Edit

Category:

Science

Year
19 February 2024 Collage of nine pictures with seven photographs showing expedition members sampling and engaging in public outreach activities, and two photos showing EMBL’s new mobile labs.

TREC in 2024: bringing it home

Science The Traversing European Coastlines (TREC) expedition prepares to begin its next phase of sampling, with stops in Spain, Greece, Italy, and beyond.

2024

science

25 January 2024 An oval light blue shape. In the central part, there is a smaller a red object, from which stem many highly branched smaller canals that cover a significant part of the blue surface. The whole sponge image is in placed in a circle. The background around the circle is blue-green.

Ancient ‘relaxant-inflammatory’ response gets sponges moving

Science Sponges lack muscles and neurons. Yet, they make coordinated movements. Scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have discovered that sponge movement is controlled by an ancient ‘relaxant-inflammatory’ response that is also present in vertebrate blood vessels. The findings shed light on sponge physiology…

2024

science

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 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

science

19 December 2023 Cartoon showing nanoparticles on a conveyer belt passing through a machine. They are ordered by size and the smallest one pass through the machine before the bigger ones. A ray of light enters the machine, where a nanoparticle is being scanned, and leaves it on the other side. A monitor on top of the scanning machine shows an X-ray of a nanoparticle.

‘X-ray vision’ for investigation of mRNA nanomedicines

Science EMBL Hamburg, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Postnova Analytics GmbH, and BioNTech SE have developed a new method to quantitatively investigate sizes of nanoparticles containing mRNA. It may become an important part of regular characterisation of mRNA nanomedicines in the future.

2023

science

27 November 2023 Photo of two people brainstorming at the table covered with several papers and images related to the research project, such as the structure of the molecule, a map with the Solar Lake marked, photo of EMBL Hamburg, photo of Garo Antranikian looking into a microscope, pages of the manuscript, data graphs, and more.

Hamburg collaboration paves the way to cleaner technologies for industry

Science An interdisciplinary collaboration between Hamburg scientists has yielded new insights into the structure and function of a heat-resistant enzyme from an exotic microbe. In this interview, EMBL Hamburg’s Matthias Wilmanns and TUHH’s Garo Antranikian discuss how their collaboration developed and…

2023

science

16 November 2023

New evidence on retinal function

Science 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

science

26 October 2023 Photographs of three scientists on a decorative blue background

EMBL scientists receive prestigious ERC Synergy Grants

Science Jan Kosinski, Julia Mahamid, and Georg Zeller have received grants to enable ambitious projects aimed at mapping the cellular protein synthesis machinery in context and understanding complex host-microbiome interactions, respectively.

2023

science

5 October 2023 A composite image of four 3D micrographs showing the cellular organelles of a phytoplankton marked in different colours.

Spotlight: Seeing into the seas

Science A new method developed by EMBL scientists can help us identify and investigate plankton species in field samples with greater speed, accuracy, and resolution than ever possible before.

2023

science

2 October 2023 Outline of a human, purple against red background. Red RNA strand in the background, electrocardiogram across the image. On the right, outline of a Nobel prize medal.

mRNA nanomedicines scoop Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Science Pioneers of the mRNA nanomedicines technology receive 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or medicine. EMBL is pleased to have supported the development of the application of the mRNA nanomedicine technology through our long-standing collaboration with BioNTech, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and…

2023

science

28 September 2023 Visual of AlphaFold Protein prediction, embedded into a visual of scientific data

EMBL receives German AI prize

Science EMBL receives the German AI prize awarded for outstanding services to the research and development as well as application and commercialisation of artificial intelligence (AI) in life science research.

2023

science

15 September 2023

Switching off the cytokine storm

Science EMBL Grenoble and University of Geneva researchers shed light on the molecular activation of the MAP kinase p38α, the final ‘switch’ triggering the inflammatory response.

