Rome, 18 March 2019 Welcome: Santiago Rompani Santiago Rompani’s group at EMBL Rome studies the function of visual circuits in the thalamus – a part of the brain involved in relaying sensory signals from our outermost sensory organs like eyes and ears to other brain regions for processing. They investigate how the thalamus takes visual information and converts it to more sophisticated information that can be used to shape behaviour.
Heidelberg, 14 March 2019 Advancing science and new perspectives This year’s Annual Reception focused on the topic of change. Matthias Hentze reviewed EMBL’s scientific highlights of the past year and how these changed our current understanding. To highlight progress in medicine and molecular biology in particular, Lars Steinmetz explained in his Friends of EMBL lecture how modern technologies and research aim to prevent disease. But the changes at EMBL have not been only scientific. At the beginning of the year, Edith Heard took up the position of Director General. At the Annual Reception, she introduced herself and presented inspiring ideas for EMBL’s future.
Heidelberg, 11 March 2019 ATP affects proteome wide solubility A collaboration between EMBL Heidelberg's Savitski team and GSK’s Cellzome has developed a new technology to study how the concentration of a molecule affects the solubility of individual proteins on a proteome-wide scale. In their paper, published in Nature Communications, Sindhuja Sridharan, Nils Kurzawa and colleagues used Solubility Proteome Profiling (SPP) to show that adenosine triphosphate (ATP) affects the solubility of at least 25% of the solubility-transitioning proteins in mammalian cells.
Grenoble, 8 March 2019 Welcome: Sagar Bhogaraju With a diverse research background in biochemistry and structural biology, new EMBL group leader Sagar Bhogaraju is on a mission to gain a molecular understanding of a family of proteins known as melanoma antigens. These proteins are expressed by certain tumours, and can trigger an immune response.
Heidelberg, 26 February 2019 Many gut microbes may originate in the mouth Scientists from EMBL’s Bork group, in collaboration with the Zeller team and the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine, have identified many shared microbial strains in saliva and stool samples from several hundred people across three continents. Their research, published in eLife, shows that the barrier between oral and gut microbiomes is weaker than expected and highlights evidence of oral-gut transmission of several microbes thought to play direct roles in the progression of colorectal cancer.
General, 21 February 2019 2019 alumni awards EMBL alumni are driving scientific investigation and discovery across a broad spectrum of research areas, and this is reflected and celebrated in the annual alumni awards. Patrick Baeuerle receives the 2019 Lennart Philipson Award for his pivotal role in the development of immunotherapy drugs to treat cancer, and the John Kendrew Award goes to Tanmay Bharat for novel applications of cryo-electron tomography in visualising the molecular structures of bacterial communities.
Hamburg, 18 February 2019 Cell death trigger in tuberculosis bacteria Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top ten causes of death worldwide. 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. A research team co-led by the Wilmanns group at EMBL in Hamburg investigated this promising feature for therapeutic targets, and now shares the first high-resolution details of the system in Molecular Cell.
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.