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16 November 2022 Female scientist photographed against a grey background

From academia to industry and back

EMBLetc Sara A. Courtneidge, recipient of the 2022 Lennart Philipson Award, reflects on the fundamental and translational research aspects of her career in cancer research

2022

21 October 2022 Ensembl logo in white circle on blue and green background

Ensembl 108 has been released

Updates from data resources We are pleased to announce the release of Ensembl 108, and the corresponding release of Ensembl Genomes 55 featuring changes in the human default tracks, new genomes in Ensembl Plants and Ensembl Metazoa, and the addition of mitochondrial annotation for Tasmanian devil. Genome assemblies and…

2022

updates-from-data-resources

23 February 2022 A photo of the campus of the Aarhus University buildings and green lawn.

Molecular medicine across borders

Lab Matters The 11th annual Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine meeting was hosted in virtual format by DANDRITE, the Danish node of the Partnership, from 31 January–2 February 2022. The programme included updates from all partnership nodes, discussions about opportunities for new collaborations,…

2022

lab-matters

20 December 2021 A detailed structure map shows two proteins interacting in the foreground, each shown in a different colour. The background shows small green dots marking bacteria

Solving molecular puzzles to find the perfect fit

Science Using cryo-EM and structural biology techniques, EMBL researchers have shown how two proteins of Legionella pneumophila interact. This finding sheds light on a mechanism critical to the infection process and could lead to the development of new drugs to treat pneumonia.

2021

science

8 September 2021 Illustration of two halves of a pill, which releases chemical molecules that are taken up by gut bacteria in the vicinity.

Common medications accumulate in gut bacteria

Science A new collaborative study led by EMBL group leaders Kiran Patil, Nassos Typas, and Peer Bork has found that common medications accumulate in human gut bacteria. This process reduces drug effectiveness and affects the metabolism of common gut microbes, thereby altering the gut microbiome.

2021

science

3 August 2021 illustration of health care providers around a big heart

All heart

Alumni A community of scientists is looking at the estimated three billion heart muscle cells in a human heart to better understand heart disease.

2021

alumni

13 July 2021 From right to left, Ilaria Piazza and Ken Holmes’ portraits are side by side in circles on a greenish background

EMBL Alumni Awards 2021

Alumni EMBL alumni Ilaria Piazza and Ken Holmes have been recognised for their outstanding contributions, and will receive their awards as part of the celebrations for EMBL World Alumni Day.

2021

alumni

4 June 2021 Man in white shirt and blue jeans standing on a terrace in front of trees, facing the camera.

The power of community

Lab Matters EMBL Director Matthias Hentze describes the Environmental Research Initiative: a community effort to solve global environmental challenges.

2021

lab-matters

4 March 2021 An illustration of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq)

Induced pluripotent stem cells reveal causes of disease

Science Scientists in the Stegle group and colleagues have studied induced pluripotent stem cells from around 1,000 donors to identify correlations between individual genetic variants and altered gene expression. They linked more than 4,000 of the genetic variants responsible for altered expression…

2021

science

18 December 2018

Design thinking

Lab Matters EMBL’s Design Team Lead on translating scientific discoveries into visual designs

2018

lab-matters

28 November 2018 EIPOD postdocs work together as part of the Corporate Summer School.

Science in industry

Events EMBL postdocs discover industry-led research opportunities at the Corporate Summer School

2018

events

27 June 2018 PHOTO: Photolab/EMBL

Powering up

Alumni Alumni share how joining EMBL’s IT team was a career upgrade

2018

alumni

22 March 2018

LifeTime – a visionary proposal for an EU Flagship

Lab Matters Following the completion of the Human Genome Project  in 2001, scientists and the media described the genome as “the book of life”, holding the answers to the way genes are linked to disease. Yet, seventeen years later, we are still deciphering how cells interpret this book. Since…

2018

lab-matters

28 February 2018

Origins at EMBL

Science Join us in our new editorial theme as we ask how everything began

2018

science

20 November 2017

#EMBLcurious

Lab Matters Six curious questions and the EMBL community's answers. Check back each week for the next question

2017

lab-matters

13 June 2017

Senses: Fathoming fear

Science EMBL’s Cornelius Gross wants to understand fear responses and the brain circuitry that governs them

2017

science

11 February 2016 The 3D structure shows how two transcription factors influence one another’s binding to a specific stretch of DNA – an interaction that is crucial for a heart to develop healthily. IMAGE: EMBL/C.Müller

True Love

Science How transcription factors interact to create a heart

2016

science

14 October 2015

Lighting the way

Lab Matters 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…

2015

lab-matters

5 October 2015

Nobel connections

Lab Matters Amidst the excitement of Nobel Week, behind the scenes of the annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.

2015

lab-matters

24 August 2015

Celebrating excellence

Alumni EMBL rewards the special work of alumni through the John Kendrew and Lennart Philipson awards.

2015

alumni

24 August 2015 Janet Thornton. Photo: Robert Slowley

Transitions

Lab Matters Janet Thornton reflects on her time as Director of one of Europe’s fastest growing research institutes.

2015

lab-matters

24 August 2015

An ocean odyssey

Science A journalist who spent six weeks aboard Tara reflects on the expedition’s extraordinary outcomes.

2015

science

9 July 2015 One from Many

One from Many

Lab Matters Database administrator's photo essay reflects internationality and personality of the Genome Campus.

2015

lab-matters

27 May 2015

ELIXIR accelerates

Lab Matters ELIXIR receives major Horizon 2020 funding to ‘EXCELERATE' activities over the next four years.

2015

lab-matters

29 April 2015

Inside industry: Part II

Alumni Alumni in senior positions in industry share career challenges, highlights and EMBL’s continuing role.

2015

alumni

26 January 2015 ILLUSTRATION: AAD GOUDAPPEL

Cell control in a flash

Science From using light to control brain activity to illuminating fruit fly development and mice’s sense of touch

2015

science

28 November 2014

MASSIF step forward

Science In two months, 2.3 million diffraction images collected on new, fully automated ESRF/EMBL beamline.

2014

science

3 November 2014

Witamy! EMBL welcomes Poland as prospect member state

Events In a Statement of Intent signed this month, Poland becomes a prospect member state of EMBL, and the new partners agree to explore possibilities for long-term cooperation, with a view to the country becoming a full member state within three years. “Poland has a strong and active life science…

2014

events

17 October 2014

A toast to EMBL

Events German Science Minister and other honoured guests celebrate 40 years of ‘Learning from life’.

2014

events

6 October 2014

Hungary joins EMBL as prospect member state

Events The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) welcomes Hungary as its newest prospect member state. In a Statement of Intent signed this month, Hungary and EMBL agree to explore possibilities for long-term cooperation, with a view to the country becoming a full member state within three years.…

2014

events

15 September 2014

Obituary: Stephen Fuller

Alumni Stephen Fuller, from 1981–2000 an EMBL postdoc, group leader then Head of Unit, died on 25 August.

2014

alumni

31 July 2014 Speakers, session chairs and special guests from Austria and abroad, with past and present links to EMBO and EMBL, unite at EMBanniversary celebration. PHOTO: CeMM

EMBanniversary AUSTRIA

Alumni Celebrating 50 years of EMBO, 40 years of EMBL and the success of molecular biology in Austria

2014

alumni

1 July 2014 Question mark

Q&A

Lab Matters Which scientific breakthroughs would EMBL scientists most like to see in the next 40 years?

2014

lab-matters

10 June 2014

Czech Republic becomes EMBL’s 21st member state

Events Forty years after its foundation, EMBL announces its 21st member state: the Czech Republic. Building on a successful bilateral relationship, the Czech Republic’s membership grants Czech scientists access to EMBL’s state-of-the-art instruments, facilities and world-class training…

2014

events

22 April 2014

Argentina joins EMBL as associate member state

Events At a signing ceremony today, Argentina joins the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) as an associate member state. The move strengthens the ties between the European and Latin American life science communities. It grants Argentinian scientists access to EMBL’s world-class facilities and…

2014

events

27 March 2014

Where do you start when developing a new medicine?

Lab Matters A pioneering public-private research initiative between GSK, the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is to harness the power of ‘big data’ and genome sequencing to improve the success rate for discovering new medicines. The new Centre for…

2014

lab-matters

7 March 2014

Slovak Republic becomes EMBL Prospect Member State

Events The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) welcomes the Slovak Republic as the first country to join its new Prospect Member scheme. In a Statement of Intent signed last month, the Slovak Republic and EMBL agree to explore the possibilities for long-term cooperation, with a view to the…

2014

events

24 February 2014

Pan-European imaging infrastructure gains momentum

Lab Matters Europe is uniting to make state-of-the-art imaging technologies accessible to biomedical researchers throughout the continent in a concerted manner. The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and seven countries (Belgium, Finland, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom)…

2014

lab-matters

2 February 2014

Making your brain social

Science In many people with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, different parts of the brain don’t talk to each other very well. Scientists have now identified, for the first time, a way in which this decreased functional connectivity can come about. In a study published online today…

2014

science

10 November 2013

What are you scared of?