2023

science

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 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

science

31 August 2023 Part of a fruit fly embryo imaged against a dark background, with nuclei stained with DAPI (white), and a cluster of pole cells, marked by Vasa protein (yellow)

Spotlight: Off to the pole

Picture of the week, Science For a fruit fly embryo to develop correctly, key factors need to get to the right place at the right time – a journey that starts in the developing egg, as seen in this image from the Ephrussi Group at EMBL Heidelberg

2023

picture-of-the-weekscience

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 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

science

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

Time-resolved crystallography for the masses

Science 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

science

4 April 2023 A mobile lab on a road, with the TREC logo on the side.

TREC is underway!

Events, Science EMBL’s planetary biology flagship TREC expedition has officially started. The new project applies EMBL's expertise and technologies in molecular and cellular biology to current environmental challenges, and connects with a wide range of research disciplines.

2023

eventsscience

22 March 2023 Artistic representation that features a long, winding helix joining together a doughnut-figure to a small shaggy ball to indicate the connections long-read sequencing can make about DNA mutations.

The ‘long read’ for cancer

Science Using Oxford Nanopore long-read sequencing, EMBL scientists sequenced a primary childhood brain tumour known as a medulloblastoma, uncovering a novel complex mutation pattern.

2023

science

9 January 2023

New molecular insights on medical cannabis

Science EMBL Grenoble researchers have investigated the interaction between THC and some proteins it might bind to. In a recent study, they showed in vitro that THC inhibits an important human enzyme called autotaxin.

2023

science

1 December 2022

Getting closer to stopping toxoplasmosis infection

Science Recent studies supported by EMBL Grenoble’s expertise in structural biology research and scientific services have identified Altiratinib as a potential drug to stop toxoplasmosis infection and opened up treatment options against malaria.

2022

science

31 October 2022 Two photos of a cell nucleus with blue, bandage-like objects wrapped around a roundish nucleus. The photos show before and after a parasitic invasion, so few chromosomes remain afterwards.

Plankton zombies for Halloween!

Science Plankton parasites provide a zombie story perfect for Halloween. While invading single-celled plankton, these parasites devour the cell’s nucleus and hijack metabolism while the organism remains alive.

2022

science

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 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

science

1 September 2022 4D reconstruction of a mouse limb with lateral and top view.

Building the ideal limb

Science EMBL researchers use a “fearless” computer reconstruction and a two-centuries-old mathematical approach to study limb bud growth.

2022

science

5 August 2022 A rod-like structure with green and magenta segments representing cellular markers.

Making patterns visible

Science How do gene expression patterns result in the generation of different cell types? Scientists at EMBL Heidelberg used the zebrafish notochord to find out.

2022

science

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

Zooming in to get the full picture

Science 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

science

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

The retron switch

Science 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

science

14 July 2022 Visualising the ocean below and above surface, showing several species and giving written details on the ocean microbiome composition

Priorities for ocean microbiome research

Science Microbial communities play essential roles in ocean ecology and planetary health. A recent publication highlights priorities for understanding and protecting ocean microbiomes.

2022

science

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 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

science

3 June 2022 he internal structure of a mitotic chromosome is shown with colourful threads representing DNA, one of which is shown being packaged into loops by the condensin protein complex. The background shows mitotic chromosomes in the cellular space

Shaping up the genome for cell division

Science Researchers have discovered the mechanism by which a family of DNA motor proteins packages loosely arranged strands of DNA into compact individual chromosomes during cell division.

2022

science

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

Flip-flop genome

Science 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

science

28 April 2022 Microsocopy image of Pair of somites. Blue is a nuclear marker (DAPI) and red is an apical marker (ZO-1).

Unravelling the origins of the human spine

Science Scientists at EMBL Barcelona have created for the first time a 3D in vitro model that recapitulates the periodic formation of human somites – structures that give rise to the spinal column.

