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Science & Technology

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8 April 2024 Artist’s stylised, semi-abstract representation of artificial intelligence

When AI meets biology

Science & Technology A recent EMBO | EMBL conference provided a forum for researchers to share how AI is making a difference in biology and bioinformatics.

2024

science-technology

21 December 2023 On the left: image of a protein complex in a shape of a yellow doughnut with blue elements. Above it is a drawing of nucleic acid with arrows connecting nitrogenous bases to different points in the protein complex. On the right: a line with peaks indicating the peaks recorded in mass spectrometry. Above two peaks, there are smaller depictions of the doughnut-shaped complex, one with a blue element and one without.

RNA to rule them all

Science, Science & Technology The Kosinski Group at EMBL Hamburg collaborated with other groups in Hamburg to reveal critical steps in Lassa virus ribonucleoparticle assembly and recruitment, and the crucial role played by RNA in in the Lassa virus life cycle.

2023

sciencescience-technology

16 November 2023

New evidence on retinal function

Science, Science & Technology A new study from the Asari group at EMBL Rome shows a different retinal function in awake mice compared to isolated retinal samples. These new insights could help to develop prosthetic devices that can act as a retina in the future.

2023

sciencescience-technology

6 September 2023 A drawing of swordfish and a bubble containing a drawing of a molecular model. Both on blue background representing water.

Swordfish sword under X-rays: SAXS explained

Science, Science & Technology Learn how scientists use bio-SAXS, an experimental X-ray technique, to study the shape and dynamics of proteins and other biomolecules. SAXS can be even used to analyse the structure of mineral particles in the swordfish sword bone, which can help scientists better understand bone ageing.

2023

sciencescience-technology

3 July 2023 In the foreground: an intrinsically disordered protein, which has a form of a tangled, unstructured string. In the background: a set of parallel curved lines.

Bringing research on disordered proteins to order

Science, Science & Technology A third of all known proteins are either completely or partially unstructured. EMBL scientists contributed to a new set of guidelines – Minimum Information About a Disorder Experiment (MIADE) – that will help researchers share data on unstructured proteins in a more useful way and will enable…

2023

sciencescience-technology

10 May 2023 Illustration showing a cute humanoid-shaped robot that spits pink droplets at a sheet.

Time-resolved crystallography for the masses

Science, Science & Technology EMBL Hamburg scientists have contributed to the development of the Spitrobot, a ground-breaking experimental setup that will simplify creating molecular movies. The Spitrobot automates the sample preparation for time-resolved crystallography, which is used to create 3D snapshots of protein…

2023

sciencescience-technology

4 April 2023 Title slide for the conference, The organism and its environment

Life in context

Events, Science & Technology Upcoming EMBO/EMBL symposium provides a forum to explore how organisms function together, and how they react or adapt to changes at different molecular levels.

2023

eventsscience-technology

3 April 2023 Two male scientists with safety glasses at EMBL Imaging Centre

Dispensing microscopy expertise

Lab Matters, Science & Technology Home to some of Europe’s most cutting-edge tools in molecular biology, EMBL has long shared its expertise and access to these tools through an extensive repertoire of courses, conferences, seminars, and other training. And now included in this mix is a job shadowing programme at EMBL Imaging…

2023

lab-mattersscience-technology

1 March 2023 Moisés Bueno is standing next to the transfer robot. The robot has a form of a yellow robotic arm on a stand. Behind is the CrystalDirect™ Harvester, which is a white cuboid with two transparent dimmed windows for laser protection.

Biology meets engineering

Lab Matters, Science & Technology Physicists, engineers and robotics experts work together in EMBL Hamburg’s Instrumentation Team to design instruments that support structural biology research. The team has finished a transfer robot that facilitates automated handling of protein crystals with care and precision. This will help…

2023

lab-mattersscience-technology

15 September 2022 The foreground shows two yellow pipes representing the human gastrointestinal tract coming together, representing the confluence of donor and recipient gut ecosystems. Bacteria can be seen as green shapes inside the pipes and various kinds of interactions between them are shown symbolically as a mixing of colours.

When microbiomes collide

Science, Science & Technology EMBL researchers used data from over 300 human faecal microbiota transplants to gain an ecological understanding of what happens when two gut microbiomes clash.

2022

sciencescience-technology

4 August 2022 An illustration provides representation of fingers hovering over a cell phone

Zooming in to get the full picture

Science, Science & Technology EMBL and UW researchers plus additional collaborators have constructed a complete map of fruit fly embryonic development using machine learning. This research is foundational to better understanding overall embryo development in other species, including humans.

2022

sciencescience-technology

18 July 2022 Large, elongated purple molecule has an on/off switch on it pointed to on.

The retron switch

Science, Science & Technology EMBL researchers now understand the function of an elusive small DNA in bacteria and have developed a tool that can be used to better understand what might ‘switch on’ bacterial immune defences.

