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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.
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