2022

science

8 April 2022 a metaphor for the process of epigenetic inheritance

A metaphor for epigenetic inheritance

Science Recent studies from the Hackett group at EMBL Rome have revealed new insights on the mechanism regulating transmission of non-genetic information during embryonic development, and inspired a scientific illustration

2022

science

23 March 2022 Two Drosophila embryos stained with fluorescent dye on a purple background that indicates either solid or liquid state

From liquid to solid to drive development

Science Condensates are membraneless organelles that control specific functions within a cell. Scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have shown how the physical state of condensates can influence biological function.

2022

science

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

Understanding genomes, piece by piece

Science 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

science

4 March 2022 A gloved hand holds a slide with visible wells containing Matrigel immersed in culture medium. A magnified close-up shows a mouse embryo developing over the course of 48 hours

A 3D culture model to study embryo growth

Science A recent study by EMBL researchers proposes a new method to grow early embryos in the laboratory. With a 3D culture set-up, scientists can closely monitor the changes embryos undergo around the time of implantation.

2022

science

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 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

science

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

Decoding the secrets of snake venom

Science 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

science

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 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

science

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 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

science

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

15 December 2021 An outline of Earth, covered with depictions of bacteria. The image of Earth is within a the frame of a computer window. There is an “Upload file” button on the bottom left, and a mouse cursor on the right.

Connecting the dots between bacterial genes around the world

Science Bork Group at EMBL Heidelberg analysed a new global gene database to study how genes emerge and spread across various habitats on our planet. In the future, the group will expand the database and use it for studying microbial gene evolution and dispersal at a finer-grained scale.

2021

science

9 December 2021 Colourful interwoven coils are displayed against a grid of small black and white photographic images.

A gallery of human RNA polymerases

Science New structural biology research provides fundamental information critical to understanding enzyme mutations connected to rare diseases and cancers.

2021

science

8 December 2021 An illustration of the human gut, with coloured shapes representing bacteria. Three different drugs and drug combinations are shown affecting the bacteria, represented by changes in colour

The impact of drugs on gut microbes is greater than we thought

Science Researchers studying a massive cohort of European patients have found that commonly prescribed drugs for cardiometabolic disorders can have long-term effects on the gut microbiome. Such effects can complicate the understanding of how disease affects the microbiome and must be taken into…

2021

science

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 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

science

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

More than a gut reaction

Science 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

science

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 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

science

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 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

science

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 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

science

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

A cellular atlas of an entire worm

Science 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

science

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 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

science

15 September 2021 A dark blue classic star map view is overlaid upon scientific data

Charting a multi-omic universe

Science A research collaboration used machine learning to map tumour molecular make-up, potentially paving way to more customised cancer treatment.

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

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 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

science

9 July 2021 Melissa Graewert stands in front of steely machine

From antibodies to nanoplastics

Science EMBL’s Melissa Graewert and colleagues are taking a structural biologist’s approach to better understanding nanoplastic particles.

2021

science

3 June 2021 Illustration of a rocky coastline with sailing boat, mountains, underwater organisms, bridge and factory in the background.

Living laboratories

Science Under the innovative Planetary Biology research theme, EMBL scientists aim to understand life in the context of its environment.

2021

science

21 May 2021 Image of a mosquito on a clear surface

EMBL scientists support malaria research

Science 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

science

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

16 February 2021 Microscopy images of coronavirus-infected cells in blue and red, arranged on a clockface. Illustrations of virus particles.

Finding coronavirus’s helper proteins

Science A team of EMBL scientists and colleagues have analysed how the novel coronavirus affects proteins in human cells. They identified several human proteins as potential drug targets to prevent viral replication.

2021

science

9 February 2021 An artistic representation of how bioinformatics allows study of the SARS-CoV-2 infection process. On the left, coronaviruses are approaching a human face contour. On the right, protein structures and a network of connections represent bioinformatic analysis.

Protein sequences provide clues to how SARS-CoV-2 infects cells

Science Researchers at EMBL Heidelberg have identified sequences in human proteins that might be used by SARS-CoV-2 to infect cells. They have discovered that the virus might hijack certain cellular processes, and they discuss potentially relevant drugs for treating COVID-19.

