In Vivo - July 2018

INVIVO - Newsletter of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine - IRB Barcelona
Can't see this properly? Click here JULY 2018

Cancer Cell
Interview with Begoña Cánovas and Ana Igea
The Signalling and Cell Cycle lab recently published an article in Cancer Cell that has aroused great interest in both the scientific community and media & society. The study identified p38 as an ultimate safeguard that allows cancer cells to recover from DNA damage and thus avoid destruction. Begoña Cánovas and Ana Igea are the hands behind the six years of experiments, trials and errors that led to this paper. Read the interview to learn the full story and to discover the link between some annoying, malfunctioning mice and ice-skating.
Cell Chemical Biology
Peptidomimetics POP out as attractive therapeutic targets
Researchers from the Design, Synthesis and Structure of Peptides and Proteins group have honored the lab’s name by synthesizing a new class of covalent inhibitor for a protein involved in brain diseases. Prolyl oligopeptidase (POP) is an enzyme that is highly expressed in brain and it is involved in cognitive and neurodegenerative disorders. This newly developed class of POP inhibitors has a number of interesting features, such as a long half-life, high selectivity and the desired capacity to enter the brain.
Nature Communications
NEK7 key in the formation of memory-related neurons
Centrosomes and microtubules are important not just for mitosis but for the post-mitotic differentiation of cells such as neurons. A study by Francisco Freixo and other researchers from the Microtubule Organization lab, led by Jens Lüders, have reported that the protein NEK7, known to regulate microtubules and centrosomes, is crucial for the correct development of neurons in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in memory formation.
Journal of Cell Biology
Sperm tail development in the spotlight for fertility
In a study published in The Journal of Cell Biology, researchers from the Cell Division lab have identified Centrobin as being involved in sperm tail assembly. In the absence of this microtubular protein, the tail is misshapen, meaning non-motile sperm and thus male sterility.
Machine learning to predict unknown gene functions
The Genome Data Science lab, headed by Fran Supek, has developed a system to study the genes of a wide variety of microorganisms, from the depths of the ocean to gut flora. By building upon ‘big data’ and machine learning, the method studies microbial metagenomes to confidently predict a biological role for a large number of genes with unknown functions.
Tandem Schools project
The Montserrat School in Cornellà opens the 'Joan Guinovart' laboratory
The Tandem Schools project has brought together IRB Barcelona and the Montserrat School in Cornellà in a three-year collaboration to implement educational innovation through science. The project ended with a big party, organised by the school, including science workshops, theatre and the opening of the refurbished school lab, which has been named the "Joan Guinovart Laboratory", to honour the commitment of this IRB Barcelona scientist to to the project.
On sea urchins, science, and emotional drive
Ayşe Gül Süter is IRB Barcelona’s 2018 Artist in Residence, the second artist that the institute has opened its doors to. Based in Istanbul, she arrived in mid-June to get hands-on experience in our labs, mingle with the community, and learn and explore the possibilities science offers. She finds lab life very inspiring and is thinking about capturing her experience in a site-specific installation involving interaction with daylight, and healthy and unhealthy tissues. Don’t miss the interview to find out more about Ayşe.
“2shRNA” to bring about social benefit
The Molecular Modelling and Bioinformatics lab, led by Modesto Orozco, has received an ERC Proof of Concept grant, to test the application of the 2shRNA tool in anti-tumoral therapies. This grant is awarded to back the transfer of research projects to the market. 2shRNA is based on bifunctional RNA that can simultaneously attack two therapeutic targets involved in drug resistance pathways and that can also bind to other molecules to enhance their delivery and efficacy.
And the EMBO award goes to...
The Head of the Stem Cells and Cancer lab, Salvador Aznar Benitah, has been elected EMBO member, thus joining a community of 1800 of the best researchers in Europe and around the world. “This will allow me to strengthen interactions with other European researchers, as well as to stay abreast of new ideas, concepts and technologies,” he says. Salvador Aznar Benitah now accompanies Ferran Azorín, Jordi Casanova, Miquel Coll, Cayetano González, Núria López-Bigas, Raúl Méndez, Angel. R. Nebreda and Manuel Serrano in the EMBO ranks.
Three IRB Barcelona researchers named “Mothers of Science”
Guiomar Solanas, Jelena Urosevic and Lidia Mateo have received "To the Mothers of Science" fellowships by the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST). These awards aim to support women scientists who have the ambition and potential to reach a leading position in research while being a mother at the same time.
Pitching for success
Whether a job interview, a scientific talk, or proposing marriage, the fluency of a good pitch dramatically increases your chances of success. To provide our young scientific community with the best tools to boost their career prospects, the Innovation Department, through the La Caixa Young BiomedTec Programme, organised a 2-day course on pitching. Meet the expert, Beth Sussane, in this interview.
Three initiatives raise money for research at IRB Barcelona
We are most grateful to Carlos, Ester and Xavi for their generous support of IRB Barcelona's research. If you are interested in organising a fundraising activity for IRB Barcelona, please contact us and we will give you further information. Call us on 934031162 or send an email to
Barcelona Biomed Conference
Centrosomes, Cilia and Cell Cycle, together in a Barcelona Biomed Conference
The conference, organised in collaboration with the BBVA Foundation, brought together more than a hundred leading scientists specialised in these fields. Centrosomes, cilia, and their recently established influence on the cell cycle, play a key in role conditions such as cancer, malformations and rare diseases. A deeper understanding of the functions and impairments of these organelles may contribute to the understanding and/or treatment of these diseases.
8-10 APRIL
Drosophila modelling Cancer
Chairs: Ross Cagan (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai) & Cayetano González (IRB Barcelona)
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