The Genographic Project confirms that humans emigrated from Africa through Arabia

Modern humans emigrated from Africa along a southerly route, via Arabia, rather than a northerly path through Egypt, as had been thought up to now. This is the main result of a study coordinated by David Comas, Francesc Calafell and Jaume Bertranpetit, from the Institute of Evolutionary 
Biology (UPF-CSIC) and published in the October online edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution. The paper, in which geneticists from the USA, the Netherlands, India, Russia and China participated, also reveals that our ancestors spread into Eurasia along a route located between Iran and India, and not through the Middle East as scholars had thought. … Continue reading The Genographic Project confirms that humans emigrated from Africa through Arabia

Postdoctoral Position in Signaling and Gene Expression in Immune Cells

The immunology group of the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences of the UPF seeks for a candidate to apply to the next Juan de la Cierva Programme call (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación). This competitive call of three-year contracts will open for applications around February 2012 and is expected to resolve around June 2012. Details: Postdoctoral Position in  Immunology Continue reading Postdoctoral Position in Signaling and Gene Expression in Immune Cells

Muscle or mosaic?

Muscle or mosaic? This image by Francesc Sànchez Corredera, from Esther Barreiro’s lab on Molecular mechanisms of lung cancer predisposition (IMIM-Hospital del Mar), is a 3m thick sample of a Guinea pig diaphragm muscle, dyed with an Anti-Myosin Type II antibody and amplified 20 times. The protein myosin II is expressed in fast muscle fibres, but not in slow ones. This is why in this image we can see the fast muscle fibres in which myosin II is present dyed in brown, while the slow muscle fibres are negative (not dyed and therefore white). This way, researchers can count the number of … Continue reading Muscle or mosaic?

“Millions of our cells die through apoptosis every day” – Apoptotic signalling research group at the IMIM

Gabriel Gil has directed the Apoptotic Signalling research group of the IMIM since 2000. Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is a physiological process with an essential role both during development and in the adult organism. “The epithelium of our body renews each day, in such a way that millions of cells die through apoptosis daily. Self-reactive lymphocytes, which recognise the body’s own antigens and which can attack it, are also eliminated by apoptosis”, explains the researcher. The absence of apoptosis, on the other hand, is a trait characteristic of the majority of tumours. “Apoptosis is, in fact, a safeguard mechanism … Continue reading “Millions of our cells die through apoptosis every day” – Apoptotic signalling research group at the IMIM

Divide and conquer

In this image by Cristina Morera from the CMRB, taken with a SP5 Leica confocal microscope, a mouse stem cell can be seen dividing. The DNA is highlighted in blue, the pluripotency marker Oct4 in red, and α-tubulin, one of the main components of cell cytoskeleton microtubules, in green. The α-tubulin enables the observation of the cell in metaphase, the stage of cell division where the pairs of chromosomes (blue) are aligned in the centre of the cell. Later, the chromosomes will be separated and divided between the two daughter cells by the mitotic spindle formed of microtubules (green). Continue reading Divide and conquer

“Habitual competitors are now working together to get better toxicity predictions”

Ferran Sanz (IMIM-UPF) tells us about the eTOX project in a recent interview published in El·lipse, the monthly PRBB publication. The electronic toxicology project (eTOX) started in January 2010 as one of the projects funded in the first call of the IMI (Innovative Medicines Initiative), a unique public-private partnership between the European Community and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). Ferran Sanz, director of the Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB, IMIM-UPF) and academic coordinator of eTOX, evaluates the project’s achievements so far as very positive. What exactly is eTOX about? All IMI projects, including eTOX, bring … Continue reading “Habitual competitors are now working together to get better toxicity predictions”

3D embryos

3D embryo The image, by Laura Quintana (CRG) shows a mouse embryo with double antibody staining for Neurofilament (blue) and E-cadherin (green) proteins, labelling the nervous system and the internal organs respectively. It was captured using OPT (Optical Projection Tomography), a microscopy technique for 3D imaging of specimens of between 1mm-1cm. The OPT scanner projects light through the cleared specimen (a specimen made transparent using a clearing solution), taking 400 images as it rotates 360º. Those images are reconstructed using computer software to create a 3D image of the whole specimen. Since it uses diverse UV-filters and white light, multiple … Continue reading 3D embryos

“Alzheimer’s is the price we pay for a life of thinking” – Ageing brain research group of the CEXS-UPF

All four of the PhD students in the ageing brain research group of the CEXS-UPF studied biology at the UPF. “It is our direct source of students!”, says Paco Muñoz López, head of the group and professor at that university. A postdoctoral researcher completes the group, which focuses on nitro-oxidative stress and its link to Alzheimer’s disease. “The most important risk factor in Alzheimer’s disease is age –says Muñoz–. About 10% of the population over 65 suffer Alzheimer’s, but the percentage goes up to 50% in over 80 year-olds. I think it’s just the price to pay for a life … Continue reading “Alzheimer’s is the price we pay for a life of thinking” – Ageing brain research group of the CEXS-UPF