2021

science

20 January 2021

The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 lineage

Science 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

science

14 January 2021 An electron microscopy photo shows two bacterial cells surrounded by several white fibrils of the amphibian peptide.

Toadlet peptide transforms into a deadly weapon against bacteria

Science Researchers at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and EMBL Hamburg, in collaboration with scientists in Israel and Spain, have discovered remarkable molecular properties of an antimicrobial peptide from the skin of the Australian toadlet. The discovery could inspire the development of…

2021

science

18 December 2020

Stronger together

Science 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

science

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

Seeing deeper inside cells

Science 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

science

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 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

science

2 December 2020 Curly-shaped trypanosomes, grey with bright specks of green fluorescent protein, against a grey background.

Tackling tropical diseases

Science Members of the EMBL community are working to improve our understanding of the parasites that cause malaria and sleeping sickness

2020

science

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 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

science

4 November 2020 SARS-CoV-2 is represented as a sphere with spike proteins poking out of its surface, which give it a corona-like appearance. The spike proteins resemble triangular ‘bushes’ with three tips at the top. In the background, a cell surface is visible with ACE2 proteins poking out of it in many places. The virus is about to attach to the cell surface. The sybodies, represented as tiny V-shaped structures, bind to the viral spike proteins at their tips.

Scientists identify synthetic mini-antibody to combat COVID-19

Science By screening hundreds of sybodies (synthetic mini-antibodies), scientists have identified one that might stop SARS-CoV-2 from infecting human cells. This work, which holds promise for treating COVID-19, was conducted by EMBL Hamburg and collaborators from the Centre for Structural Systems Biology…

2020

science

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 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

science

13 October 2020 Molecular structure of essential light chain protein in Plasmodium glideosome. The atoms connected by bonds are symbolised by short connected lines. They are surrounded by electrons – the electron density is depicted as shapes resembling clouds. Water molecules are visible in several places as red spots. The data used to create this 3D model were obtained using X-ray crystallography at Petra III beamline, at EMBL Hamburg.

How deadly parasites ‘glide’ into human cells

Science A group of scientists led by EMBL Hamburg’s Christian Löw provide insights into the molecular structure of proteins involved in the gliding movements through which the parasites causing malaria and toxoplasmosis invade human cells.

2020

science

6 October 2020 A series of images demonstrates the cell cycle trajectory, the first frame in each row shows a cell’s nucleus in grey. As it moves through its life cycle and enters new phases, markers change colour from red to green to pinpoint progression.

Deep learning captures cell cycle

Science Members of an EMBL-led research group with collaborators in Estonia and Russia have built and trained a deep learning model to better understand how cells grow and divide.

2020

science

18 September 2020 Composite image of mouse cells and human cells showing different levels of luminescence, indicated as different colours.

Human and mouse cells run at different speeds

Science The internal clock that governs the development of embryos ticks slower for humans than for mice. Differences in the speed of biochemical reactions underlie the differences between species in the tempo of development.

2020

science

7 September 2020 Human silhouette showing internal organs including oesophagus and stomach. Circle with DNA bases A,T, C and G superimposed.

Genome sequencing accelerates cancer detection

Science The Gerstung Group at EMBL-EBI and collaborators have developed a statistical model that analyses genomic data to predict whether a patient has a high or low risk of developing oesophageal cancer.

2020

science

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 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

science

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

Intelligent software tackles plant cell jigsaw

Science 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

science

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 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

science

21 July 2020 Top row: The evolution of tumour cells (green) within a normal organoid (grey) shown in three panels. Lower row: Surface rendition of tumour cells and labels new cells that arise from a single cell in the same colour.

A tool to improve cancer research

Science EMBL scientists have created a new, realistic 3D testbed that could help achieve the goal of stopping cancers before they start by studying cancer cells as they first form.

