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.
Hamburg, 16 September 2014 Hamburg anniversary symposium: Preview From 27–29 November, EMBL Hamburg invites past and present friends, users and alumni to a 40th anniversary celebration at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) campus. Festivities include a two-day symposium that will look at the history of the Hamburg outstation, the science undertaken at its beamlines, and the future of structural biology. In a preview interview, keynote speaker Michael Rossmann looks back at the early days of synchrotron radiation and crystallography, and makes some predications about the future of structural biology.
Hinxton, 12 September 2014 Major advance in stem cell technology Researchers at EMBL-EBI have resolved a long-standing challenge in stem cell biology by successfully ‘resetting’ human pluripotent stem cells to a fully pristine state, at the point of their greatest developmental potential. The study, published in Cell, involved scientists from the UK, Germany and Japan and was led jointly by EMBL-EBI and the University of Cambridge.
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.
Heidelberg, 5 September 2014 Scientists for a day For just one day, PhD students could no longer claim the title of ‘youngest researchers’ at EMBL. That honour went to the 13 students aged 11 to 17 who conducted a full-day experiment in the EMBL training labs as part of the Tschira-Jugendakademie at the end of August this year.
Hamburg, 2 September 2014 CSSB foundation stone ceremony On 29 August, Hamburg’s science senator Dorothee Stapelfeldt, secretary of state in Lower Saxony’s science ministry Andrea Hoop, and founding director of the Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) Matthias Wilmanns, together with representatives of the CSSB partners, laid the foundation stone for the new Centre’s research building.
General, 27 August 2014 Nordic networks Researchers are convening in Umeå, Sweden this week for the annual network meeting of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine. The Partnership – which has grown from scratch in 2008 to more than 40 research groups mostly led by young researchers – brings together the Danish Institute for Translational Neuroscience (DANDRITE), the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS), the Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway (NCMM) and EMBL with the shared goal of tailoring approaches to the benefit of patients. Ahead of the meeting, we caught up with NCMM Director and speaker of the Partnership Kjetil Taskén.