a wide range of human diseases and will share its data openly in the interests of accelerating drug discovery.
Heidelberg, 7 March 2014 Slovak Republic becomes EMBL Prospect Member State EMBL welcomes the Slovak Republic as the first country to join its new Prospect Member scheme. In a Statement of Intent signed last month, the Slovak Republic and EMBL agree to explore the possibilities for long-term cooperation, with a view to the country becoming a full Member State within three years.
Heidelberg, 24 February 2014 Pan-European imaging infrastructure gains momentum Europe is uniting to make state-of-the-art imaging technologies accessible to biomedical researchers throughout the continent in a concerted manner. EMBL and seven countries have signed the Euro- BioImaging Memorandum of Understanding. In the coming months, the signatories will work together towards the implementation and construction of this new pan-European infrastructure for imaging technologies. All European countries are invited to participate and several European nations are already set to follow suit.
Monterotondo, 2 February 2014 Making your brain social Scientists have identified, for the first time, a way in which the decreased functional connectivity seen in the brain of many people with autism can come about: it can be caused by cells called microglia failing to trim connections between neurons, researchers from EMBL Monterotondo, the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia and La Sapienza University demonstrate in a study published today in Nature Neuroscience.
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