Science What do bullies and sex have in common? Based on work by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy, it seems that the same part of the brain reacts to both. In a study published today in Nature Neuroscience, the researchers found that – at least in…

2013

science

23 October 2013

Bigger, better, faster

Science The molecular machine that makes essential components of ribosomes – the cell’s protein factories – is like a Swiss-army knife, researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, and the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas in Madrid, Spain, have found.…

2013

science

13 October 2013

Choreographed origami

Science An important step in building ribosomes – the cell’s protein factories – is like a strictly choreographed dance, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have discovered. To build these factories, other ‘machines’ inside the cell have to…

2013

science

25 September 2013

Without a trace

Science Migrating cells, it seems, cover their tracks not for fear of being followed, but to keep moving forward. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have now shown that cells in a zebrafish embryo determine which direction they move in by effectively…

2013

science

12 September 2013

Potential new drug target for cystic fibrosis

Science Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and Regensburg University, both in Germany, and the University of Lisboa, in Portugal, have discovered a promising potential drug target for cystic fibrosis. Their work, published online today in Cell, also uncovers a…

2013

science

11 August 2013

From fireman to arsonist

Science Like a fireman who becomes an arsonist, a protein that prevents cells becoming cancerous can also cause tumours, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble, France, have discovered. The finding, published today in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, stems…

2013

science

11 August 2013

PS: It’s not cholesterol

Science How our body processes cholesterol has a well-known impact on our health, but it turns out that another ‘fat molecule’ – or lipid – may be at the heart of some diseases which were thought to involve cholesterol. A group of proteins linked to conditions such as metabolic syndrome and some…

2013

science

7 August 2013

Cells eat themselves into shape

Science The process cells use to ‘swallow’ up nutrients, hormones and other signals from their environment – called endocytosis – can play a crucial role in shaping the cells themselves, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have found. The study,…

2013

science

11 July 2013

How to build your gate

Science It’s a parent’s nightmare: opening a Lego set and being faced with 500 pieces, but no instructions on how to assemble them into the majestic castle shown on the box. Thanks to a new approach by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany,…

2013

science

14 May 2013

But what does it do?

Science Although we know the tool’s general purpose, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if a specific pair of precision tweezers belongs to a surgeon or a master jeweller. It is now easier to solve similar conundrums about a type of protein that allows cells to react to their environment, thanks to…

2013

science

24 April 2013

Pushing the boundaries of transcription

Science Like musicians in an orchestra who have the same musical score but start and finish playing at different intervals, cells with the same genes start and finish transcribing them at different points in the genome. For the first time, researchers at EMBL have described the striking diversity of…

2013

science

27 March 2013

Become a member of Euro-BioImaging

Lab Matters Euro-BioImaging, the pan-European open access research infrastructure for biological and medical imaging technologies, invites leading European imaging facilities to submit proposals to participate. Applications to become a Euro-BioImaging node will be reviewed by a board of independent…

2013

lab-matters

11 March 2013

Havoc in biology’s most-used human cell line

Science HeLa cells are the world’s most commonly used human cell lines, and have served as a standard for understanding many fundamental biological processes. In a study published today in G3: Genes, Genomes and Genetics online, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in…

2013

science

5 March 2013

Denmark joins the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine

Lab Matters Today, the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine celebrates two important milestones: the renewal of the partnership agreement for an extended period of 10 years, and the expansion of the Nordic EMBL network with the official opening of the Danish Research Institute of Translational…

2013

lab-matters

28 February 2013

DNA’s twisted communication

Science During embryo development, genes are dynamically, and very precisely, switched on and off to confer different properties to different cells and build a well-proportioned and healthy animal. Fgf8 is one of the key genes in this process, controlling in particular the growth of the limbs and…

2013

science

28 February 2013

Zeroing in on heart disease

Science Studies screening the genome of hundreds of thousands of individuals (known as Genome-wide association studies or GWAS) have linked more than 100 regions in the genome to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the…

2013

science

11 February 2013

One disease, two mechanisms

Science While prostate cancer is the most common cancer in elderly Western men it also, but more rarely, strikes patients aged between 35 and 50. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, in collaboration with several other research teams in Germany*, have…

2013

science

4 February 2013

Learning from the linker

Science Mature cells can be reprogrammed to pluripotency and thus regain the ability to divide and differentiate into specialized cell types. Although these so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) represent a milestone in stem cell research, many of the biochemical processes that underlie…

2013

science

31 January 2013

The mutation police

Science Scientists at the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the UK have discovered how our genome keeps the effects of mutations in check. The discovery, published in the journal Cell, will help in the study of diseases such as cancer and…

2013

science

23 January 2013

EMBL-EBI researchers make DNA storage a reality

Science Researchers at the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) have created a way to store data in the form of DNA – a material that lasts for tens of thousands of years. The new method, published today in the journal Nature, makes it possible to store at least 100 million hours of…

2013

science

17 January 2013

The cell that isn’t

Science This may look like yet another video of a dividing cell, but there’s a catch. You are looking at chromosomes (red) being pulled apart by the mitotic spindle (green), but it’s not a cell, because there’s no cell membrane. Like a child sucking an egg out of its shell, Ivo Telley from the…

2013

science

6 January 2013

Protein production: going viral

Science A research team of scientists from EMBL Grenoble and the IGBMC in Strasbourg, France, have, for the first time, described in molecular detail the architecture of the central scaffold of TFIID: the human protein complex essential for transcription from DNA to mRNA. The study, published today…

2013

science

19 December 2012

Sync to grow

Science Gene expression wave in the lower part of the future vertebrae column of a mammalian embryo. As the wave goes forward, new pre-vertebrae are formed and the future vertebrae column elongates. (Image and video credit: Nature) In a nutshell: The size of pre-vertebrae in a mammalian embryo is…

2012

science

5 December 2012

My microbes

Science In a nutshell : The gut metagenome is the collection of all the genomes of all the microbes  in the human intestinal tract : it is specific to each human, like a second genetic signature At least in healthy humans, this personal metagenome is stable over time The gut metagenome is…

2012

science

31 October 2012

Spot the difference

Science In a nutshell: 1st map combining human genetic variation at different scales – from single letters to large chunks Based on genomes of 1092 healthy people from Europe, the Americas and East Asia Could help identify genetic causes of disease, rather than just links Data made freely available in…

2012

science

27 September 2012 Diagram showing looping DNA

Loop the loop, DNA style

Science In a nutshell: Looping and unlooping DNA adjusts readout from gene and spread of regulation throughout the genome When a gene forms a loop, its output increases, as the transcription machinery that reads it is trapped into moving only along that gene When the gene loop is undone, transcription…

2012

science

23 September 2012 Cartoon showing cell communication

Cellular eavesdropping made easy

Science In a nutshell: New method allows precise analysis of proteins released by cells over time (distinguishes them from proteins in the cells’ culture serum) Advantages: cells don’t have to be starved: avoids bias and allows more cell types to be studied; can follow fast reactions like immune…

2012

science

5 September 2012 ENCODE researchers found that most of our DNA has a function: controlling when and where genes are turned on and off.

Fast forward for biomedical research

Science Today, an international team of researchers reveal that much of what has been called ‘junk DNA’ in the human genome is actually a massive control panel with millions of switches regulating the activity of our genes. Without these switches, genes would not work – and mutations in these regions…

2012

science

3 August 2012

How the cell swallows

Science Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have combined the power of two kinds of microscope to produce a 3-dimensional movie of how cells ‘swallow’ nutrients and other molecules by engulfing them. The study, published today in Cell, is the…

2012

science

2 August 2012 Different inhibitors (yellow, grey) fill the cave-like active site of the cap-snatching protein (the endonuclease, in green) differently, even though they all bind to the active site’s two metal ions (magenta).

Catching the cap-snatcher

Science Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble, France, have determined the detailed 3-dimensional structure of part of the flu virus’ RNA polymerase, an enzyme that is crucial for influenza virus replication. This important finding is published today in PLoS…

2012

science

19 July 2012 The female (left) fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is larger than the male (right). Image credit: EMBL.

Of flies and men

Science What do you get when you dissect 10 000 fruit-fly larvae? A team of researchers led by the EMBL- European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) in the UK and the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics (MPI) in Germany has discovered a way in which cells can adjust the activity of many…

2012

science

12 July 2012

Italy pledges to be part of ELIXIR research infrastructure

Science Italy has pledged to participate in ELIXIR, a major undertaking to safeguard the results of life science research in Europe. With one of Europe’s larger economies now demonstrating its commitment to ELIXIR, this burgeoning research infrastructure is well placed to continue its excellent progress.…

2012

science

5 July 2012

Stop and go

Science A traffic policeman standing at a busy intersection directing the flow of vehicles may be a rare sight these days, but a similar scene appears to still frequently play out in our cells. A protein called Lem4 directs a crucial step of cell division by preventing the progress of one molecule while…

2012

science

21 June 2012

Flu fighters

Science Savira pharmaceuticals GmbH, a spin-off of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) based in Vienna, Austria, has signed a collaboration and license agreement with Roche, thus further strengthening the links between fundamental research and major pharmaceutical development companies. This…

2012

science

3 June 2012

Shape-shifting shell

Science As a retrovirus matures, the two parts of its shell protein (red and blue or yellow and blue) dramatically rearrange themselves, twisting and moving away from each other. (Credit: EMBL/T.Bharat) Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have for the…

2012

science

3 June 2012

Video Release: Filming life in the fast lane

Science “This video shows a fruit fly embryo from when it was about two-and-a-half hours old until it walked away from the microscope as a larva, 20 hours later,” says Lars Hufnagel, from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. “It shows all the hallmarks of fruit fly…

