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Heidelberg, 1 April 2019 Global microbial signatures for colorectal cancer established Researchers from EMBL, the University of Trento, and their international collaborators have analysed multiple existing microbiome association studies of colorectal cancer together with newly generated data. Their meta-analyses establish disease-specific microbiome changes which are globally robust – consistent across seven countries on three continents – despite differences in environment, diet and life style. Nature Medicine publishes their results on 1 April 2019.
Heidelberg, 1 April 2019 Foundation stone ceremony for world-class high-resolution microscopy centre in Heidelberg A foundation stone ceremony for the new EMBL Imaging Centre, located on the campus of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, took place today. The new facility will give researchers access to the most modern microscopy technologies available. It is made possible by a collaboration between the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the State of Baden-Württemberg (MWK), EMBL, and by further contributions from industry partners (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Leica and ZEISS), as well as by donations from the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation and Heidelberg Cement. The EMBL Imaging Centre will open in 2021.
Heidelberg, 28 March 2019 Designer organelles bring new functionalities into cells For the first time, scientists have engineered the complex biological process of translation into a designer organelle in a living mammalian cell. Research by the Lemke group at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) – in collaboration with JGU Mainz and IMB Mainz – used this technique to create a membraneless organelle that can build proteins from natural and synthetic amino acids carrying new functionality. Their results – published in Science on 29 March – allow scientists to study, tailor, and control cellular function in more detail.
Hinxton, 14 March 2019 Funding awarded for bioinformatics technical infrastructure UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has awarded £45 million to EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), to enhance the institute’s technical infrastructure. The funding, which comes from the UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund, will support EMBL-EBI’s existing and emerging data resources, including in areas of major interest, such as genomics and bioimaging.
Hamburg, 18 February 2019 Suicide system in tuberculosis bacteria might hold key to treatment Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top ten causes of death worldwide. In 2017, 10 million people around the world fell ill with TB and 1.3 million died. The genome of the bacterium that causes TB holds a special toxin-antitoxin system with spectacular action: once the toxin is activated, all bacterial cells die, stopping the disease. An international research team co-led by the Wilmanns group at EMBL Hamburg investigated this promising feature for therapeutic targets. They now share the first high-resolution details of the system in Molecular Cell.
Hinxton, 11 February 2019 Almost 2000 unknown bacteria discovered in the human gut Researchers at EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute and the Wellcome Sanger Institute have identified almost 2000 bacterial species living in the human gut. These species are yet to be cultured in the lab. The team used a range of computational methods to analyse samples from individuals worldwide. The results, published in the journal Nature, highlight that although researchers are possibly getting closer to creating a comprehensive list of the commonly found microbes in the North American and European gut, there is a significant lack of data from other regions of the world.
Hinxton, 4 February 2019 The web meets genomics: a DNA search engine for microbes Researchers at EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) have combined their knowledge of bacterial genetics and web search algorithms to build a DNA search engine for microbial data. The search engine, described in a paper published in Nature Biotechnology, could enable researchers and public health agencies to use genome sequencing data to monitor the spread of antibiotic resistance genes. By making this vast amount of data discoverable, the search engine could also allow researchers to learn more about bacteria and viruses.
Hinxton, 24 January 2019 Facilitating transcontinental human data exchange Registered researchers will be able to analyse population-scale genomic and biomolecular data with the launch of the Common Infrastructure for National Cohorts in Europe, Canada and Africa (CINECA). The international project is led by EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). Data from 1.4 million individuals will be accessible to approved researchers around the world through CINECA’s federated cloud-based network.
Barcelona, 19 December 2018 Growing bio-inspired shapes with hundreds of tiny robots Hundreds of small robots can work in a team to create biology-inspired shapes – without an underlying master plan, purely based on local communication and movement. To achieve this, researchers from EMBL Barcelona, CRG and Bristol Robotics Laboratory introduced the biological principles of self-organisation to swarm robotics. Science Robotics publishes the results on 19 December.
Rome, 17 December 2018 Using light to stop itch Itch is easily one of the most annoying sensations. For chronic skin diseases like eczema, it’s a major symptom. Although it gives temporary relief, scratching only makes things worse because it can cause skin damage, additional inflammation and even more itch. Paul Heppenstall, Linda Nocchi, and colleagues from EMBL Rome have now found a way to stop itch with light in mice. Their results were published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.
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