Heidelberg, 9 March 2017 Cell division offers hope in fighting antibiotic resistance Growing levels of antibiotic resistance pose a serious threat to global public health and scientists are racing to find novel ways to tackle bacterial infections. A recent study by Orsolya Barabas' lab, on how bacteria untangle their chromosomes during division, offers hope for developing new antibacterial treatments. Most bacteria have a protein that cuts any DNA tangled during cell division and sticks it back together as two distinct daughter chromosomes. In a study published in eLife, the EMBL scientists discovered that this protein doesn’t start cutting as soon as it binds to DNA. First, another protein has to activate it by changing its shape. This means one could look at designing drugs to interfere with that activation process.
Hinxton, 8 March 2017 Women in science: Glass half full? The Wellcome Genome Campus 2017 Sex in Science programme kicked off with a talk by Ottoline Leyser, Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory and Professor of Plant Development at the University of Cambridge. Frustrated by what she saw as pessimistic attitudes to those who have children during their science careers, Leyser collated a collection of inspiring short stories called Mothers in Science – 64 Ways to Have it All. And her key messages to the audience echoed this sentiment.
Hinxton, 6 March 2017 Fresh insight into how immune cells fight malaria The immune system is extremely complex. It responds to disease by developing many specific types of immune cells – some that fight and some that observe and remember. A joint study by the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Australia, reveals for the first time how immature immune ‘T’ cells in mice choose which skill they will develop to fight malaria infection.
Heidelberg, 6 March 2017 Unlocking the secrets of nuclear movements EMBL’s François Nédélec believes computer modelling can play a key role in making sense of large amounts of biological data. A new study published in Molecular Biology of the Cell shows the power of this approach. Based on the analysis of raw data collected by many different researchers, Nédélec’s group constructed a computer model of the simple fungus Ashbya gossypii, which has cells containing many nuclei.
General, 6 March 2017 Pathways: Life science investment “I came out of the lab and all of a sudden I was responsible for business development,” says Joep Muijrers. Muijrers is a former PhD student at EMBL’s Heidelberg site and now an investor in life science companies. “You find yourself in the middle of it and you learn as you go.” Jumping into a situation and teaching yourself what you need is something that many scientists will be familiar with. It’s easy to think of science and business as separate worlds, but Muijrers points to many skills that are common to both.
Heidelberg, 2 March 2017 Metabolism matters Life requires energy. The strategy a cell uses to obtain that energy can influence not only how fast it multiplies but also a variety of other processes, like which of its genes are turned on. This process – called metabolism – is challenging to track in time and space, so it has not been studied much in developing embryos. Alexander Aulehla shares how, in work published this week in Developmental Cell, his lab is starting to fill that gap.
General, 28 February 2017 SESAME: a light in the desert In the desert 30 km northwest of Jordan’s capital Amman, a sparkling new light source will soon open for business. SESAME – the Middle East’s first synchrotron – will enable researchers from across the region to explore the structural and chemical makeup of everything from metals to biological tissue. The first electrons were sent flying around the 133-metre ring in January and after 20 years of lobbying, training and construction work, SESAME is now gearing up to do great science. EMBL alumna Zehra Sayers, a biophysicist who chairs SESAME’s Scientific Advisory Committee has been a key driver of SESAME’s development.
General, 23 February 2017 Building bioinformatics capacity in Africa Africa exceeds every continent on Earth in genetic diversity. Many African nations need to build a critical mass of people with the science and technology skills to study this diversity comprehensively – and EMBL alumna Nicola Mulder is on the case. As Head of the computational group at the University of Cape Town, Mulder has driven the development of H3ABioNet: a pan-African bioinformatics network that aims to build capacity for genomics research, and to train the next generation of computational biologists.
General, 22 February 2017 Building labs with flies Isabel Palacios studies fruit flies. Not because she has any particular interest in flies themselves, but because they help her answer fundamental questions about animal development. But that’s not the only ambition she has for her flies. As a founder of the DrosAfrica project, she believes the fruit fly, Drosophila, can play an important role in developing the research infrastructure of an entire continent, helping African scientists undertake high-impact projects and form collaborations around the world.
Heidelberg, 16 February 2017 Sartorius joins EMBL’s Corporate Partnership Programme EMBL has strengthened its links with enterprise by welcoming Sartorius to the EMBL Advanced Training Centre (ATC) Corporate Partnership Programme. Sartorius is a leading international pharmaceutical and laboratory equipment provider with two divisions: bioprocess solutions and laboratory products and services.