2020

science

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

Unparalleled inventory of the human gut ecosystem

Science 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

science

3 July 2020 stem cells neurons differentiation

From stem cells to neurons

Science 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

science

2 July 2020 epigenetic reprogramming, epigenetic memory, Hackett group

Unravelling epigenetic reprogramming

Science 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

science

29 June 2020 Gene Editing and Embryology Facility at EMBL Rome

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

Science 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

science

25 June 2020 Scientists in the Hackett group at EMBL Rome doing lab work

Silencing the SARS-CoV-2 receptor with epigenetic modifications

Science EMBL scientists develop a new molecular tool to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice. This tool is able to cause targeted epigenetic modifications of specific genes in specific cell populations. They will use it in mice to target airway cells that express the ACE2 protein – the receptor that…

2020

science

17 June 2020 Crystal selection for X-ray diffraction experiments.

Investigating the structure and mechanisms of coronavirus biomolecules

Science While global research on coronaviruses has shed light on the function of many SARS-CoV-2 proteins, the role of some crucial components remains unknown. Researchers at EMBL Grenoble will use a range of structural biology methods to try to solve some of the puzzles of the molecular mechanics of…

2020

science

16 June 2020 Tissue culture plates in an incubator.

Understanding how SARS-CoV-2 behaves in the gut

Science 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

science

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

Genetic cut and paste at atomic resolution

Science 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

science

9 June 2020 Beamline Hamburg

Shining high-brilliance beams on coronavirus structure

Science 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

science

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 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

science

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

Enabling functional genomics studies in individual cells

Science 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

science

27 May 2020 Automated sample changer and diffractometer at the ID30B X-ray crystallography beamline at ESRF Grenoble.

Facilitating COVID-19 structural biology research

Science EMBL and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) restart the activities of the Joint Structural Biology Group in Grenoble to support coronavirus-related projects. A new initiative will allow users to be granted access to the High-Throughput Crystallisation (HTX) lab at EMBL and to a…

2020

science

22 May 2020

The hunt for neutralising antibodies against SARS-CoV-2

Science 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

science

22 May 2020

EMBL scientists investigate rare lung disease

Science 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

science

15 May 2020 Cell division

Tracing the origins of cells

Science 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

science

13 May 2020 Close-up photograph of servers at EMBL Heidelberg's data centre.

Understanding the role of our genes in SARS-CoV-2 infections

Science EMBL scientists will contribute to the new German COVID-19 OMICS Initiative to study the biological mechanisms contributing to coronavirus infections. EMBL group leaders Jan Korbel and Oliver Stegle, who is also affiliated with the DKFZ Heidelberg, will coordinate the set-up of IT infrastructures…

2020

science

11 May 2020

EMBL SPC facility supports COVID-19 projects

Science 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

science

29 April 2020 The Influenza virus

Understanding the influenza virus

Science 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

science

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

Exploring synthetic antibodies to stop coronavirus

Science 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

science

24 April 2020 Collage of images representing wet and dry lab research and healthcare

Why share data during a pandemic?

Science In March 2020, planes were grounded, streets went quiet, and our lives changed forever. But while the world came to a halt, many scientists were ramping up their efforts to understand the new virus.

2020

science

16 April 2020 Micropipette tips in a liquid-handling robot

Helping to scale up coronavirus testing

Science 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

science

15 April 2020 Purified proteins on an SDS-polyacrylamide gel

Producing proteins for coronavirus research

Science The Protein Expression and Purification Core Facility at EMBL Heidelberg will produce proteins for several coronavirus-related research projects, to assist the development of new strategies to fight the virus.

2020

science

1 April 2020

Understanding brain tumours in children

Science 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

science

11 March 2020 Leukaemia stem cells are located in a patient’s bone marrow (shown here in blue) in the so-called stem cell niche. The green structure is the bone itself. Credit: Dr. Raphael Lutz, Haas Lab

€2.45 m to investigate leukaemia causes and therapies

Science The Heidelberg-based LeukoSyStem consortium investigates leukaemia stem cells in acute myeloid leukaemia. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research financially supports this collaboration between Heidelberg University Hospital, HI-STEM gGmbH, the German Cancer Research Center and EMBL.

