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Brain

Formation of a brain

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…

By Mathias Jäger

Picture of the week

Multiple synapse heads send out filopodia (green) converging on one microglia (red), as seen by focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIBSEM).

Captured: microglia nibbling on brain synapses

For the first time, EMBL Rome researchers have captured microglia nibbling on brain synapses on film.…

By Iris Kruijen

Science

What are you scared of?

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

By Guest author(s)

Science

Microglial cells

Locating ground zero

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

By Guest author(s)

Science

Artist's impression of a chromosome exploding

Rigged to explode?

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

By Guest author(s)

Science

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

Gardening in the brain

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

By Guest author(s)

Science

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

Brainy worms: Evolution of the cerebral cortex

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

By Guest author(s)

Science

Freeze or run? Not that simple

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

By Guest author(s)

Science

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

Digital Embryo gains wings

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

By Guest author(s)

Science

New research sheds light on the molecular basis of crib death

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

By Guest author(s)

Science

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