2022

sciencescience-technology

10 June 2022 A colourful structural model of the doughnut-shaped human nuclear pore complex seen from above.

Puzzling out the structure of a molecular giant

Science, Science & Technology Scientists have solved several mysteries around the structure and function of a true molecular giant: the human nuclear pore complex. They created the most complete model of the complex thanks to combining the program AlphaFold2 with cryo-electron tomography, integrative modelling, molecular…

2022

sciencescience-technology

6 May 2022 Drawing of two chromosomes in which a highlighted area is switched around.

Flip-flop genome

Science, Science & Technology Researchers at EMBL Heidelberg found that inversions in the human genome are more common than previously thought, which impacts our understanding of certain genetic diseases.

2022

sciencescience-technology

4 March 2022 Science art expressing the concept of transcriptional neighbourhoods regulating transcript isoform lengths and expression levels.

Understanding genomes, piece by piece

Science, Science & Technology Genomes are made up of thousands of individual pieces – genes – which are expressed at different levels. Researchers at EMBL have shed light on how the placement of a gene affects its expression, as well as that of its neighbours.

2022

sciencescience-technology

25 February 2022 Three colourful overlapping circles arranged in a row, a fruit-fly embryo being visible within each. Small circles within the embryos represent cell lineages.

Converging lenses on embryo development

Science, Science & Technology Researchers from the Furlong group at EMBL have come up with a way to observe the development of fruit-fly embryos simultaneously at the genetic and cellular levels, generating a high-resolution and integrated view of how different cell lineages form.

2022

sciencescience-technology

1 February 2022 A photograph of the Amazonian lancehead snake Bothrops atrox

Decoding the secrets of snake venom

Science, Science & Technology EMBL Hamburg’s Grzegorz Chojnowski from the Wilmanns Group developed software called findMySequence, which identifies proteins’ amino-acid sequences based on electron cryo-microscopy and X-ray crystallography data. It’s useful for identifying unknown proteins in samples from natural sources.

2022

sciencescience-technology

21 January 2022 The cross-section of a cell expressing a green fluorescently tagged protein and illuminated by a blue laser is visible in the foreground, surrounded by a vortex of cells

Cell sorting enters a new dimension

Science, Science & Technology EMBL researchers, in collaboration with BD Biosciences, have demonstrated a new technology that allows rapid image-based sorting of cells. The new technology represents a major upgrade to flow cytometry and has applications in diverse life science fields.

2022

sciencescience-technology

21 December 2021 A model of the doughnut-shaped nuclear pore complex. Individual molecules are marked in various colours.

Observing the secret life of molecules inside the cell

Science, Science & Technology EMBL Hamburg’s Kosinski Group, the Beck Laboratory at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, and colleagues at EMBL Heidelberg recorded the nuclear pore complex contracting in living cells. They visualised the movement with an unprecedented level of detail with help of new software called…

2021

sciencescience-technology

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, Science & Technology 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

sciencescience-technology

7 December 2021 A cartoon image showing a person's arm and a needle with a vaccine being injected into it. The text on the left reads: "EMBL research: How structural biologists at EMBL Hamburg help to develop and improve RNA vaccines"

How structural biology helps to make RNA vaccines

Science, Science & Technology RNA vaccines, such as the ones for COVID-19, represent a new approach in vaccine technology. Cy Jeffries, faculty staff scientist at EMBL Hamburg, explains the clever technology behind RNA vaccines, and how structural biology contributes to its development. EMBL Hamburg collaborated on several…

2021

sciencescience-technology

5 November 2021 Three-dimensional rendering of sponge neuroid cells (coloured orange) and sponge digestive cells (coloured green).

More than a gut reaction

Science, Science & Technology What can sponges tell us about the evolution of the brain? Sponges have the genes involved in neuronal function in higher animals. But if sponges don’t have brains, what is the role of these? EMBL scientists imaged the sponge digestive chamber to find out.

2021

sciencescience-technology

25 October 2021 A collage of the visuals representing each of the three modules of the eSPC platform.

Biophysics analysis made easy with an online tool

Science, Science & Technology EMBL Hamburg’s Sample Preparation and Characterisation (SPC) Facility has released eSPC, an online platform for analysing data from biophysical experiments. The platform enables the scientific community to analyse data from different experiments without the need to travel.

2021

sciencescience-technology

15 October 2021 In the middle, there are two molecules of pUL21. One is blurred, to represent the molecule’s flexibility. In the background are two neuronal scenes. The one on the left is healthy and has a smooth surface. The one on the right is infected, which is represented by several green viral particles.