2020

science

19 February 2020 Claire Deo

Welcome: Claire Deo

Science New group leader at EMBL Heidelberg employs synthetic chemistry to develop novel tools for biology

2020

science

5 February 2020

Protecting data in the cloud

Science 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

science

5 February 2020

Cancer mutations occur decades before diagnosis

Science 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

science

5 February 2020

Analysis of human genomes in the cloud

Science 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

science

5 February 2020

Chromothripsis in human cancer

Science Researchers at Harvard Medical School and EMBL-EBI have carried out the largest analysis across cancer types of the newly discovered mutational phenomenon chromothripsis.

2020

science

5 February 2020

Finding genetic cancer risks

Science Using the data from the Pan-Cancer project EMBL scientists describe how our genetic background influences cancer development.

2020

science

27 January 2020 Maria Bernabeu

Welcome: Maria Bernabeu

Science New group leader at EMBL Barcelona is investigating how malaria affects the human circulatory system

2020

science

29 November 2019 Choanocyte chamber of sponge, with neuroid cell

Neural pathways

Science Exploring the diverse routes by which EMBL scientists are driving forward neurobiology

2019

science

15 July 2019 The pyramids represent chromatin domains in the wild-type situation. The reflection in the water below represents the rearrangements in the mutant fruit fly chromosomes. At first glance the (regulatory) landscapes look very similar, but there are lots of changes to the topology, and yet these have little impact on the nature of the landscape (gene expression). IMAGE: Beata Edyta Mierzwa in collaboration with EMBL.

Rearranging chromosomes

Science Does rearranging chromosomes affect their function? EMBL scientists reveal uncoupling of 3D chromatin organisation and gene expression.

2019

science

11 July 2019 Structure of the Elongator complex

A tRNA modifier at work

Science Using cryo-EM, scientists have determined the structure of a large protein complex called Elongator.

2019

science

1 July 2019 The dynamic process of cell division.

Drawing knowledge

Science A conversation about art-science collaborations and the importance of drawing in biology.

2019

science

29 April 2019 This illustration, based on real data shows the heart of a Japanese rice fish. The green and blue laser beams demonstrate how the newly developed 3D imaging microscope is scanning the heart.

New 3D microscope

Science A newly developed 3D microscope visualises fast biological processes better than ever.

2019

science

22 August 2018

Welcome: Jim Swoger

Science New head of the Mesoscopic Imaging Facility at EMBL Barcelona will help scientists visualise nature

2018

science

9 July 2018 Miki Ebisuya at EMBL Barcelona

Welcome: Miki Ebisuya

Science New group leader at EMBL Barcelona creates artificial biological systems to study animal development

2018

science

28 February 2018

Origins at EMBL

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

2018

science

8 January 2018 A photo of new EMBL Heidelberg group leader Aissam Ikmi.

Welcome: Aissam Ikmi

Science New group leader studies sea anemones to investigate why some animals regenerate better than others

2018

science

24 November 2017 Cryo-electron tomograms of intact cells reveal molecular landscapes.

Welcome: Julia Mahamid

Science The Mahamid group studies meso-scale molecular assemblies in intact cells and model organisms at molecular resolution

2017

science

3 November 2017 An image of Tara which was sailed around the world for four years during the Tara Oceans expedition. PHOTO by S Bollet/Tara Expeditions

Science at sea

Science A talent for organisation has taken EMBL’s Steffi Kandels-Lewis across the globe

2017

science

21 September 2017

Fish on fire

Science New study by Paola Kuri and Maria Leptin shows how inflammation happens in zebrafish in real time

2017

science

11 August 2017

Welcome: Justin Crocker

Science Meet Justin Crocker, EMBL’s new group leader in gene regulation during evolution and development

2017

science

1 August 2017 EMBL-EBI group leader Zamin Iqbal

Welcome: Zamin Iqbal

Science The Iqbal research group hopes to build a 'Google of bacteria' to help better interpret the genome

