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Heidelberg, 28 April 2016 Poo transplants better understood For the first time, scientists studying stool transplants have been able to track which strains of bacteria from a donor take hold in a patient’s gut after a transplant. The team, led by EMBL with collaborators at Wageningen University and the Academic Medical Centre, both in the Netherlands, and the University of Helsinki, Finland found that compatibility between donor and patient likely plays a bigger role in these transplants than previously thought. The study, published today in Science, could help make stool transplants a valid treatment option for more conditions than they are currently applied to.
Heidelberg, 14 April 2016 EMBL scientists reveal structure of nuclear pore’s inner ring It was a 3D puzzle with over 1000 pieces, with only a rather fuzzy outline as a guide. But scientists in the Beck group at EMBL have now put enough pieces in place to see the big picture. In a study published today in Science, they present their latest findings, bringing the nuclear pore complex into focus.
Heidelberg, 30 March 2016 Designing gene therapy Scientists at EMBL have increased the efficiency of a gene-editing tool called Sleeping Beauty, which is showing promise in clinical trials for leukaemia and lymphoma immunotherapies. They made the improvement by determining the 3-dimensional structure of the molecule’s active domain, and using that information to design better versions of this tool. Published today in Nature Communications, the study is likely to lead to further enhancements, ultimately resulting in better patient outcomes.
Heidelberg, 21 March 2016 Mothers and daughters EMBL scientists have observed how an egg cell gets rid of its centrioles – structures that play a crucial role in cell division – to ensure the proper development of the embryo. The study, published today in Journal of Cell Biology, is the first time the whole process has been seen in its entirety, in real time.
Monterotondo, 18 March 2016 Forgetting to learn They say that once you’ve learned to ride a bicycle, you never forget how to do it. But new research suggests that while learning, the brain is actively trying to forget. The study, by the Gross group at EMBL and colleagues at the University Pablo Olavide in Sevilla, Spain, is published today in Nature Communications.
Heidelberg, 16 February 2016 Picture Release | Forever young This ‘before and after’ image could be thought of as stem cells’ equivalent of an advert for anti-wrinkle cream: ‘look how cells stay young!’ It shows that a molecule called microRNA-142 allows stem cells to remain unchanged, instead of growing into specialised cell types. Given the right conditions, stem cells with low levels of microRNA-142 (green, left) grow into neurons (pink, right). But stem cells with high levels of the molecule (red, left) remain unchanged (blue, right), scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have found.
Heidelberg, 14 December 2015 Turning point of a lifetime For the first time, scientists can observe the first two to three days of a mouse embryo’s life, as it develops from a fertilised egg up to the stage when it would implant in its mother’s uterus, thanks to a new light sheet microscope developed at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany.
Heidelberg, 2 December 2015 Drugging bacteria Metformin, the drug most often used to treat type 2 diabetes, has a greater effect on gut microbes than the disease itself. The finding, by scientists at EMBL and colleagues, has implications for studies searching for links between our microbiomes and disease. Published today in Nature, the study points to new approaches for understanding how metformin works, and minimising the side effects of a drug that patients take in high doses for many years.
Heidelberg, 19 November 2015 Shaping contraction Researchers at EMBL Heidelberg have identified a particular group of cells which are crucial for tissue in a fruit fly embryo to fold inwards to form the animal’s gut. They also showed for the first time that the shape in which cells are arranged determines the direction in which they contract. Published today in Developmental Cell, the findings were obtained thanks to a new technique which employs a laser as a remote control.
Heidelberg, 14 October 2015 Lighting the way A microscopy technique is poised to shine new light on biological questions: as sheets of light can scan everything from developing embryos to single cells or functioning brains, a technique called light-sheet microscopy is gaining traction. It enables scientists to observe living cells in three dimensions, for extended periods of time. Now Luxendo, a start-up company launched by EMBL and its technology transfer arm EMBLEM and funded by the EMBL Technology Fund II and Life Science Partners (LSP) will bring these cutting-edge microscopes to users across the globe.
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