2012

science

3 June 2012 Silenced genes in a cell

Export extravaganza

Science Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have conducted the first comprehensive census of human cells’ export workers. In a study published online today in Nature Cell Biology, they found an unexpected variety of genes involved in transporting…

2012

science

31 May 2012 Word cloud of proteins

The cell’s ‘New World’

Science In one of the most famous faux pas of exploration, Columbus set sail for India and instead ‘discovered’ America. Similarly, when scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, set out to find enzymes – the proteins that carry out chemical…

2012

science

24 May 2012 Cell vesicles serve as transport pods to ferry cargo around the cell.

Picture Release: More than meets the eye

Picture of the week These spheres may look almost identical, but subtle differences between them revealed a molecular version of the robots from Transformers. Each sphere is a vesicle, a pod that cells use to transport materials between different compartments. The images, produced by Marco Faini from John…

2012

picture-of-the-week

24 May 2012 Microglial cells

Locating ground zero

Science Like emergency workers rushing to a disaster scene, cells called microglia speed to places where the brain has been injured, to contain the damage by ‘eating up’ any cellular debris and dead or dying neurons. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany,…

2012

science

20 March 2012 A slice through the tails of mouse sperm.

Picture release: Spring tails

Picture of the week As spring arrives, flowers seem to bloom everywhere – even under the microscopes at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. But the ‘flowers’ in this picture actually help an animal, not a plant, to pass on its genes. The image, which has been false-coloured…

2012

picture-of-the-week

18 March 2012

Need for speed

Science Like any law-abiding train passenger, a molecule called oskar RNA carries a stamped ticket detailing its destination and form of transport, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have found. They show that for this molecule, moving in the…

2012

science

1 March 2012

Flying high in Europe

Science Today a consortium of leading IT providers and three of Europe’s biggest research centres (CERN, EMBL and ESA) announced a partnership to launch a European cloud computing platform. ‘Helix Nebula ‐ the Science Cloud’, will support the massive IT requirements of European…

2012

science

28 February 2012

Making the most of what you have

Science The bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which causes atypical pneumonia, is helping scientists uncover how cells make the most of limited resources. By measuring all the proteins this bacterium produces, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, and…

2012

science

23 February 2012

New distributed research infrastructure for structural biology

Science Breakthroughs in biomedical science are a step closer today, with the launch of a new distributed research infrastructure for the science of structural biology: Instruct. The launch of Instruct will give academic and commercial scientists across Europe access to a full portfolio of integrated…

2012

science

19 February 2012 Diagram of the Elongator protein

Trapped in a ring

Science In fairy tales, magic rings endow their owners with special abilities: the ring makes the wearer invisible, fulfils his wishes, or otherwise helps the hero on the path to his destiny.  Similarly, a ring-like structure found in a protein complex called ‘Elongator’ has led researchers at the…

2012

science

14 February 2012

Stretching helices help keep muscles together

Science Myomesin stretching to 2.5 times its length. Credit: EMBL/Wilmanns. In this video, a protein called myomesin does its impression of Mr. Fantastic, the leader of the Fantastic Four of comic book fame, who performed incredible feats by stretching his body. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology…

2012

science

2 February 2012 Fruit fly embryo showing the cells that will become the gut and heart

Collective action

Science If you wanted to draw your family tree, you could start by searching for people who share your surname. Cells, of course, don’t have surnames, but scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have found that genetic switches called enhancers, and the…

2012

science

19 January 2012 Artist's impression of a chromosome exploding

Rigged to explode?

Science An inherited mutation in a gene known as the guardian of the genome is likely the link between exploding chromosomes and some particularly aggressive types of cancer, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) and the University…

2012

science

12 January 2012

Evolution by ‘copy-paste’

Science A team of geneticists and computational biologists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Cancer Research UK reveal how an ancient mechanism is involved in gene control and continues to drive genome…

2012

science

8 January 2012 Diagram of chromatin enhancers

Tracking genes’ remote controls

Science As an embryo develops, different genes are turned on in different cells, to form muscles, neurons and other bodily parts. Inside each cell’s nucleus, genetic sequences known as enhancers act like remote controls, switching genes on and off. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory…

2012

science

13 October 2011 In the absence of viral RNA (top), the part of RIG-I that senses viral RNA is exposed (orange), whilst the domains responsible for signalling (blue and pink) are out of reach of the signalling machinery. When RIG-I detects viral RNA, it changes shape (bottom), and the signalling domains become accessible to sound the alarm.

Intruder detected: raise the alarm!

Science When a thief breaks into a bank vault, sensors are activated and the alarm is raised. Cells have their own early-warning system for intruders, and scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble, France, have discovered how a particular protein sounds that alarm when it…

2011

science

18 August 2011 Circling chromosomes. Chromosomes (blue) form a ‘belt’ around the centre of the spindle (green), discovered by the EMBL scientists.

Fishing games gone wrong

Science When an egg cell is being formed, the cellular machinery which separates chromosomes is extremely imprecise at fishing them out of the cell’s interior, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have discovered. The unexpected degree of trial-and-error…

2011

science

7 August 2011 The new microscope that developed by scientists at EMBL, which can follow single molecules by the millisecond Credit: EMBL/H.Neves.

Live from the scene: biochemistry in action

Science Researchers can now watch molecules move in living cells, literally millisecond by millisecond, thanks to a new microscope developed by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. Published online today in Nature Biotechnology, the new technique provides…

2011

science

21 July 2011 Microglia (green) in a mouse brain. The nuclei of all cells in the brain are labelled blue. Credit: EMBL/ R.Paolicelli

Gardening in the brain

Science Gardeners know that some trees require regular pruning: some of their branches have to be cut so that others can grow stronger. The same is true of the developing brain: cells called microglia prune the connections between neurons, shaping how the brain is wired, scientists at the European…

2011

science

21 July 2011 Model of the inner ring (green) of the nuclear pore, showing its components.

A hot species for cool structures

Science A fungus that lives at extremely high temperatures could help understand structures within our own cells. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and Heidelberg University, both in Heidelberg, Germany, were the first to sequence and analyse the genome of a heat-loving fungus,…

2011

science

5 July 2011 Lennart Philipson, 1929-2011.

Obituary – Lennart Philipson

Lab Matters Lennart Philipson, who served as EMBL’s second Director General, has passed away. Lennart headed EMBL for over a decade between 1982-93, a crucial time for molecular biology when different scientific disciplines in the life sciences were becoming increasingly interlinked. He reorganised the…

2011

lab-matters

17 June 2011 Condensin loops around several strands of DNA, keeping it coiled up and easier to transport. (Artistic impression) Image credits: EMBL/ P. Riedinger

Keeping it together

Science As any rock-climber knows, trailing a long length of rope behind you is not easy. A dangling length of rope is unwieldy and hard to manoeuvre, and can get tangled up or stuck on an outcropping. Cells face the same problem when dragging chromosomes apart during cell division. The chromosomes are…

2011

science

20 April 2011 Artistic impression of the 3 human gut types.

What’s your gut type?

Science In the future, when you walk into a doctor’s surgery or hospital, you could be asked not just about your allergies and blood group, but also about your gut type. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, and collaborators in the international MetaHIT…

2011

science

20 March 2011

The informant: a jumping gene

Science Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have developed a new method for studying gene regulation, by employing a jumping gene as an informant. Published online today in Nature Genetics, the new method is called GROMIT. It enables researchers to…

2011

science

11 March 2011

Small code change, big effect

Science Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have developed a new method which enables researchers to label any protein of their choice with any of a wide variety of previously available compounds, in living cells, by introducing a single reactive…

2011

science

6 March 2011 By silencing genes two at a time in cells like these, the scientists can analyse the genes’ combined effects. In this microscopy image of human cells, nuclei are shown in red, cell membranes in green, and the cellular scaffolding in blue.

Suggesting genes’ friends, facebook-style

Science Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), both in Heidelberg, Germany, have developed a new method that uncovers the combined effects of genes. Published online today in Nature Methods, it helps understand how different genes can…

2011

science

4 March 2011 Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, and Iain Mattaj, Director-General of EMBL, signing the Memorandum of Understanding.

European Commission and EMBL renew cooperation

Lab Matters In a Memorandum of Understanding signed today, the European Commission (EC) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) formalise their desire to maintain and further develop their cooperation. “I am delighted to sign the renewed and strengthened Memorandum of Understanding between the…

2011

lab-matters

14 February 2011 3D structure of Mycobacterium tuberculosis’ enzyme PriA

Two in one

Science In a paper published online today in PNAS, scientists from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Hamburg, Germany, reveal new insights into the workings of enzymes from a group of bacteria including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. The new findings…

2011

science

3 February 2011

Blood-clotting protein linked to cancer and septicaemia

Science In our not-so-distant evolutionary past, stress often meant imminent danger, and the risk of blood loss, so part of our body’s stress response is to stock-pile blood-clotting factors. Scientists in the Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit (MMPU), a collaboration between the European Molecular…

2011

science

2 February 2011

The human genome’s breaking points

Science A detailed analysis of data from 185 human genomes sequenced in the course of the 1000 Genomes Project, by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, in collaboration with researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK, as well as the…

2011

science

23 January 2011 Micropilot detected cells at particular stages of cell division

Intelligent microscopy

Science The sight of a researcher sitting at a microscope for hours, painstakingly searching for the right cells, may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to new software created by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. Presented today in Nature Methods, the…

2011

science

12 December 2010 This cryo-electron microscopy image shows the 3D structure of the ribosome (yellow/blue) bound to the signal recognition particle (SRP) and the SRP receptor (both in red). Below it is an atomic model of SRP (green-yellow/orange) and its receptor (pink). Image credits: EMBL/Schaffitzel.

