Heidelberg, 23 May 2018 Exploring genetic variation EMBL group leader Jan Korbel reflects on his origins as a scientist and his current research into how our DNA rearranges – a process that has implications for ageing and diseases including cancer. In recognition of his work in cancer research, Korbel will receive the Pezcoller Foundation-EACR Cancer Researcher Award, which is presented every two years to a researcher who has made important contributions to the field of cancer research.
Heidelberg, 14 May 2018 Obituary: Elisa Izaurralde It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of EMBL alumna Elisa Izaurralde. She died on April 30, at the age of 58, after a battle with cancer. Elisa worked in the EMBL Gene Expression Unit (now Genome Biology Unit) for a total of 13 years between 1990 and 2006.
General, 11 May 2018 Iain Mattaj elected NAS foreign associate In a ceremony held on 28 April in Washington, DC, EMBL’s Director General, Iain Mattaj, was inducted as a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Mattaj received this distinction – regarded as one of the highest honours in science – for his notable, varied, and continuing achievements, particularly his recent work demonstrating the critical role of the Ran GTPase protein in regulating cell division.
Heidelberg, 10 May 2018 New risk factors for rare childhood cancer A research team led by EMBL scientists from the Korbel group has found that five percent of children with a rare brain tumour called medulloblastoma develop the disease due to genetic risk factors. The genes involved can also be used to identify patients at high risk for additional cancers later in life. The Lancet Oncology publishes the findings on May 9.
Heidelberg, 9 May 2018 Ocean origins For Archimedes, the eureka moment came as he took a bath. For EMBL alumna Èlia Benito-Gutiérrez, the bath was a little bigger: she was on a boat in the Indian Ocean. Under the burning midday sun, Benito-Gutiérrez focused her portable microscope on the bizarre-looking creature again. From the asymmetrical egg pouch, the striped spine-like structure running like a stack of coins along its length, and the ever-intriguing mouth tentacles, it seemed that she had discovered the mythical Epigonichthys. Lost for more than 100 years, this elusive animal has still not been formally described. Yet its rediscovery is proving vital for evolutionary biology research and has made a major impact on Benito-Gutiérrez’s academic career.
Hinxton, 8 May 2018 20 years of building teams and sites After beginning his career at EMBL Heidelberg as the Internal Auditor, Mark went on to become the first Head of Administration at EMBL-EBI. We catch a glimpse of the personal highlights that defined Mark’s 20-year journey at EMBL as he retires to enjoy the next phase of his life.
Heidelberg, 7 May 2018 CRISPR: from clipping scissors to word processor In work that will help to make the gene editing process more precise, EMBL scientists, together with researchers at Stanford University, the Joint Institute of Metrology and Biology (JIMB), Texas A&M University, and Brandeis University, have developed a new kind of CRISPR platform called MAGESTIC. MAGESTIC makes CRISPR less like a blunt cutting tool and more like a word processor by enabling an efficient ‘search and replace’ function for genetic material. Nature Biotechnology publishes the results on 7 May 2018.
Hinxton, 3 May 2018 New insights into the origins of cancer Researchers at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), the University of Dundee and the Wellcome Sanger Institute have used human and worm data to explore the mutational causes of cancer. Their study, published today in Genome Research, also shows that results from controlled experiments on a model organism – the nematode worm C. elegans – are relevant to humans, helping researchers refine what they know about cancer.