How herpes seizes proteins’ means of production

Science, Science & Technology The Graham and Crump groups at the University of Cambridge and the Svergun Group at EMBL Hamburg have discovered a mechanism by which the herpes simplex virus takes control of the molecular machinery of human cells. Their work reveals how a dedicated viral protein hijacks key host proteins, forcing…

2021

sciencescience-technology

13 October 2021 Illustration of a community of bacteria. Pills represent an antibiotic that can be used to treat an infection, and a second drug that could protect many gut bacteria from antibiotics.

Tackling the collateral damage from antibiotics

Science, Science & Technology Researchers from EMBL’s Typas group and collaborators have analysed the effects of 144 antibiotics on the wellbeing of gut microbes. The study improves our understanding of antibiotics’ side effects and suggests a new approach to mitigating the adverse effects of antibiotics therapy on gut…

2021

sciencescience-technology

5 October 2021 Illustration of a globe with colourful shapes and symbols superimposed.

A cellular atlas of an entire worm

Science, Science & Technology EMBL scientists and colleagues have developed an interactive atlas of the entire marine worm Platynereis dumerilii in its larval stage. The PlatyBrowser resource combines high-resolution gene expression data with volume electron microscopy images.

2021

sciencescience-technology

23 September 2021 Pink and blue dominate a blurry image against a black background that is actually a global image of a 30-day-old Octopus vulgaris

The secret life of baby octopuses

Science, Science & Technology Some of the most amazing creatures live in the deep blue sea. The Mesoscopic Imaging Facility (MIF) at EMBL Barcelona was recently involved in studying one unique feature of the octopus: the ephemeral structures on the surface of their skin called Kölliker’s organs.

2021

sciencescience-technology

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, Science & Technology 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

sciencescience-technology

7 September 2021 Close up of the interior of a light-sheet microscope, featuring optical equipment and a transparent cube.

A flip book for biological systems

Science, Science & Technology In the Mesoscopic Imaging Facility (MIF) at EMBL Barcelona, researchers study the details of biological systems in the context of organs, body parts, or entire organisms. This image shows OPTiSPIM1, one of the custom light-sheet microscope setups available at the facility.

2021

sciencescience-technology

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

All heart

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

2021

alumniscience-technology

23 June 2021 Bright blue oblong shape with white hairs on surface on black background.

Starlet sea anemone

Picture of the week, Science & Technology EMBL PhD student Anniek Stokkermans captured this side view of a Nematostella vectensis larva during this transition, using instrumentation in the Advanced Light Microscopy Facility at EMBL Heidelberg.

2021

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

8 June 2021 Purple, blue and yellow dots on a black background.

Dream team

Picture of the week, Science & Technology At EMBL, we have many dream teams – groups of individuals who support each other, innovate, and work together. One of those dream teams bridges two core facilities at EMBL Rome.

2021

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

21 May 2021 Image of a mosquito on a clear surface

EMBL scientists support malaria research

Science, Science & Technology EMBL scientists support research on malaria by providing freely available data resources and using innovative experimental approaches. Our Course and Conference Office facilitates the exchange of knowledge in the field by hosting the annual BioMalPar conference.

2021

sciencescience-technology

27 April 2021 Microscope image of liver cells, highlighted in various colours.

Painting liver cells

Picture of the week, Science & Technology A page from a biologist’s colouring book? EMBL’s new interior wall design? Not quite – a bunch of liver cells, grown in the lab so that scientists can learn about fatty liver disease, or steatosis.

2021

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

30 March 2021 A close-up photo of a shiny droplet of liquid that has been placed into one of the wells of a crystallisation plate.

Droplet beauty

Picture of the week, Science & Technology Scientists at EMBL Hamburg use droplets of protein solution to grow protein crystals. By exposing the crystals to X-rays, they are able to determine the protein’s molecular structure.

2021

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

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

Induced pluripotent stem cells reveal causes of disease

Science, Science & Technology 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

sciencescience-technology

2 March 2021

Sleeping beauty

Picture of the week, Science & Technology Like caterpillars turning into beautiful butterflies, fruit fly larvae have to go through metamorphosis to finish their development. However, despite the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster being one of the best studied model organisms in biology, comparatively little attention has been given to this…

2021

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

16 February 2021 An assembly of proteins in an enzyme, presented in a cartoon style.

Cellular modern art

Picture of the week, Science & Technology This week's Picture of the Week, which could also be a masterpiece of modern art, shows the enzyme RNA polymerase III, an assembly of 17 individual proteins combined into this complex structure.

2021

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

9 February 2021 Crystal cubes seen through a microscope

Purity, beauty, and perfection

Picture of the week, Science & Technology The regular structures of crystals are a source of inspiration and fascination to us humans. While the crystals in this picture were not grown in nature, but instead by Petra Drncova from EMBL Grenoble, they share the same attributes as those found in nature.