How cells export and embed proteins in the membrane

Science Like an overprotective parent on the first day of school, a targeting factor sometimes needs a little push to let go of its cargo. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble, France, have visualised one such hand-over. They were the first to determine the structure…

2010

science

2 December 2010 Euro-BioImaging will provide open access to state-of-the-art biological imaging techniques like fluorescence microscopy, which produced this snapshot of chromosomes (blue) being pulled apart in a dividing egg. Image credits: EMBL/ T. Kitajima

Better imaging from bench to bedside

Science From microscopy to computer tomography (CT) scans, imaging plays an important role in biological and biomedical research, but obtaining high-quality images often requires advanced technology and expertise, and can be costly. Euro-BioImaging, a project which launches its preparatory phase today,…

2010

science

16 November 2010

One-touch make-up – for our cells

Science The cells in the different parts of this video are always the same (grey), but, like actors using make-up to highlight different facial features, they have fluorescent labels that mark different cellular components in different colours: blue shows the nucleus, yellow shows tubulin (a component of…

2010

science

8 November 2010 Signing the declaration of accession to the EIROforum: Massimo Altarelli, Chairman of the XFEL Management Board (left) and Francesco Romanelli, Chairman of the EIROforum (right). In the back (left to right): Francesco Sette (ESRF), Felicitas Pauss (CERN), Iain Mattaj (EMBL), Richard Wagner (ILL), Rowena Sirey (ESO) and David Southwood (ESA)

European XFEL joins EIROforum

Lab Matters At the Autumn 2010Council meeting of the EIROforum, a partnership of seven European intergovernmental research organisations with large research infrastructures, the Directors General unanimously accepted the European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility (European XFEL), based in Hamburg, Germany, to…

2010

lab-matters

27 October 2010

1000 Genomes Project ushers in new era for human genetics

Science The 1000 Genomes Project, a major international collaboration to build a detailed map of human genetic variation, has completed its pilot phase. The results are now published in the journal Nature and freely available through the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics…

2010

science

2 September 2010 A virtual Platynereis brain (left), created by averaging microscopy images of the brains of 36 different individuals, onto which scientists mapped gene activity (right). Perspective shows the brain as viewed from inside a Platynereis larvae, at 48 hours' old. Image credits: EMBL/R. Tomer

Brainy worms: Evolution of the cerebral cortex

Science Our cerebral cortex, or pallium, is a big part of what makes us human: art, literature and science would not exist had this most fascinating part of our brain not emerged in some less intelligent ancestor in prehistoric times. But when did this occur and what were these ancestors? Unexpectedly,…

2010

science

25 August 2010

Freeze or run? Not that simple

Science Fear can make you run, it can make you fight, and it can glue you to the spot. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy and GlaxoSmithKline in Verona, Italy, have identified not only the part of the brain but the specific type of neurons that determine…

2010

science

5 August 2010

Constant overlap

Science During cell division, microtubules emanating from each of the spindle poles meet and overlap in the spindle’s midzone. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, have uncovered the molecular mechanism that determines the extent of this overlap. In a…

2010

science

3 August 2010 These electron microscopy images show mitochondria in a normal cell (top) and a close-up of a mitochondrion with structural defects, in a cell that cannot produce IRPs (bottom). Image credits: Bruno Galy/ EMBL

Supply and demand

Science Most organisms need iron to survive, but too much iron is toxic, and can cause fatal organ failure. The same is true inside cells, where iron balance must also be maintained. In a study published today in Cell Metabolism, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg,…

2010

science

4 July 2010 The Fly Digital Embryo at different developmental stages, with cell nuclei coloured according to how fast they were moving (from blue for the slowest to orange for the fastest). The fruit fly embryo is magnified around 250 times. IMAGE: Philipp Keller

Digital Embryo gains wings

Science The scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, who ‘fathered’ the Digital Embryo have now given it wings, creating the Fly Digital Embryo. In work published today in Nature Methods, they were able to capture fruit fly development on film, and were the…

2010

science

24 June 2010 These microscopy images show that a protein from the NSL complex (green) and MOF (red) both bind to all chromosomes in male (right) and female (left) fruit flies - overlap is shown in purple. On the male X chromosome, MOF binds not only to promoter regions but also to the body of the genes, generating a brighter signal (pink). Image credits: Akhtar/EMBL.

A life-changing partnership

Science Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, and the Max-Planck Institute of Immunobiology Freiburg have identified a novel protein complex that regulates around 4000 genes in the fruit fly Drosophila and likely plays an important role in mammals, too.…

2010

science

31 May 2010 This microscopy image shows that, in a mouse embryo, MiR451 (dark purple) is produced only in the liver, where red blood cells are being formed at this developmental stage. Image credits: Kasper Rasmussen/EMBL

Making enough red blood cells

Science Red blood cells, the delivery men that take oxygen to cells all around the body, have short lives. To keep enough of them in circulation, the human body produces around 2 million of these cells every second – even more in response to challenges like severe blood loss. In a study published today…

2010

science

2 May 2010 These microscopy images show the region of the embryo larva that will develop into the adult fruit fly’s wing. In cells genetically manipulated so that PR-DUB cannot remove the gene-silencing tag (left), a gene which would normally be silenced becomes turned on (red) - a situation which is corrected when PR-DUB’s activity is restored (right). Image credits: J.Mueller/EMBL.

Tags on, tags off

Science During embryonic development, proteins called Polycomb group complexes turn genes off when and where their activity must not be present, preventing specialised tissues and organs from forming in the wrong places. They also play an important role in processes like stem cell differentiation and…

2010

science

8 April 2010 This image shows the 5,372 samples as dots colour-coded for the six major clusters identified by comparing gene expression profiles. The left and right panels of the figure are projections of the same three-dimensional shape viewed from two different perspectives. Image credit: Brazma / EMBL.

Variations on the genetic theme

Science Just like members of an orchestra are active at different times although playing the same piece of music, every cell in our body contains the same genetic sequence but expresses this differently to give rise to cells and tissues with specialised properties. By integrating gene expression data from…

2010

science

1 April 2010 Each of these large images of dividing cells is composed of several microscopy images of human cells in which different individual genes were silenced. The smaller images are placed according to genes’ effects: images for genes that affect chromosomes make up the chromosomes (red/pink), while the mitotic spindle (green) is composed of images for genes that affect it. IMAGE: Thomas Walter & Mayumi Isokane / EMBL

Movies for the human genome

Science Name a human gene, and you’ll find a movie online showing you what happens to cells when it is switched off. This is the resource that researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, and their collaborators in the Mitocheck consortium are making freely…

2010

science

18 March 2010

What makes us unique? Not only our genes

Science Once the human genome was sequenced in 2001, the hunt was on for the genes that make each of us unique. But scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, and Yale and Stanford Universities in the USA, have found that we differ from each other mainly because…

2010

science

4 March 2010

Bacterial balance that keeps us healthy

Science The thousands of bacteria, fungi and other microbes that live in our gut are essential contributors to our good health. They break down toxins, manufacture some vitamins and essential amino acids, and form a barrier against invaders. A study published today in Nature shows that, at 3.3 million,…

2010

science

31 January 2010

MicroRNA: a glimpse into the past

Science The last ancestor we shared with worms, which roamed the seas around 600 million years ago, may already have had a sophisticated brain that released hormones into the blood and was connected to various sensory organs. The evidence comes not from a newly found fossil but from the study of microRNAs…

2010

science

26 January 2010 This image shows the three-dimensional structure of Death-Associated Protein Kinase (green and yellow) when bound to calmodulin (violet and blue). It was obtained by X-ray crystallography. Image credit: Mathias Wilmanns / EMBL

How to shoot the messenger

Science Cells rely on a range of signalling systems to communicate with each other and to control their own internal workings. Scientists from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Hamburg, Germany, have now found a way to hack into a vital communications system, raising the possibility of…

2010

science

19 January 2010 Image credit: Rachel Melwig & Christine Panagiotidis / EMBL

Membrane-coat proteins: bacteria have them too

Science Although they are present almost everywhere, on land and sea, a group of related bacteria in the superphylum Planctomycetes-Verrucomicrobia-Chlamydiae, or PVC, have remained in relative obscurity ever since they were first described about a decade ago. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology…

2010

science

18 January 2010

Open access drug discovery database launches with half a million compounds

Science ChEMBLdb, a vast online database of information on the properties and activities of drugs and drug-like small molecules and their targets, launches today with information on over half a million compounds. The data lie at the heart of translating information from the human genome into successful new…

2010

science

10 December 2009 These microscopy images show the cellular reprogramming uncovered by EMBL scientists. On the left is an ovary of a normal adult female mouse, with a close-up (top left) showing the typical female granulosa cells. When the Foxl2 gene was silenced in these cells (right, top right: close-up), they took on the characteristics of Sertoli cells, the cells normally found in testes of male mice. Image credit: Treier / EMBL

The Battle of the Sexes

Science Is it a boy or a girl? Expecting parents may be accustomed to this question, but contrary to what they may think, the answer doesn’t depend solely on their child’s sex chromosomes. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany and the Medical Research…

2009

science

10 December 2009 These microscopy images demonstrate the effects of Notch signalling on the hearts of newborn mice (top) and of adult mice after a heart attack (bottom). In a normal neonatal heart (top left), the two major heart chambers (ventricles) are clearly separated by tissue (septum). But when Notch signalling was inactivated in an embryo’s heart muscle cells, the septum between the ventricles of the newborn mouse’s heart was incomplete (asterisk). The same defect commonly occurs in humans with congenital heart disease, often leading to circulatory distress. In the images of adult hearts (bottom), healthy tissue is shown in red and damaged tissue in blue. Normally (bottom left), a heart attack causes extensive tissue damage to the left ventricle (right-hand cavity), but mice in which Notch was re-activated after the heart attack had reduced tissue damage (bottom right) and improved cardiac function. Image credit: EMBL

From fruit fly wings to heart failure. Why Not(ch)?

