A look back at some of the most read stories on EMBL’s news website this year
From the launch of a new site in Barcelona to the election of Edith Heard as EMBL’s new Director General to EMBL alumnus Jacques Dubochet scooping the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 2017 has been an incredible year at EMBL.
In another research success story, Lars Steinmetz’s group at EMBL, in collaboration with collaborators at the German Cancer Research Centre, discovered that stem cells evolve into a specific cell type without passing through intermediate cell types.
In May, James Sharpe was appointed Head of EMBL’s Barcelona site. The new unit, which focuses on tissue biology and disease modelling, will make state-of-the-art imaging technologies such as optical projection tomography – a method invented by Sharpe – available to scientists worldwide.
Edith Heard was selected as EMBL’s fifth Director General by the EMBL Council in June. Heard, whose mandate will begin on 1 January 2019, is the first woman to be appointed as EMBL Director General. The selection committee commended Heard’s clear scientific vision, participatory leadership style and engagement at all levels of research, service and training.
The Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) was inaugurated this summer. The CSSB will enhance collaboration, innovation and mentoring opportunities for young researchers working on structural biology.
The name of EMBL’s unit in Italy has been changed to Epigenetics and Neurobiology Unit, EMBL Rome, a name that better reflects its new research focuses and highlights its location for EMBL’s international audience.
German state and federal governments agreed on funding for a high-resolution microscopy centre at EMBL Heidelberg. The new centre for light and electron microscopy will be a unique service facility for the life sciences and unite cutting-edge equipment, experts and data analysis.
A technique first developed at EMBL in Heidelberg was recognised with a Nobel Prize in October, when EMBL alumnus Jacques Dubochet was awarded the chemistry prize for developing a method to freeze thin layers of solutions of enzymes or viruses without forming ice crystals. The technique has enabled the use of cryo-electron microscopy in the life sciences.
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.