2021

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

26 January 2021 Two X-ray mirrors installed in the macromolecular crystallography beamline P14 at EMBL Hamburg. The mirrors are visible in the photo as dark rectangular crystal blocks, with two metal holders supporting the crystals in a stress-free position. The mirrors are inserted into a vacuum-compatible stainless steel vessel.

Mirror, mirror

Picture of the week, Science & Technology Scientists at EMBL Hamburg use specially designed mirrors to reflect and focus X-ray beams onto tiny crystals made of proteins or other biological molecules.

2021

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

20 January 2021

The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 lineage

Science, Science & Technology A note on the coronavirus variant B.1.1.7, which has first been described in the U.K. and has spread to 57 countries. The note summarises epidemiological information about the spread of B.1.1.7 in the U.K. collated and in part conducted by researchers from EMBL-EBI.

2021

sciencescience-technology

19 January 2021 3D rendering of a human cell, attacked by a virus.

Cell under attack

Picture of the week, Science & Technology It’s almost a year since the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic, affecting all our lives. While the virus continues its grip on the world, scientists are understanding it better and better, increasing our knowledge about it and opening up new ways to fight it.

2021

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

22 December 2020

Cells in the holiday spirit

Picture of the week, Science & Technology It is that time of year to get into the holiday spirit, prepare for some time at home and relax after a strange and stressful year. Even the cells in our Picture of the Week are getting into the holiday spirit, forming this colourful Christmas tree.

2020

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

18 December 2020

Stronger together

Science, Science & Technology Gene activation requires the cooperative activity of multiple transcription factors. Until now, the mechanism used by these factors to coordinate their actions has been poorly understood. EMBL’s Krebs group presents a DNA footprinting method that makes it possible to determine whether…

2020

sciencescience-technology

7 December 2020 Female scientist stands in front of electron microscope that is taller than she is

Seeing deeper inside cells

Science, Science & Technology While cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) was first envisioned in 1968, the advances the Mahamid group are bringing to this 3D method for studying molecules directly inside cells are new, and are likely to greatly expand its use.

2020

sciencescience-technology

2 December 2020 The image is a green coloured cell, with a wild and textured surface which is composed of many different shapes and shadows.

Scratching the surface on cell differentiation

Science, Science & Technology Scientists in the Diz-Muñoz group at EMBL Heidelberg are working to build understanding of the role that mechanical properties play in affecting cell behaviour – a young and rapidly developing field of study. They have developed and successfully used a highly specialised technique to manipulate…

2020

sciencescience-technology

23 November 2020 Tube-like structures of a cell at sub-cellular level in red and grey.

Replication cycle of SARS-CoV-2 in 3D

Science, Science & Technology Researchers have studied SARS-CoV-2 replication in cells and obtained detailed insights into the alterations induced in infected cells. This information is essential to guide the development of urgently needed therapeutic strategies for suppressing viral replication and induced pathology.

2020

sciencescience-technology

27 October 2020 Microscopic image of a cell, nucleus visible in bright green, cell membrane stained with a purple dye against black background.

Party at the nucleus?

Picture of the week, Science & Technology The nucleus of this cell fluoresces in bright green thanks to GFP-labelled nucleoporin proteins. EMBL scientists use engineered nucleoporins as 3D reference standards to improve super-resolution microscopy.

2020

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

15 October 2020 Four blue circular objects are surrounded with green structures, and the central blue circle with pink structures. The blue circles are human cell nuclei, and pink and green structures are proteins.

Repurposing drugs for a pan-coronavirus treatment

Science, Science & Technology Scientists from the Beltrao Group at EMBL-EBI and collaborators identified drug targets common to SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1, and MERS-CoV, three pathogenic coronaviruses. They also found potential drugs that could be repurposed as COVID-19 treatments, and against emerging coronavirus strains in the…

2020

sciencescience-technology

13 October 2020 Sea anemone polyp in side view showing two arms.

Crazy arms

Picture of the week, Science & Technology Sea anemones are amazing creatures. Despite their plant-like appearance and their tendency to remain fixed in one spot, they are actually animals.

2020

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

8 October 2020 Alvaro Crevenna, heads EMBL Rome’s Microscopy Facility. Credit: EMBL

Beyond the lens – microscopy at EMBL Rome

Lab Matters, Science & Technology Research facilities play a crucial role in the advancement of science by supporting scientists with specialised expertise and state-of-the-art equipment. The Microscopy Facility at EMBL Rome exemplifies this role by making a wide variety of light microscopy technologies available to its researchers…

2020

lab-mattersscience-technology

29 September 2020 A metal rack holding glass test tubes with yellow and red solutions in them.

Colourful test tubes

Picture of the week, Science & Technology To study the effect of commonly used drugs on bacterial envelopes, EMBL scientists applied a biochemical assay using a colour reaction. The deeper the red, the stronger the disruptive effect of the drug.