Science Almost a century after it was discovered in fruit flies with notches in their wings, the Notch signalling pathway may come to play an important role in the recovery from heart attacks. In a study published today in Circulation Research, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)…

2009

science

26 November 2009 This image represents the integration of genomic, metabolic, proteomic, structural and cellular information about Mycoplasma pneumoniae in this project: one layer of an Electron Tomography scan of a bottle-shaped M. pneumoniae cell (grey) is overlaid with a schematic representation of this bacterium’s metabolism, where blue indicates interactions between proteins encoded in genes from the same functional unit. Apart from these expected interactions, the scientists found that, surprisingly, many proteins are multifunctional. For instance, there were various unexpected physical interactions (yellow lines) between proteins and the subunits that form the ribosome, which is depicted as an Electron microscopy image (yellow). Image credit: Takuji Yamada / EMBL

First-ever blueprint of a minimal cell is more complex than expected

Science What are the bare essentials of life, the indispensable ingredients required to produce a cell that can survive on its own? Can we describe the molecular anatomy of a cell, and understand how an entire organism functions as a system? These are just some of the questions that scientists in a…

2009

science

8 November 2009

Drought resistance explained

Science Much as adrenaline coursing through our veins drives our body’s reactions to stress, the plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) is behind plants’ responses to stressful situations such as drought, but how it does so has been a mystery for years. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology…

2009

science

4 November 2009 fluorescence microscopy images of fruit fly embryos

Deciphering the regulatory code

Science Embryonic development is like a well-organised building project, with the embryo’s DNA serving as the blueprint from which all construction details are derived. Cells carry out different functions according to a developmental plan, by expressing, i.e. turning on, different combinations of genes.…

2009

science

30 September 2009 In the centre, a structural model determined by X-ray crystallography shows how the two tags (attached to a short section of the histone protein – all in cyan) fit neatly into the Brdt pocket (purple). In the background image, hypercompaction by Brdt causes relatively diffuse chromatin (stained blue inside the nuclei of two cells on the top left) to compact and clump together (two on the bottom right).

Putting the squeeze on sperm DNA

Science In the quest for speed, olympic swimmers shave themselves or squeeze into high-tech super-suits. In the body, sperm are the only cells that swim and, as speed is crucial to fertility, have developed their own ways to become exceptionally streamlined. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology…

2009

science

21 September 2009 This microscopy image, taken ten days after injury, shows that the muscle fibres of normal mice (left) had re-grown, while in mice which couldn’t boost C/EBPβ production (right) there were still many fibres that had not regenerated (arrowheads), and the tissue had a number of scars (arrows).

To regenerate muscle, cellular garbage men must become builders

Science For scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy, what seemed like a disappointing result turned out to be an important discovery. Their findings, published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), provide…

2009

science

13 September 2009 In normal skin (left), the stem cells at the base, shown in green, differentiate into skin cells, shown in red. In mice whose skin has neither C/EBPα nor C/EBPβ (middle), this differentiation is blocked: green-labeled stem cells appear in upper layers of skin, and there are no differentiated skin cells (no red staining). This also happens at the initial stages of basal cell carcinomas. In skin where C/EBPα is present but has lost its capacity to interact with E2F, a molecule that regulates the cell cycle (right), skin cells start differentiating abnormally, before they have properly exited the stem cell ‘program’ (yellow/orange). This is similar to what is observed in the initial stages of squamous cell carcinomas, a more aggressive and invasive skin tumour.

How stem cells make skin

Science Stem cells have a unique ability: when they divide, they can either give rise to more stem cells, or to a variety of specialised cell types. In both mice and humans, a layer of cells at the base of the skin contains stem cells that can develop into the specialised cells in the layers above.…

2009

science

13 August 2009

Raising the alarm when DNA goes bad

Science Our genome is constantly under attack from things like UV light and toxins, which can damage or even break DNA strands and ultimately lead to cancer and other diseases. Scientists have known for a long time that when DNA is damaged, a key enzyme sets off a cellular ‘alarm bell’ to alert the…

2009

science

2 August 2009

Scientists open doors to diagnosis of emphysema

Science Chronic inflammatory lung diseases like chronic bronchitis and emphysema are a major global health problem, and the fourth leading cause of death and disability in developed countries, with smoking accounting for 90% of the risk for developing them. Work by scientists at the European Molecular…

2009

science

7 July 2009

Scientists identify cholesterol-regulating genes

Science Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the University of Heidelberg, Germany, have come a step closer to understanding how cholesterol levels are regulated. In a study published today in the journal Cell Metabolism, the researchers identified 20 genes that are involved…

2009

science

25 June 2009 The microscope image of the dorsal closure of a fly embryo shows alternating stripes of epithelial cells with aligned microtubule bundles (green) and epithelial cells treated with a microtubule-destroying drug (blue). Labelled in red is the protein actin that lines the border of cells, particularly the amnioserosa cells occupying the eye-shaped opening.

Uncovering how cells cover gaps

Science Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, came a step closer to understanding how cells close gaps not only during embryonic development but also during wound healing. Their study, published this week in the journal Cell, uncovers a fundamental…

2009

science

23 June 2009 Lattice maps for immature HIV particles. The 3D computer reconstruction shows the immature Gag lattice of HIV that matures to form the protein shell of the infecious virus. Maps are shown in perspective such that hexamers on the rear surface of the particle appear smaller. The side of the particle toward the viewer lacks ordered Gag. IMAGE: John Briggs/EMBL

New electron microscopy images reveal the assembly of HIV

Science Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the University Clinic Heidelberg, Germany, have produced a three-dimensional reconstruction of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), which shows the structure of the immature form of the virus at unprecedented detail. Immature HIV is…

2009

science

9 June 2009 Reflect applied to a pubmed webpage. Protein names found in the text are highlighted in blue, chemicals in orange. Pop-up windows provide extra information on the biomolecules.

New EMBL service makes web browsing efficient for biologists

Science The life sciences are scaling up and produce huge amounts of data and new literature at an amazing pace. The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) now offers a new free service to help researchers, teachers and students keep up-to-date with scientific literature on the web, especially when…

2009

science

28 May 2009

Sugarcoating fruit fly development

Science Proteins are the executive agents that carry out all processes in a cell. Their activity is controlled and modified with the help of small chemical tags that can be dynamically added to and removed from the protein. 25 years after its first discovery, researchers at the European Molecular Biology…

2009

science

30 April 2009

Recycler protein helps prevent disease

Science Recycling is important not only on a global scale, but also at the cellular level, since key molecules tend to be available in limited numbers. This means a cell needs to have efficient recycling mechanisms. Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and Heidelberg University,…

2009

science

23 April 2009

New study reveals the protein that makes phosphate chains in yeast

Science It can be found in all life forms, and serves a multitude of purposes, from energy storage to stress response to bone calcification. This molecular jack-of-all trades is polyphosphate, a long chain of phosphate molecules. Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in…

2009

science

24 February 2009 A full body shot of Medaka juveniles, taken by Philipp Keller, from the lab of Ernst Stelzer at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), with a newly developed microscope called Digital Scanned Laser Light Sheet Fluorescence Microscope. Picture credits: Philipp Keller, Stelzer Group, EMBL

Picture Release

Science ‘Useless fish with big eyes’. This is what Medaka, the name of the Japanese killifish in the pictures, means in Japan where it originally comes from. While its eyes are undeniably big, the fish has proven remarkably useful for scientists. It is a simple model organism, amenable to…

2009

science

4 February 2009 High resolution image of the key domain of the influenza virus polymerase. The active site responsible for RNA cleavage is shown in red. Its activity is crucial for the virus to multiply in human cells

New findings reveal how influenza virus hijacks human cells

Science Influenza is and remains a disease to reckon with. Seasonal epidemics around the world kill several hundred thousand people every year. In the light of looming pandemics if bird flu strains develop the ability to infect humans easily, new drugs and vaccines are desperately sought. Researchers at…

2009

science

25 January 2009

Re-write the textbooks: transcription is bidirectional

Science Genes that contain instructions for making proteins make up less than 2% of the human genome. Yet, for unknown reasons, most of our genome is transcribed into RNA. The same is true for many other organisms that are easier to study than humans. Researchers in the groups of Lars Steinmetz at the…

2009

science

3 December 2008

Picture Release

Science Cell division is one of the most fundamental processes of life. It explains how one cell can give rise to an organism of several million cells, it determines the shape of different life forms and it underpins our body’s capacity to heal when injured. Often we only notice how important cell…

2008

science

20 November 2008

Uncovering secrets of life in the ocean

Science The best-selling novel The swarm captured the imagination of countless readers with the fascination of marine life. But it also showed how little we understand life in the depth of the ocean. Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Max Planck Institute (MPI)…

