Heidelberg, 19 November 2018 Molecular and behavioural consequences of SETD5 mutation About 1% of patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability have a mutation in a gene called SETD5. In a study led by Kyung-Min Noh, group leader at EMBL, and Gaia Novarino, Professor at IST Austria, scientists describe what happens on a molecular level when the gene is mutated in cell cultures and in mice, and how this changes the chromatin environment and the mice’s behaviour, respectively. This is an important step towards understanding how mutations in the SETD5 gene may cause cognitive changes in affected patients.
Heidelberg, Hinxton, 16 November 2018 An in silico hope for biology: machine learning “I’m excited by the problems EMBL biologists want me to help them solve using image analysis!” exclaims Anna Kreshuk with a smile. Kreshuk is one of many researchers across EMBL’s sites who use machine learning to solve problems in biology. Just months after starting as a group leader at EMBL, she has a growing list of collaborators who want to use her methods to automatically extract information from microscopy images. After a degree in mathematics, Kreshuk worked for three years at CERN as a scientific programmer before pursuing a PhD in machine learning. Since the completion of her PhD in 2012, the field of machine learning has exploded.
Heidelberg, 15 November 2018 Controlling organ growth with light In optogenetics, researchers use light to control protein activity. This technique allows them to alter the shape of embryonic tissue and to inhibit the development of abnormalities. Now, scientists in EMBL’s De Renzis group have enhanced the technique to stop organ-shaping processes in fruit fly embryos. Their results, published in The EMBO Journal, allow control over a crucial step in embryonic development.
General, 10 November 2018 In the flesh: translating 2D scans into 3D prints Niall Haslam, EMBL alumnus and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at axial3D, is translating 2D hospital scans into 3D prints, giving both clinicians and patients the chance to see, hold and truly understand what is going on underneath the skin.
Hinxton, 8 November 2018 Genomes of all known UK species to be sequenced The genetic code of 66,000 UK species will be sequenced by the Wellcome Sanger Institute in a major collaboration with EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and other partner organisations as part of a global effort to sequence all 1.5 million known species of animal, plant, protozoa and fungi on Earth. The UK project, known as the Darwin Tree of Life Project, launched 1 November alongside the global effort, the Earth BioGenome Project. The Earth BioGenome Project will ultimately create a new foundation for biology to drive solutions for preserving biodiversity and sustaining human societies.
Hamburg, Heidelberg, 7 November 2018 New insights into the regulation of haemostasis EMBL researchers in Hamburg and Heidelberg and their collaborators have studied a key protein involved in haemostasis, known as the von Willebrand factor (VWF). In a paper published in Blood, they report the structure of a key region of VWF known as the C4 domain. In a second paper, also published in Blood, a group from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) in collaboration with the Hamburg group reports on a clinically relevant mutation in the C4 domain. Matthias Wilmanns, group leader at EMBL Hamburg, and Janosch Hennig, group leader at EMBL Heidelberg, teamed up for a collaboration between two EMBL units with a focus on structural biology.
Hamburg, 31 October 2018 Time-resolved X-ray crystallography simplified An international collaboration has developed a new method to observe the molecular foundations of biology, with the help of beamline P14 at EMBL Hamburg. The new ‘hit-and-return’ method simplifies and accelerates time-resolved X-ray crystallography experiments, allowing many snapshots to be recorded in a single experimental session.
Heidelberg, 31 October 2018 A worm’s sense of the world We sense the world around us using primarily our eyes, ears and nose. Marine worms, on the other hand, have long been thought to understand the world very differently – primarily by detecting chemicals in the ocean water that surrounds them – although this has not been investigated in detail. Now, researchers in the Arendt group have recorded nerve cell activity in the head of marine worms. The worm’s small size and transparency, means that all of the nerves and neurons within the head can be imaged at once.
General, 30 October 2018 Sanofi joins Open Targets Public-private collaboration Open Targets announced today that Sanofi has joined its pioneering public-private collaboration to transform drug discovery by improving the success rate for developing new medicines. Sanofi’s expertise in immunology, oncology, neurosciences and diabetes will complement the offerings of the current partners GSK, Biogen, Takeda, Celgene, the Wellcome Sanger Institute and EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI).
Barcelona, 29 October 2018 ¡Hola, Barcelona! At EMBL Barcelona, biologists, physicists and computer scientists work together to understand and simulate the multi-scale connections between genes, cells and tissues. On 15 October, EMBL Barcelona hosted its Inauguration Symposium to officially introduce itself to the city. At this event, journalists, politicians and scientists got the chance to peek inside EMBL Barcelona’s new lab spaces and meet the researchers.