2020

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

24 September 2020 The conference key visual shows a variety of species engulfed by fire, reflecting the conference title, ‘Our House Is Burning: Scientific and Societal Responses to Mass Extinction’.

Dinosaurs, dodos, and the future of life on Earth

Events, Science & Technology EMBL’s 21st Science and Society Conference will address scientific and societal responses to mass extinctions. Ahead of his keynote speech, renowned palaeontologist Mike Benton explains how looking into the deep past can give us vital insights into the future of life on Earth.

2020

eventsscience-technology

3 September 2020 Left: Slice of a cell in grey. Right: Two 3D reconstructions of parts of the slice, showing the internal structure.

Nuclear pores in their natural context

Science, Science & Technology Scientists from the Beck group have studied the 3D structure of nuclear pores in budding yeast. They show how the architecture of the nuclear pore complex differs inside cells compared to its form observed in vitro studies.

2020

sciencescience-technology

31 August 2020 3D image of plant cells. The ones identified by the algorithm are brightly coloured.

Intelligent software tackles plant cell jigsaw

Science, Science & Technology Starting with computer code and moving on to a more user-friendly graphical interface called PlantSeg, the Kreshuk Group at EMBL and collaborators built a simple open-access method to provide the most accurate and versatile analysis of plant tissue development to date.

2020

sciencescience-technology

26 August 2020 Colorful illustration conveys the balancing act women in science face, going between family and work responsibilities and wanting to succeed in both roles.

COVID-19’s indirect attack on women

Events, Science & Technology More than 500 people have registered for an EMBL conference, "The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on women in science: Challenges and solutions." Scheduled for 9 September, the conference is free and open to all. Pre-registration is still available and required to attend.

2020

eventsscience-technology

11 August 2020 Different parts of a fruit fly arranged into an artificial green eye.

The eye of science

Picture of the week, Science & Technology This image is a composite of lateral pentascolopidial organs, a wing imaginal disc pouch, and an epithelial wound in a Drosophila larva. The organs are arranged here like eyelashes. Cells surrounding an epidermal wound appear as the iris and pupil of this artistic eye.

2020

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

4 August 2020 A long string of cells - red in the centre, yellow at the border.

Fish close-up

Picture of the week, Science & Technology This group of cells represents an interesting example of organ formation where cells simultaneously move and change their shapes in a highly coordinated manner.

2020

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

3 August 2020 A woman with glasses holds a book. The book cover says "Gene naming rules". Thought bubbles float around her head and display gene symbols like BRCA1.

Bagpipe and Pokemon, or how not to name a human gene

Science, Science & Technology The human genome harbours about 19 000 protein-coding genes, many of which still have no known function. As scientists unveil the secrets of our DNA, they come across novel genes that they need to refer to using a unique name. The Human Genome Organisation’s Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) at…

2020

sciencescience-technology

20 July 2020 A magnifying glass hovers over the human gut, revealing its biodiversity.

Unparalleled inventory of the human gut ecosystem

Science, Science & Technology An international team of scientists has collated all known bacterial genomes from the human gut microbiome into a single large database. Their work will allow researchers to explore the links between bacterial genes and proteins, and their effects on human health.

2020

sciencescience-technology

14 July 2020 The image shows a larva of Platynereis dumerilii, a marine worm. The body of the worm is shown in grey. Muscle strands are coloured in red. The muscles of one individual strand are highlighted in different, brighter colours.

Muscular worm larva

Picture of the week, Science & Technology The image shows a larva of Platynereis dumerilii, a marine worm. The image here was produced by Constantin Pape, a visiting predoctoral fellow in the Kreshuk group at EMBL Heidelberg.

2020

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

8 July 2020 Artwort illustrating various aspects of infection research. The centre of the image shows a cartoon representation of a coronavirus. The spheric shape has been overlaid with a map of the world to illustrate the global spread of viruses. The edges of the artwork feature images of potential virus hosts (bats, poultry, dromedary), a group of humans, a microscope, pills, a syringe and vaccine vial, protein structures, and an illustration of a human lung. The background is set in yellow and red colour.

What COVID-19 is teaching us

Events, Science & Technology The virtual EMBL Conference ‘SARS-CoV-2: Towards a New Era in Infection Research’ explored the importance of fundamental research, collaboration, and data science in containing the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and discussed opportunities to improve our response to pandemics in the future.