2008

science

22 October 2008

Picture Release

Science What at the first sight could be pictures of planets or other cosmic structures are actually microscope images of balls (cysts) of human kidney cells. They were taken by Emmanuel Reynaud, in the group of Ernst Stelzer at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), with a widefield microscope.…

2008

science

16 October 2008

Researchers establish international human microbiome consortium

Lab Matters Today at a meeting organised by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, scientists from around the globe announced the formation of the International Human Microbiome Consortium (IHMC), an effort that will enable researchers to characterise the relationship of the…

2008

lab-matters

23 July 2008

Open access to large-scale drug discovery data

Lab Matters The Wellcome Trust has awarded £4.7 million (€5.8 million) to EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) to support the transfer of a large collection of information on the properties and activities of drugs and a large set of drug-like small molecules from the publicly listed…

2008

lab-matters

20 July 2008

Pregnant mice block out unwelcome admirers to protect their pups

Science Mouse mothers-to-be have a remarkable way to protect their unborn pups. Because the smell of a strange male’s urine can cause miscarriage and reactivate the ovulatory cycle, pregnant mice prevent the action of such olfactory stimuli by blocking their smell. Researchers from the European…

2008

science

11 July 2008

Teaching old drugs new tricks

Science Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) discovered a new way to make use of drugs’ unwanted side effects. They developed a computational method that compares how similar the side effects of different drugs are and predicts how likely the drugs act on the same target…

2008

science

9 July 2008

Zooming in on genetic shuffling

Science Genetic recombination, the process by which sexually reproducing organisms shuffle their genetic material when producing germ cells, leads to offspring with a new genetic make-up and influences the course of evolution. In the current issue of Nature, researchers at the European Molecular…

2008

science

4 July 2008

New research sheds light on the molecular basis of crib death

Science Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a condition that unexpectedly and unexplainably takes the lives of seemingly healthy babies aged between a month and a year. Now researchers of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Monterotondo, Italy, have developed a mouse model of the so-called crib…

2008

science

20 June 2008

Scientists fix bugs in our understanding of evolution

Science What makes a human different from a chimp? Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) have come one important step closer to answering such evolutionary questions correctly. In the current issue of Science they uncover…

2008

science

30 May 2008

X chromosome exposed

Science Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, and the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) in Hinxton, UK, have revealed new insights into how sex chromosomes are regulated. A chromatin modifying enzyme helps compensate for the fact that…

2008

science

28 May 2008

Securing the future of Europe’s biological data resources

Lab Matters In a contract signed today, the European Commission has awarded €4.5 million to a pan-European consortium to decide upon the best way to unite Europe’s biological data resources into a sustainable, integrative bioinformatics network for the life sciences. The European Life-science…

2008

lab-matters

7 May 2008

Platypus genome sequence published

Science UK-based researchers at the Medical Research Council Functional Genomics Unit in Oxford and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge have revealed the genetic makeup of the one of the world’s strangest mammals. They have analysed the DNA…

2008

science

4 May 2008

Getting wise to the influenza virus’ tricks

Science Influenza is currently a grave concern for governments and health organisations around the world. Now one of the tactics used by influenza virus to take over the machinery of infected cells has been laid bare by structural biologists at the EMBL, the joint Unit of Virus Host-Cell Interaction of…

2008

science

8 April 2008

An unexpected way to cause leukaemia

Science Leukaemia – cancer of blood or bone marrow – is caused by mutations that allow defective blood cells to accumulate and displace healthy blood. To devise effective therapies it is crucial to know which mutations cause leukaemia and which cell type gives rise to leukaemic cells. Researchers from…

2008

science

6 March 2008

New revelations in epigenetic control shed light on breast cancer

Science Epigenetic regulation – modifications to the structure of chromatin that influence which genes are expressed in a cell – is a key player in embryonic development and cancer formation. Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg now gained new insight…

2008

science

5 February 2008

Europe’s most common genetic disease is a liver disorder

Science Much less widely known than the dangerous consequences of iron deficiencies is the fact that too much iron can also cause problems. The exact origin of the genetic iron overload disorder hereditary hemochromatosis [HH] has remained elusive. In a joint effort, researchers from the European Molecular…

2008

science

22 January 2008

International consortium announces the 1000 Genomes Project

Lab Matters Drawing on the expertise of multi-disciplinary research teams, the map developed by the 1000 Genomes Project will provide a view of biomedically relevant DNA variations at a resolution unmatched by current resources. The European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), working with long-term collaborator…

2008

lab-matters

8 January 2008

Life savers in the gut

Science Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) have discovered that proteins that regulate the body’s iron household play a vital role in making sure enough nutrients and water are absorbed in the intestine. Mice lacking these proteins suffer from weight loss and…

2008

science

17 December 2007

An ambulance man for muscle damage

Science It does not take much to injure a muscle. Sometimes one sudden, inconsiderate movement does the job. Unfortunately, damaged muscles are not as efficient at repair as other tissues such as bone. Researchers of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s Mouse Biology Unit (EMBL), Italy, and…

2007

science

11 December 2007

ArrayExpress database doubles in size to 100,000 hybridisations

Lab Matters ArrayExpress, the publicly available database of transcriptomics data at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), has doubled in size in 2007, reaching the 100,000-hybridisation milestone. The database now holds snapshots of gene expression…

2007

lab-matters

5 December 2007

The closest look ever at native human tissue

Science Seeing proteins in their natural environment and interactions inside cells has been a longstanding goal. Using an advanced microscopy technique called cryo-electron tomography, researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) have visualised proteins responsible for cell-cell…

2007

science

2 December 2007

How cells keep in shape

Science Cells in our body come in various shapes and sizes. Each cell is shaped in such a way as to optimise it for a specific function. When things go wrong and a cell does not adopt its dedicated shape, its function can be impaired and the cell can cause problems in the body. Researchers at […]

2007

science

12 November 2007

Luxembourg joins EMBL

Lab Matters Today, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) announces Luxembourg as the new member of its international community. Accepted by EMBL’s council and ratified by the parliament of Luxembourg, the Grand-Duchy has officially joined the institute as the 20th member state. “EMBL is…

2007

lab-matters

23 October 2007

The East Wing and a new dawn for the EMBL-EBI

Lab Matters The European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) officially opens its new East Wing today with a reception for prominent guests. The East Wing will be jointly opened by Ian Pearson, Minister of State for Science and Innovation, UK, and Robert-Jan Smits,…

2007

lab-matters

21 October 2007

Scientists uncover how hormones achieve their effects

Science New insights into the cellular signal chain through which pheromones stimulate mating in yeast have been gained by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory [EMBL]. Similar signal chains are found in humans, where they are involved in many important processes such as the…

2007

science

3 October 2007

EMBL reaches north

Lab Matters Today the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the University of Helsinki, Finland, the University of Oslo, Norway, and Umeå University, Sweden, officially launch their new Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine. The agreement will encourage scientific exchange and collaborations…

2007

lab-matters

15 September 2007

A molecule that protects from neuronal disorders

Science Many neuronal disorders, including epilepsy, schizophrenia and lissencephaly ─ a form of mental retardation ─ result from abnormal migration of nerve cells during the development of the brain. Researchers from the Mouse Biology Unit of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Italy,…

2007

science

28 August 2007

Minimum Information Standards ─ all for one and one for all

Lab Matters Three papers published by EMBL scientists and their collaborators will make it much easier to share and compare information from large-scale proteomics data. The papers are published in Nature Biotechnology on 8 and 26 August. As the quantity of available biological information and the use of…

2007

lab-matters

9 August 2007

A unique arrangement for egg cell division

Science Which genes are passed on from mother to child is decided very early on during the maturation of the egg cell in the ovary. In a cell division process that is unique to egg cells, half of the chromosomes are eliminated from the egg before it is fertilised. Using a powerful microscope, researchers…

2007

science

30 July 2007

Uncovering the secrets of the deep

Science The UniProt Consortium, which includes the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), has added a new database repository for metagenomic and environmental data to its family of protein sequence databases. Metagenomics is the large-scale genomic…

2007

science

11 July 2007

EMBL expands to Australia

Lab Matters Today, delegates representing the 19 member states of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) offered Australia associate membership in EMBL’s international community. The membership is planned to start officially in January 2008 and will initially last for seven years. “EMBL…

2007

lab-matters

9 July 2007

A stepwise retreat: how immune cells catch pathogens

Science To protect us from disease our immune system employs macrophages, cells that roam our body in search of disease-causing bacteria. With the help of long tentacle-like protrusions, macrophages can catch suspicious particles, pull them towards their cell bodies, internalise and destroy them. Using a…

2007

science

8 July 2007

A gene that protects from kidney disease

Science Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the University of Michigan have discovered a gene that protects us against a serious kidney disease. In the current online issue of Nature Genetics they report that mutations in the gene cause nephronopthisis (NPHP) in humans and…

2007

science

29 June 2007

Modern brains have an ancient core

Science Hormones control growth, metabolism, reproduction and many other important biological processes. In humans, and all other vertebrates, the chemical signals are produced by specialised brain centres such as the hypothalamus and secreted into the blood stream that distributes them around the body.…

2007

science

22 June 2007

New compound effectively treats fungal infections

Science A new mechanism to attack hard-to-treat fungal infections has been revealed by scientists from the biotech company Anacor Pharmaceuticals Inc., California, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory [EMBL] outstation in Grenoble, France. In the current issue of Science they describe…

