Heidelberg, 14 February 2019 Role reversal: RNA controls protein function Ribonucleic acids (RNAs) perform many important roles within cells, mainly ensuring that proteins are made in the right quantities at the right times. Usually, the fate of an RNA is controlled by RNA-binding proteins. However, EMBL scientists in the Hentze group have uncovered a new dimension to RNA-protein relationships. Their research, published in the journal Cell, provides a counter-example in which the RNA controls the fate of the protein instead. The authors call this principle ‘riboregulation’.
General, 6 February 2019 Witamy, Polsko! On 5 February, EMBL welcomed Poland as its newest member state. Poland is now a fully integrated member of the EMBL community, which is at the forefront of life science research in Europe. Poland became an EMBL prospect member state in October 2014. Since then, EMBL and Poland have worked together to create a fertile environment for collaborative research projects and the exchange of people and ideas. Poland’s full accession to EMBL has now been ratified by the Polish parliament, opening the door to even closer ties in future.
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.
Heidelberg, 4 February 2019 New method to study gene expression in yeast cells A group of scientists, including EMBL’s Lars Steinmetz, have developed an inexpensive yeast single-cell RNA sequencing (yscRNA-seq) method that is sensitive enough to explore the architecture of RNA transcription in individual yeast cells.
Hamburg, 4 February 2019 Structure of prodrug-transporter complex revealed Research groups lead by CSSB/EMBL scientists Christian Löw and Jan Kosinski are now a step closer to understanding the structures of peptide transporters and how they recognise, bind and transport prodrugs. The groups recently determined a high-resolution crystal structure of a peptide transporter in complex with the prodrug valganciclovir: a medication that combats certain viral infections. Their results, published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, could assist in the design of prodrugs with improved absorption rates.
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.
Hinxton, 23 January 2019 New Open Targets Director appointed Open Targets has appointed Ian Dunham as its new Director. Dunham will focus on delivering the Open Targets’ research programme to exploit advances in genetics for drug target identification. He also aims to increase the use of new approaches to the programme, including single-cell sequencing, CRISPR and artificial intelligence. Open Targets, launched in 2014, is the public-private partnership between EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), the Wellcome Sanger Institute, GSK, Biogen, Takeda, Celgene and Sanofi. The initiative aims to transform drug discovery through the systematic identification and prioritisation of targets.
General, 17 January 2019 Miltenyi Biotec joins EMBL’s Corporate Partnership Programme EMBL and Miltenyi Biotec, a global provider of products and services that advance biomedical research and cellular therapy from basic and translational research to clinical application, have teamed up in the EMBL Advanced Training Centre Corporate Partnership Programme to advance research in the life sciences.
General, 1 January 2019 Edith Heard starts as Director General of EMBL To start the year, EMBL welcomes Edith Heard as its new Director General. Heard was unanimously elected by the EMBL Council and becomes the fifth Director General in EMBL’s 45-year history. She succeeds Iain Mattaj who has stepped down after 14 years in the role. Heard takes up the position after eight years as the Director of the Genetics and Developmental Biology Unit at the Institut Curie in Paris, France.