2017

science

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

25 May 2017

Sorting out HIV

Science An EMBL collaboration devises a new method that could speed up vaccine development for HIV

2017

science

5 May 2017

Welcome: Jamie Hackett

Science Meet Monterotondo’s new group leader for epigenetic reprogramming and inheritance, Jamie Hackett

2017

science

2 March 2017

Metabolism matters

Science Differentiated and undifferentiated cells get energy in different ways, sensor made at EMBL shows

2017

science

14 February 2017

Lipids in real time

Science A new technique developed at EMBL reveals the way fats interact with other molecules in cells

2017

science

7 December 2016

Cycle of life

Science Paul Nurse’s failed experiment inspired a career that would uncover key mechanisms of cell division

2016

science

3 November 2016

Spiral growth

Science What happens when plant's leaf-placing feedback loop isn't quite right

2016

science

30 August 2016

Gene editing 3.0

Science Emmanuelle Charpentier sheds light on how CRISPR–Cas9 went from side project to global revolution

2016

science

30 August 2016

Atomic proportions

Science EMBL and ESRF scientists and mechanics work together on upgrade for one of Europe’s big X-ray sources

2016

science

30 June 2016

Scientific twins

Science Collaborations shorten distance between EMBL Heidelberg, Germany, and CEITEC in Brno, Czech Republic

2016

science

16 June 2016 Emiko Uchikawa in her lab at EMBL in Grenoble. IMAGE: Isabelle Kling/EMBL

Found in translation

Science Studying at EMBL in Grenoble helps Japanese postdoc see her native country through different eyes

2016

science

21 April 2016 EMBL scientists are discovering and understanding the waves and rhythms inside us. ILLUSTRATION: Aad Goudappel, Rotterdam

The rhythms in life

Science How EMBL scientists are discovering and understanding the waves and rhythms inside us

2016

science

7 April 2016

Welcome: Hiroki Asari

Science Why does a cookie look different depending on how hungry you are? Neuroscientist Asari wants to find out

2016

science

24 March 2016 Zernicka-Goetz lab, University of Cambridge

Foetus, or placenta?

Science Subtle genetic differences destine cells to placenta or animal, very early in embryo development

2016

science

21 March 2016 First complete, real-time recording of starfish egg cell eliminating centrioles shows it handles mature ‘mother’ centrioles (green) and immature ‘daughter’ centrioles (purple) differently.

Mothers and daughters

Science 1st real-time video of starfish egg cell eliminating crucial structures, to ensure embryo viability

2016

science

3 March 2016 Colorised scanning electron micrograph of red blood cell infected with malaria parasites (blue); uninfected cells with a smooth red surface. IMAGE: (CC BY 2.0)

Mapping malaria

Science First detailed atlas of start points for genes expression in malaria-causing parasite

2016

science

12 February 2016 Cells formed circles where blinking happened in a wave, rolling outwards from the centre. IMAGE: EMBL/C.Tsiairis

In sync

Science What do cells in an embryo have in common with schools of fish, swarms of fireflies, and applauding audiences?

2016

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

17 December 2015 Digital zebrafish embryo provided the first complete developmental blueprint of a vertebrate in 2008. IMAGE: EMBL/Keller et al.

SPIM doctors

Science From initial development to a start-up company: Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy (SPIM) at EMBL.

2015

science

2 December 2015 Gut bacteria are more affected by metformin than by the type-2 diabetes it is prescribed to treat. IMAGE: Courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (BY-NC-SA)

Drugging bacteria

Science Commonly used diabetes drug metformin impacts gut bacteria more than disease itself

2015

science

30 October 2015

One hard pull

Science Fibres that pull membrane to form a vesicle exert a force that’s 2500 times a yeast cell’s own weight

2015

science

2 October 2015 The 1000 Genomes Project: a timeline

A lasting legacy

Science 1000 Genomes Project pushed technologies and knowledge forward to understand what is 'normal' human genetic variation

2015

science

1 October 2015 What do diatoms really do? Chris Bowler would like to know. IMAGE: Sebastien Colin

Marine mysteries

Science From the role of diatoms to how life evolved - scientists' pressing questions about life in the sea.

