Heidelberg, 15 March 2018 Potential new way to limit antibiotic resistance spreading One of the biggest current threats to global health is the rise of multi-drug resistant bacteria, caused by the spreading of antibiotic resistance amongst them. In an attempt to help fight this threat, EMBL researchers Anna Rubio-Cosials, Orsolya Barabas, and colleagues have unraveled the molecular basis of a major antibiotic resistance transfer mechanism. They also developed molecules and a proof-of-principle for blocking this transfer. Cell publishes their results on March 15.
Heidelberg, 14 March 2018 Chromatin usage in individual cells reveals developmental trajectories Both cell type and developmental stage can be deduced from chromatin accessibility measurements in thousands of single cells, researchers from the Furlong group at EMBL and the University of Washington show. They used this approach to uncover how cells in developing embryos regulate their identity as they decide what kind of cell to become. Nature publishes the results on March 14.
Heidelberg, 13 March 2018 The future of Training (3) 2017 marked the 40th anniversary of EMBL’s course and conference programme and ten years of training at EMBL-EBI. The final part of the mini-series keeps on exploring how EMBL training experts believe scientific training will evolve in the future.
Heidelberg, 12 March 2018 Science in a suitcase A fluorescence microscope can be like a magic box. If you twiddle the buttons just right, you can get informative and beautiful images. Yet understanding how one works is easier to grasp if you can build one. This is what students at the Internationale Gesamtschule Heidelberg (IGH) did, as part of the microscopy project, “From Nature to Technology – Microscopes in Action”, organised by EMBL’s teacher training programme, ELLS, and the Prevedel group. Students aged 15-16 years, built fluorescence microscopes from parts packaged within a portable kit and imaged biological specimens. On the 5th of March, Robert Prevedel, group leader at EMBL Heidelberg, spoke at IGH and answered questions from students.
Hamburg, 8 March 2018 Axon guidance and bundling are linked Rob Meijers’ lab at EMBL Hamburg found that axon guidance is more complicated than was thought. During spinal cord development, neurons have to project axons across the midline, to coordinate movements between the left and right sides of the body. Working with collaborators at Peking University, Meijers discovered how a molecule that guides axons towards the midline (Netrin-1) works together with another that drives axons to gather into bundles (Draxin). In a study published in Neuron, they determined the 3D structure of Draxin alone, bound to part of Netrin-1, and bound to the receptor that the axon uses to detect both guidance cues, and found that Netrin-1 and Draxin can link up to form a bridge between axons.
Hinxton, 7 March 2018 The genetic risk factors for depression Researchers at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and the Wellcome Sanger Institute have found that the genetic contribution to depression may differ between people who have experienced serious adversities in their life and those who haven’t. Results from this genome-wide association study show that by removing people who have experienced major adversities from a cohort, researchers can get a clearer view of the molecular mechanisms associated with depression.
Heidelberg, 5 March 2018 A chance to make scientists’ voices heard In the context of a roundtable discussion between life scientists and the ERC Scientific Council, EMBO Director and EMBL group leader Maria Leptin reflects on the importance of providing feedback to create a European research environment that serves the needs of the community.
Heidelberg, 5 March 2018 ERC Scientific Council meets in Heidelberg More than 20 ERC Council members joined ERC President, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, for a three-day meeting held on EMBL’s Heidelberg campus to discuss topics of strategic importance for the funding body. As part of the meeting, Council members had an opportunity to mingle with local scientific leaders and ERC grantees from Southern Germany at a formal dinner at the Prinz Carl Palais in Heidelberg. An open workshop stimulated exchange between ERC representatives and the local life-science community on the opportunities and challenges of applying for and obtaining an ERC grant in the life sciences.
Heidelberg, 4 March 2018 Kendrew and Philipson Awards Winners 2018 From Big Data to viral enzymes, EMBL alumni are tackling questions across the full range of science disciplines. This year’s alumni awards celebrate this diversity by showcasing the work of Nils Gehlenborg, winner of the 2018 John Kendrew Young Scientist Award, and Raffaele De Francesco, winner of the 2018 Lennart Philipson Award.