2020

eventsscience-technology

3 July 2020 stem cells neurons differentiation

From stem cells to neurons

Science, Science & Technology Scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have investigated stem cells and how they differentiate to become neurons. Their approach included an assessment of the complex interplay of molecules during the differentiation process and generated fundamental new insights into the role of a protein called Sox2 in…

2020

sciencescience-technology

2 July 2020 epigenetic reprogramming, epigenetic memory, Hackett group

Unravelling epigenetic reprogramming

Science, Science & Technology A study conducted by the Hackett group at EMBL Rome has identified key factors controlling the complex system of gene regulation during early embryo development, shedding new light on the mechanisms behind these events and on their evolutionary implications. Their findings are published in Nature…

2020

sciencescience-technology

29 June 2020 Gene Editing and Embryology Facility at EMBL Rome

Editing the mouse genome to study SARS-CoV-2 infection

Science, Science & Technology To study how SARS-CoV-2 infects cells, the Gene Editing and Embryology Facility (GEEF) at EMBL Rome will generate mice that express a human version of a protein called ACE2. The mouse line will be shared with preclinical research collaborators carrying out vaccine and antibody trials, and with the…

2020

sciencescience-technology

16 June 2020 Tissue culture plates in an incubator.

Understanding how SARS-CoV-2 behaves in the gut

Science, Science & Technology Scientists at EMBL and Heidelberg University Hospital are studying how the novel coronavirus behaves in the gut to try to better understand its epidemiology and prevent its spread. To do this, they are combining advanced imaging and sequencing technologies to study coronavirus in human intestinal…

2020

sciencescience-technology

16 June 2020 Composite image of fly larvae organs making up a flower

From fly to flower

Picture of the week, Science & Technology In this composite image, visual artist Mona Kakanj assembled three different biological structures in fly larvae into a flower. The original images were taken as part of a research project by Parisa Kakanj in Maria Leptin’s group.

2020

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

9 June 2020 This image shows the structure of a bacterial group II intron

Genetic cut and paste at atomic resolution

Science, Science & Technology Researchers in the Marcia group at EMBL Grenoble and the De Vivo lab at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa have obtained some of the most detailed ever snapshots of the splicing process in systems known as group II self-splicing introns. The new insights will help scientists to develop…

2020

sciencescience-technology

9 June 2020 Beamline Hamburg

Shining high-brilliance beams on coronavirus structure

Science, Science & Technology EMBL researchers are studying COVID-19-related molecules by exposing them to high-brilliance X-ray beams. The Svergun group at EMBL Hamburg is using biological small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) as part of a global effort by scientists to elucidate the structural organisation of SARS-CoV-2…

2020

sciencescience-technology

8 June 2020 Microscopic image showing a macrophage that has been infected with Salmonella (green), causing cellular cathepsins (red) to locate to the nucels (blue).

Re-trafficking proteins to fight Salmonella infections

Science, Science & Technology Scientists including members of EMBL’s Typas group have investigated how immune cells called macrophages respond to infection by the intracellular pathogen Salmonella enterica. They discovered that Salmonella causes newly produced cathepsins to accumulate in the nuclei of infected cells to…

2020

sciencescience-technology

1 June 2020 An illustration of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq)

Enabling functional genomics studies in individual cells

Science, Science & Technology Scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have developed a new method, called Targeted Perturb-seq (TAP-seq), which increases the scale and precision of functional genomics CRISPR–Cas9 screens by orders of magnitude. Their method overcomes limitations in previous applications of single-cell RNA sequencing,…

2020

sciencescience-technology

22 May 2020

The hunt for neutralising antibodies against SARS-CoV-2

Science, Science & Technology Scientists hope that a legacy of the novel coronavirus in recovered COVID-19 patients – antibodies in their blood – could lead to drugs to treat others. The Merten group at EMBL Heidelberg has pivoted its microfluidics platform to support the search for neutralising antibodies that could…

2020

sciencescience-technology

22 May 2020

EMBL scientists investigate rare lung disease

Science, Science & Technology Researchers in EMBL’s Zaugg group have studied the causes of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a rare disease that causes high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. The study, carried out in collaboration with Stanford University School of Medicine, compared lung cells of patients…

2020

sciencescience-technology

15 May 2020 Cell division

Tracing the origins of cells

Science, Science & Technology Researchers from the Sharpe group at EMBL Barcelona have published a method to track the developmental history of a cell using the gene editing tool CRISPR–Cas9, but without the need to create transgenic organisms.