2007

science

15 June 2007

Casting the molecular net

Science Scientists at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital (Canada), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Germany), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) have created a new computational method called NetworKIN. This method uses biological networks to better…

2007

science

14 June 2007

New findings challenge established views about human genome

Science The ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements (ENCODE), an international research consortium organised by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today published the results of its exhaustive, four-year effort to build a “parts list” of…

2007

science

10 June 2007

Researchers shed light on shrinking of chromosomes

Science A human cell contains an enormous 1.8 metres of DNA partitioned into 46 chromosomes. These have to be copied and distributed equally into two daughter cells at every division. Condensation, the shortening of chromosomes, allows the cell to handle such huge amounts of genetic material during cell…

2007

science

5 June 2007

Uncovering the molecular basis of obesity

Science Why does the same diet make some of us gain more weight than others? The answer could be a molecule called Bsx, as scientists from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the German Institute for Nutrition (DIFE), Potsdam, and the University of Cincinnati report in the current issue of…

2007

science

3 June 2007

New insights into the neural basis of anxiety

Science People who suffer from anxiety tend to interpret ambiguous situations, situations that could potentially be dangerous but not necessarily so, as threatening. Researchers from the Mouse Biology Unit of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Italy have now uncovered the neural basis for…

2007

science

22 May 2007

The first public nucleotide sequence database turns 25

Lab Matters It was the world’s earliest public database of DNA and RNA sequences and remains Europe’s primary nucleotide sequence resource. The database is maintained by EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton (UK) in collaboration with its US and Japanese counterparts GenBank and…

2007

lab-matters

16 May 2007

Mechanism of microRNAs deciphered

Science Over 30% of our genes are under the control of small molecules called microRNAs. They prevent specific genes from being turned into protein and regulate many crucial processes like cell division and development, but how they do so has remained unclear. Now researchers from the European Molecular…

2007

science

4 May 2007

A matter of force

Science When a cell divides, normally the result is two identical daughter cells. In some cases however, cell division leads to two cells with different properties. This is called asymmetric cell division and plays an important role in embryonic development and the self-renewal of stem cells. Researchers…

2007

science

20 April 2007

The origin of the brain lies in a worm

Science The rise of the central nervous system (CNS) in animal evolution has puzzled scientists for centuries. Vertebrates, insects and worms evolved from the same ancestor, but their CNSs are different and were thought to have evolved only after their lineages had split during evolution. Researchers from…

2007

science

14 March 2007

Researchers identify molecular basis of inflammatory bowel disease

Science Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis, severely impair the lives of more than four million people worldwide. The development of effective therapies against these diseases requires an understanding of their underlying molecular mechanisms. Researchers from…

2007

science

6 March 2007

An architectural plan of the cell

Science Like our body every cell has a skeleton that provides it with a shape, confers rigidity and protects its fragile inner workings. The cytoskeleton is built of long protein filaments that assemble into networks whose overall architecture and fine detail can only be revealed with high resolution…

2007

science

4 March 2007

A clearer view on biology

Science The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) has developed a new computational tool that makes images obtained with cutting-edge microscopes even sharper. The technological advance and its applications are published in this week’s online issue of the journal Nature Methods. Since the…

2007

science

25 February 2007

A first glimpse of the influenza replication machine

Science In 1918, 50 million people died during a worldwide influenza pandemic caused by mutation of a bird-specific strain of the influenza virus. Recently H5N1, another highly infectious avian strain has caused outbreaks of bird flu around the world. There is great concern that this virus might also…

2007

science

12 February 2007

A signal that protects the liver from hepatitis and cancer

Science Liver cancer is one of the deadliest cancers worldwide; every year sees more than 400,000 new cases, and most of the victims die in less than one year. Despite extensive research, the underlying molecular mechanisms of the disease are poorly understood. A new study by researchers from the Mouse…

2007

science

11 February 2007

Putting an old drug to a new use

Science We all know that iron deficiencies are dangerous, but also too much iron is bad for our health. Our body stores excess iron in various tissues, where it can lead to organ failure and even death if not treated before irreversible damage has occurred. Researchers from the Innsbruck Medical…

2007

science

2 February 2007

Investigating the invisible life in our environment

Science Microorganisms make up more than a third of the Earth’s biomass. They are found in water, on land and even in our bodies, recycling nutrients, influencing the planet’s climate or causing diseases. Still, we know surprisingly little about the smallest beings that colonise Earth. A new…

2007

science

8 January 2007

UK PubMed Central launched

Lab Matters From today scientists will be able to access a vast collection of biomedical research and to submit their own published results for inclusion in a new online resource. Based on a model currently used by the US National Institute of Health, UK PubMed Central (UKPMC) will provide free access to a…

2007

lab-matters

8 January 2007

Getting to the bottom of memory

Science Phone numbers, the way to work, granny’s birthday – our brain with its finite number of nerve cells can store incredible amounts of information. At the bottom of memory lies a complex network of molecules. To understand how this network brings about one of the most remarkable capacities of…

2007

science

29 December 2006

Roadworks on the motorways of the cell

Science A cell is a busy place. In a permanent rush hour, molecules are transported along a dynamic motorway system made up of filaments called microtubules. Microtubules constantly grow and shrink and are rapidly assembled wherever a cargo needs to go, but during this transportation process they need to…

2006

science

14 December 2006

Magna Carta for Researchers

Lab Matters Today, Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Science and Research, received a statement of support for the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers from EIROforum. “The EIROforum partners warmly welcome this valuable initiative by…

2006

lab-matters

11 December 2006

Better, faster, easier

Lab Matters Today the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) launches its new, faster and easier website with an exhaustive search engine at its centre. The web interface has been streamlined on the basis of user feedback from a recent extensive…

2006

lab-matters

27 November 2006

CiteXplore

Lab Matters Today the European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) launches CiteXplore, a new freely accessible literature resource service. Biological researchers require two crucial sources of information: scientific literature published in peerreviewed…

2006

lab-matters

2 November 2006

Helping muscle regenerate

Science Muscle wasting can occur at all ages as the result of genetic defects, heart failure, spinal injury or cancer. A therapy to cure the loss of muscle mass and strength, which has a severe impact on patients’ lives, is desperately sought. Blocking a central signal molecule, researchers from the…

2006

science

6 October 2006

Giving European science a headstart through training

Lab Matters Today, the German Minister for Education and Research, Annette Schavan, breaks ground for the new training and conference centre for the life sciences that will be built on the EMBL campus in Heidelberg. The German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), the Klaus Tschira…

2006

lab-matters

27 September 2006

How nature tinkers with the cellular clock

Science The life of a cell is all about growing and dividing at the right time. That is why the cell cycle is one of the most tightly regulated cellular processes. A control system with several layers adjusts when key components of the cell cycle machinery are produced, activated and degraded to make sure…

2006

science

7 September 2006

New EMBL/CRG Research Unit for Systems Biology launched today

Lab Matters Today the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and the Spanish Ministry for Education and Science (MEC) officially launch their new joint EMBL/CRG Research Unit in Systems Biology on the campus of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park. The Spanish…

2006

lab-matters

3 September 2006

Lost in the labyrinth

Science Blood cells have limited lifespans, which means that they must be continually replaced by calling up reserves and turning these into the blood cell types needed by the body. Claus Nerlov and his colleagues at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) unit in Monterotondo, Italy, in…

2006

science

25 August 2006

A wandering eye

Science Eyes are among the earliest recognisable structures in an embryo; they start off as bulges on the sides of tube-shaped tissue that will eventually become the brain. Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg have now discovered that cells are programmed to make…

2006

science

25 August 2006

A switch between life and death

Science Cells in an embryo divide at an amazing rate to build a whole body, but this growth needs to be controlled. Otherwise the result may be defects in embryonic development or cancer in adults. Controlling growth requires that some cells divide while others die; their fates are determined by signals…

2006

science

9 August 2006

EMBL scientists found start-up company to develop anti-cancer drugs

Lab Matters Today EMBL scientists, EMBL’s commercial affiliate, EMBL Enterprise Management Technology Transfer GmbH (EMBLEM) and EMBL’s venture vehicle, EMBL Ventures GmbH, announce the foundation of Elara Pharmaceuticals GmbH, a start-up company that will translate basic research findings into new…

2006

lab-matters

6 August 2006

Alleviating the burden of Multiple Sclerosis

Science Depression, coordination and speech problems, muscle weakness and disability are just a few of the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Researchers from the Mouse Biology Unit of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Italy and the Department of Neuropathology at the Faculty of…

2006

science

31 July 2006

EMBL-EBI and collaborators win bid to run UK PubMed Central

Lab Matters Scientists will be able to access a vast collection of biomedical research at the touch of a button thanks to a major new initiative that aims to promote the free transfer of ideas in a bid to speed up scientific discovery. Based on a model currently used in the United States, UK PubMed Central…

2006

lab-matters

11 July 2006

Mapping the protein world

Lab Matters In the early days of X-ray crystallography obtaining a three-dimensional model of a protein required wire models, screws, bolts and years of tedious calculations by hand. Today macromolecular models are built by computers – thanks to sophisticated software and in particular a package called…

2006

lab-matters

29 June 2006

Croatia becomes EMBL’s 19th Member State

Lab Matters Croatia has officially joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) as the organisation’s 19th Member State. The Croatian parliament ratified its membership after EMBL’s council had accepted the country’s application. “Joining EMBL is a very important step…