2015

science

23 September 2015

Checkpoint architecture

Science A nuclear pore riddle: how can you use the same number of pieces to form two rings that fit inside each other?

2015

science

22 September 2015

MASSIFly efficient

Science MASSIF-1 processes its 10,000th crystal, less than one year after the beamline became operational.

2015

science

17 September 2015 The scientists combined data from a variety of techniques to better understand how rats – and humans – age. IMAGE: Brandon Toyama/Salk Institute

Ages apart

Science Multifaceted approach reveals how brain and liver age, helps explain why ageing brain loses plasticity.

2015

science

24 August 2015

An ocean odyssey

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

2015

science

20 August 2015

Life in 3D

Science EMBL scientists map ‘switches’ for distant control of gene expression.

2015

science

10 August 2015 DREAM challenges

Life is but a DREAM

Science Crowd sourcing initiative to predict effects of toxic compounds: results of 2013 DREAM Challenge.

2015

science

21 May 2015

It runs in the family

Science Detailed structural study shows distantly related viruses share a common machinery for replication.

2015

science

21 May 2015

Sense of space

Science EMBL scientists demonstrate that spatial constraints are a key factor in determining nucleus size.

2015

science

7 May 2015

Taking out the trash

Science Unveiling the shape of... the 'molecular bin man' – cryoEM helps reveals p62 polymer in 3D.

2015

science

29 April 2015

Element of surprise

Science Radiocarbon studies are helping researchers shine light on how neurons stay stable yet adaptable.

2015

science

6 April 2015

Bypassing errors

Science Coin toss inspires CorMap: a new statistical test that sidesteps need for error estimation.

2015

science

16 March 2015

No humans required

Science New fully automated technique enables scientists to chart complex protein networks in living cells.

2015

science

4 March 2015 Where and when are different molecules contributing to the bending of the membrane? IMAGE: EMBL/A. Picco

Best of three worlds

Science Combining three different kinds of microscopy to determine how molecules move during endocytosis.

2015

science

25 February 2015 The team used computer simulations to investigate the mitotic spindle's strength. IMAGE: EMBL/F. NÉDÉLEC

Under pressure

Science How strong does a spindle need to be? Videos put cell’s chromosome-separating machinery to the test

2015

science

6 February 2015 A new way mice keep iron (purple) out of reach of pathogens. IMAGE FROM GUIDA et al. BLOOD 2015

The battle for iron

Science New way mice starve pathogens raises alternative approach to treatments for anaemia of chronic disease

2015

science

4 February 2015 The new method helps identify which mutations to a gene actually cause a disease. IMAGE FROM THORMAEHLEN ET AL.

Beyond sequencing

Science New microscopy-based method goes beyond gene sequencing, pinpointing the cause of disease.

2015

science

28 January 2015 Barcoding enables scientists to search for epigenetics tags in many samples at once. IMAGE: MANUEL (CC BY 2.0)

Barcoding epigenetics

Science New Bar-ChIP method makes it easier to search for epigenetic marks in many samples at once

2015

science

27 January 2015 Building blocks TAF8 (blue), TAF10 (green) and TAF2 (not shown) form a module in the cytoplasm before entering the nucleus to form TFIID. IMAGE: EMBL/I.BERGER

Come together

Science First experimental proof that a key cellular machine forms by uniting pre-assembled modules.

2015

science

26 January 2015

Light years ahead

Science As EMBL Hamburg celebrates 40 years, we explore the past, present and future of crystallography.

2015

science

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

9 December 2014 A bundle of nerves that relays information from touch receptors on the skin to the spinal cord and ultimately the brain, imaged with the new technique. IMAGE: EMBL/L.CASTALDI

Delighting in detail

Science Unprecedented detail in images of mouse neurons thanks to new SNAP-tagging microscopy technique.

2014

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