2020

sciencescience-technology

11 May 2020

EMBL SPC facility supports COVID-19 projects

Science, Science & Technology The Sample Preparation and Characterisation Facility (SPC) at EMBL Hamburg reopens to support scientists working on Covid-19 research. The SPC Facility is one of the best equipped facilities in Europe is therefore in high demand from external users. Re-opening the facility also allows experts at…

2020

sciencescience-technology

29 April 2020 The Influenza virus

Understanding the influenza virus

Science, Science & Technology The infectious disease commonly known as flu is caused by the influenza virus. It spreads around the world in seasonal outbreaks, causing millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Stephen Cusack, Head of EMBL Grenoble, has been studying different aspects of the influenza…

2020

sciencescience-technology

28 April 2020

Dancing chromosomes

Picture of the week, Science & Technology In human cells, the genetic material is packaged into 23 different DNA molecules, the chromosomes. Each chromosome is present in two copies, one inherited from the paternal sperm, and the other from the maternal egg. During most of the cell’s life, chromosomes take the shape of long,…

2020

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

28 April 2020 Close-up view of the interior of a protein analytics system

Exploring synthetic antibodies to stop coronavirus

Science, Science & Technology Scientists at EMBL Hamburg and Karolinska Institutet Stockholm aim to find synthetic antibodies – known as nanobodies – that bind a surface protein of the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Nanobodies could prevent the virus from entering human cells and causing COVID-19.

2020

sciencescience-technology

16 April 2020 Micropipette tips in a liquid-handling robot

Helping to scale up coronavirus testing

Science, Science & Technology Scientists at EMBL Heidelberg are contributing their expertise in a community effort to develop large-scale testing methods for coronavirus. Their goal is to increase the capacity and speed of testing, which is crucial for containing the pandemic.

2020

sciencescience-technology

1 April 2020

Understanding brain tumours in children

Science, Science & Technology The causes of 40 percent of all cases of certain medulloblastoma – dangerous brain tumours affecting children – are hereditary. These are the findings of a recent genetic analysis carried out by scientists from EMBL and numerous colleagues around the world.

2020

sciencescience-technology

11 February 2020

Breathe in, breathe out

Picture of the week, Science & Technology This image shows the tracheal system of a live fruit fly larva. Daniel Rios from the Leptin Group and Dimitri Kromm from the Hufnagel Group used this advanced microscope to investigate the dynamics of tracheal cells during development.

2020

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

5 February 2020

Protecting data in the cloud

Science, Science & Technology Cloud computing offers unprecedented opportunities for global-scale research collaborations. It also presents a unique set of challenges in terms of data protection and the ethics of data sharing.

2020

sciencescience-technology

5 February 2020

Cancer mutations occur decades before diagnosis

Science, Science & Technology Researchers at EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the Francis Crick Institute have analysed the whole genomes of over 2600 tumours from 38 different cancer types to determine the chronology of genomic changes during cancer development.

2020

sciencescience-technology

5 February 2020

Analysis of human genomes in the cloud

Science, Science & Technology Scientists from EMBL present a tool for large-scale analysis of genomic data with cloud computing. Main advantages of the new tool, called Butler, are continuous system monitoring and its ability to self-heal in case of failure, allowing for 43% more efficient data processing than previous…

2020

sciencescience-technology

31 December 2019

Tumour takeover

Picture of the week, Science & Technology Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. It is so deadly because tumours often return after successful cancer treatment. This recurrence is caused by individual dormant cancer cells remaining inside the breast. These cells can develop into active cancer cells…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

24 December 2019

Launching proteins

Picture of the week, Science & Technology What looks like a photo-series of an explosive eruption are actually uptaking proteins, captured by Markus Mund from the Ries Group at EMBL Heidelberg. The images were made in an attempt to learn how the different proteins that take up molecules into the cells via endocytosis – the cellular…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

17 December 2019

Reshaping our DNA

Picture of the week, Science & Technology DNA is present in each cell of our body. If all the DNA from one human cell was removed and aligned in a single strand, it would in theory add up to a total length of about two metres. In order to fit into the nucleus of a cell, DNA has to be compressed by […]

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

10 December 2019

Birth of two HeLa stars

Picture of the week, Science & Technology This picture of the week, taken by Arina Rybina in the Ellenberg group at EMBL Heidelberg, shows a high-resolution 3D microscopy image of living human cells: HeLa cells. In this fascinating fluorescing microspace, two newly formed daughter nuclei are captured to study the assembly of nuclear pore…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

3 December 2019 Black and blue hexagon shapes with some yellow and red hot spots

Skin mosaic

Picture of the week, Science & Technology This beautiful mosaic of mostly hexagonal cells is the outer skin layer of a zebrafish larva as seen under a microscope. Each skin cell exhibits a unique pattern of actin ridges. Actin is a family of globular multifunctional proteins found in almost all eukaryotic cells. Actin forms microfilaments,…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

26 November 2019

EMBL makes insulin visible

Picture of the week, Science & Technology The hormone insulin helps to remove sugar from the blood after a meal. This is important, as in the long term high blood sugar levels damage our bodies. Diabetes of type 1 or type 2 is a direct consequence of a failure to produce sufficient insulin or to release it from the cells in which […]

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

19 November 2019

Formation of a brain

Picture of the week, Science & Technology The brain is the most complex organ in the human body. Yet despite it being the organ that makes us conscious beings – and despite the fact that researchers have been studying it for generations – it’s still a constant source of surprise. To help lift the veil on some of its mystery, Lina…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