2006

lab-matters

16 June 2006

Cracking a virus protection shield

Science Ebola, measles and rabies are serious threats to public health in developing countries. Despite different symptoms all of the diseases are caused by the same class of viruses that unlike most other living beings carry their genetic information on a single RNA molecule instead of a double strand of…

2006

science

29 May 2006

New potential drug target in tuberculosis

Science Tuberculosis remains one of the deadliest threats to public health. Every year two million people die of the disease, which is caused by the microorganism Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Roughly one third of the world’s population is infected and more and more bacterial strains have developed…

2006

science

10 April 2006

Getting to the heart of cardiovascular diseases

Lab Matters Today three research organisations announce the merging of their expertise to fight cardiovascular diseases, which are among the most common health problems and causes of death in the world. The Magdi Yacoub Institute (MYI) at the UK’s Harefield Heart Science Centre, Imperial College London,…

2006

lab-matters

5 April 2006

With joint forces against Malaria

Events Today the network of excellence for Biology and Pathology of the Malaria Parasite (BioMalPar), will bring together the world’s elite in the field of Malaria research at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. At the second annual BioMalPar conference, organised jointly…

2006

events

28 March 2006

Bringing science out of the lab into the classroom

Lab Matters Science is moving more rapidly than ever; one groundbreaking discovery chases the next at an incredible speed. School teachers have trouble keeping up with the pace, and many pupils call science classes “boring”. Today, Europe’s major research organisations launch Science in…

2006

lab-matters

16 March 2006

A balancing act between the sexes

Science Recent research at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) reveals new insights into how cells achieve equality between the sexes. A new link discovered between the membrane surrounding the nucleus and the male X-chromosome in fruit flies may play a crucial role in determining how active…

2006

science

2 March 2006

A new tree of life allows a closer look at the origin of species

Science In 1870 the German scientist Ernst Haeckel mapped the evolutionary relationships of plants and animals in the first ‘tree of life’. Since then scientists have continuously redrawn and expanded the tree adding microorganisms and using modern molecular data, yet, many parts of the tree…

2006

science

16 February 2006

Waking a sleeping virus

Science A detailed structural picture of a molecule that plays a key role in activating the Epstein Barr Virus in human cells has now been obtained by researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Institut de Virologie Moléculaire et Structurale (IVMS), associated with the…

2006

science

22 January 2006

The closest look ever at the cell’s machines

Science Today researchers in Germany announce they have finished the first complete analysis of the “molecular machines” in one of biology’s most important model organisms: S. cerevisiae (baker’s yeast). The study from the biotechnology company Cellzome, in collaboration with the…

2006

science

11 January 2006

The giant protein titin helps build muscles

Science Imagine grabbing two snakes by the tail so that they can’t wriggle off in opposite directions. Scientists at the Hamburg Outstation of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and collaborators from King’s College in London have now discovered that something similar happens to a…

2006

science

21 December 2005

A key that opens cells to the deadly malaria parasite

Science Researchers at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in India and a unit of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in France have made a key discovery about a molecule that helps the malaria parasite infect human cells. India is one of the countries…

2005

science

6 December 2005

Setting the standard for computer models of life

Lab Matters In the December 6 issue of Nature Biotechnology, scientists from 14 different organizations around the world, including the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute, propose a new quality standard for biochemical models. MIRIAM [for Minimum information requested in the annotation of biochemical…

2005

lab-matters

24 November 2005

The earliest animals had human-like genes

Science Species evolve at very different rates, and the evolutionary line that produced humans seems to be among the slowest. The result, according to a new study by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory [EMBL], is that our species has retained characteristics of a very ancient ancestor…

2005

science

15 November 2005

Many needles, many haystacks

Science Most of what happens in cells is the work of machines that contain dozens of molecules, chiefly proteins. With the completion of human and other genomes, researchers now have a nearly complete ‘parts list’ of such machines; what’s lacking is the manual telling where all the pieces…

2005

science

13 November 2005

Limiting the damage in stroke

Science Scientists at the Universities of Heidelberg and Ulm and a unit of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy, have discovered that a specific signal within brain cells may determine whether they live or die after a stroke. Their study, published online (November 13) by…

2005

science

31 October 2005

ENFIN! Computational systems biology comes to a lab bench near you

Lab Matters The Commission of the European Union has awarded EUR 9 million over five years for a new Network of Excellence that will make computational systems biology accessible to bench scientists throughout Europe and beyond. ENFIN, which stands for ‘Experimental Network for Functional…

2005

lab-matters

6 October 2005

Defusing dangerous mutations

Science Mutations in genes are the basis of evolution, so we owe our existence to them. Most mutations are harmful, however, because they cause cells to build defective proteins. So cells have evolved quality control mechanisms that recognize and counteract genetic mistakes. Now scientists of the Molecular…

2005

science

4 September 2005

A new link between stem cells and tumors

Science Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and the Institute of Biomedical Research of the Parc Científic de Barcelona (IRB-PCB) have now added key evidence to claims that some types of cancer originate with defects in stem cells. The study, reported this week in…

2005

science

29 August 2005

EBI and Ghent University launch PRIDE

Lab Matters The European Bioinformatics Institute and Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) – Ghent University have launched the PRoteomics IDEntifications database (PRIDE). PRIDE allows researchers who work in the field of proteomics – the large-scale study of proteins – to…

2005

lab-matters

25 August 2005

A double punch for female survival

Science Achieving equality between the sexes can be a challenge even for single cells. Since evolution began removing bits of male DNA to create the ‘Y’ chromosome, males have had a single copy of certain key genes on the X chromosome, whereas females have two. Normally this would lead females…

2005

science

22 August 2005

Public collections of DNA and RNA sequence reach 100 gigabases

Lab Matters The world’s three leading public repositories for DNA and RNA sequence information have reached 100 gigabases (100,000,000,000 bases; the ‘letters’ of the genetic code) of sequence. Thanks to their data exchange policy, which has paved the way for the global exchange of many types…

2005

lab-matters

18 July 2005

Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit initiates second phase

Lab Matters The first rate research from the Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit (MMPU) is now set to continue for the long-term. The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Medical Faculty of University of Heidelberg, who formed the joint venture in 2002, have announced their plans to initiate a…

2005

lab-matters

13 July 2005

Actin moves chromosomes

Science Microtubules need a helping hand to find chromosomes in dividing egg cells, scientists have discovered. Although it was generally accepted that microtubules act alone as the cellular ropes to pull chromosomes into place, a new study by researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)…

2005

science

12 July 2005

Hunt for human genes involved in cell division under way

Lab Matters A systematic search through human genes has begun at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. Working within the MitoCheck consortium that includes 10 other institutes throughout Europe, the EMBL scientists will silence all human genes, one-by-one, to find those…

2005

lab-matters

1 July 2005

Trees, vines and nets: microbial evolution changes its face

Science EBI researchers have changed our view of 4 billion years of microbial evolution. Christos Ouzounis and colleagues have gained intriguing quantitative insights into how gene families are transferred, not only ‘vertically’ through passage from one organism to its progeny, but also…

2005

science

1 May 2005

EMBL’s fourth Director-General, Dr Iain Mattaj, takes office

Lab Matters Dr. Iain Mattaj today took over the leadership of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory [EMBL], a prominent basic research and training institute with laboratories in France, Germany, Italy and the UK. “The pace of progress in the life sciences is remarkable. I see my job as ensuring that…

2005

lab-matters

21 April 2005

Whale bones and farm soil: Sequencing biodiversity

Science Instead of sequencing the genome of one organism, why not sequence a drop of sea water, a gram of farm soil or even a sunken whale skeleton? Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and their US collaborators have done just that, and the result is a new…

2005

science

11 April 2005

A new way to share models of biological systems

Science Today sees the launch of BioModels, the world’s first database of annotated biological models. BioModels is the result of a collaboration led by the European Bioinformatics Institute (UK) and the SBML Team, an international group that develops opensource standards to describe biological…

2005

science

31 March 2005

The transparent organism

Lab Matters A novel high-tech microscope will be brought to the marketplace, giving laboratories everywhere fascinating new insights into living organisms. EMBLEM Technology Transfer GmbH (EMBLEM), the commercial entity of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), announced today that it has signed a…

2005

lab-matters

28 February 2005

Double recognition of EBI scientists by the ISCB

Lab Matters The International Society for Computational Biology has named two scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute as the winners of its awards for 2005. Janet Thornton wins the Senior Scientist Accomplishment Award while the Overton Prize goes to Ewan Birney. Thomas Lengauer, the ISCB’s…

2005

lab-matters

3 February 2005

Biology in four dimensions

Science Most things that happen in the cell are the work of ‘molecular machines’ – complexes of proteins that carry out important cellular functions. Until now, scientists didn’t have a clear idea of when proteins form these machines – are these complexes pre-fabricated or put…

2005

science

1 February 2005

European bioinformatics grid receives 8 million Euro

Lab Matters The Commission of the European Union has awarded 8.3 million Euro to a pan-European task force who will improve access to biological information for scientists throughout and beyond Europe. The EMBRACE Network of Excellence, which encompasses computational biologists from 17 institutes in 11…

2005

lab-matters

25 January 2005

How do cells travel through our bodies?

Science One of the most basic yet least understood processes in our bodies is how cells crawl along tissues. This behavior is essential to the formation of an embryo and other processes, but it must be tightly controlled. A disturbance can lead to the spread of cancer cells or diseases like Spina…

2005

science

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