5 November 2019

A mix of sensations

Picture of the week, Science & Technology Traditionally, we talk about having five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. In reality, our bodies are capable of much more. Sitting right under our skin are a variety of sensory neurons, which are specialised in detecting light touch, pain, temperature, itch or the body’s position.…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

29 October 2019

Inside out, and grub becomes fly

Picture of the week, Science & Technology The three bluish blobs shown in the top right corner of this image may not resemble the sphere of noodles that is the human brain, but they are still essential – at least for the fruit fly. This Picture of the Week shows the brain lobes of Drosophila. It’s an insect so tiny and so […]

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

22 October 2019

A perfect model

Picture of the week, Science & Technology Is it a fungus or a strange plant? Actually it’s the larval form of Platynereis – a group of marine ringed worms. Scientists have been using them in their studies for the past 70 years, and they are among the preferred lab organisms. They are easy to keep in the lab, and under temperature and…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

8 October 2019

The zebrafish earned its stripes

Picture of the week, Science & Technology Despite missing the characteristic stripes one would expect from a zebra – or a zebrafish – the fractals in this Picture of the Week show a zebrafish; or at least some cells in a zebrafish embryo, a few hours after fertilisation. Zebrafish are not only popular aquarium fish, they are also an…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

1 October 2019

The evolution of the eye

Picture of the week, Science & Technology Model organisms are species that are studied extensively to understand particular biological phenomena and processes, with the expectation that discoveries made in the model organism will provide insight into the workings of other organisms. The small marine ringed worm Platynereis dumerilii gained…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

25 September 2019

A giant called dumpy

Picture of the week, Science & Technology Fruit flies have something that we don’t have: they produce a protein called dumpy. This protein is the largest created by insects, and is comparable in size to the largest human protein – titin. While titin is vital for our muscle function, dumpy connects the soft cells of the insect’s…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

10 September 2019

Tracking the beginning of life

Picture of the week, Science & Technology All mammalian life starts with the fusion of egg and sperm, resulting in the creation of a single cell called a zygote. This develops into an embryo through a series of cell divisions, in which the number of cells doubles at each step. Todays’ Picture of the Week was taken by Manuel Eguren of the…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

3 September 2019

A robust allrounder

Picture of the week, Science & Technology This gorgeous image of a stained adult marine worm was created by former EMBL postdoc Hernando Martinez using structured microscopy. The worm itself was captured during plankton extraction off the coast of Sweden. There are over 10 000 species of these swimming worms, and they have adapted to every…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

20 August 2019

When life takes shape

Picture of the week, Science & Technology Today’s picture of the week is not only a colourful one, it is also a snapshot of the vast number of shapes that the cells inside an animal body can adopt. How this variety comes about is investigated in the Leptin group at EMBL Heidelberg.  To understand the shapes of the cells in fruit fly…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

6 August 2019

The muscles that regulate blood pressure

Picture of the week, Science & Technology Low blood pressure (hypotension) or high blood pressure (hypertension) are risk factors for many diseases and affect more than 20% of the global population. How blood pressure is regulated is part of the research done in the Heppenstall group at EMBL Rome.  In today’s Picture of the…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

23 July 2019

Muscle games

Picture of the week, Science & Technology Every single moment of our life we use our muscles – most of the time without even thinking about it. Some muscles, like our heart, we cannot even control at all. How our brain communicates with our muscles is still not fully understood. The communication between our brain and our skeletal…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

16 July 2019

The birth of new cells – when two become four

Picture of the week, Science & Technology This colourful picture, taken by EMBL postdoc Arina Rybina using a confocal fluorescence microscope, shows human cells in the process of cell division. Eventually, each mother cell brings into existence two identical daughter cells. To visualise the process by light microscopy, different cell…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

2 July 2019

Cell duplication

Picture of the week, Science & Technology What looks like a pair of scary alien eyes is actually the final stage in the duplication of a cell. Cell duplication is preceded by a process called mitosis, in which the replicated chromosomes are separated into two new nuclei. Mitosis is the prerequisite for a cell to divide into two identical…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

21 May 2019

From fruit flies to cancer treatment

Picture of the week, Science & Technology This image – resembling a network of rivers and canals – actually shows the tracheal tip cell of a fruit fly. Fruit flies are heavily used in research and they are a common model organism in developmental biology. Researchers at EMBL use the larvae of fruit flies to study tracheal cell…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology

14 May 2019

Walking on DNA

Picture of the week, Science & Technology EMBL is a world-leading organisation for life science research. Its scientists work in diverse research fields spanning the whole of molecular biology. While the molecules the researchers are working on are often microscopic and impossible to see with the naked eye, one research topic clearly…

2019

picture-of-the-weekscience-technology