The next international conference on computational molecular biology, in April in Barcelona

RECOMB 2012, the 16th Annual International Conference on Research in Computational Molecular Biology, will take place in Barcelona on April 21-24, 2012. It is being organised by Roderic Guigó, from the CRG. Check out this video where he presents the meeting. The meeting will focus on the computational challenges arising from the extraordinary developments in high throughput technologies. You can check the updates on the speakers and the program on the conference website. As the organisers point out, the meeting overlaps with Sant Jordi (Saint George), on April 23, the patron of Catalonia, and one of the most important civic … Continue reading The next international conference on computational molecular biology, in April in Barcelona

Breast cancer, osteoporosis and vitamin D

Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are used in the treatment of estrogen–dependent breast and ovarian cancer in postmenopausal women, since the enzyme aromatase synthesizes estrogen. However, their use implies risk of osteoporosis and bone loss, and is associated with increased fracture rates. It is thought that vitamin D might play a role in minimising this effect. To test this, Xavier Nogués and colleagues from the Genetic Study of Osteoporosis research group at the IMIM-Hospital del Mar have recently undergone a study in which they followed up a cohort of 232 women under AI treatment for early breast cancer. These women were ineligible for bisphosphonate therapy (usually used to … Continue reading Breast cancer, osteoporosis and vitamin D

The Jennifer Aniston neuron

No, we don’t mean to say that Rachel from “Friends” has only one nerve cell… This was the title of the talk Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, from the University of Leicester, gave at the PRBB a couple of weeks ago. This physicist did a PhD in maths and then turned to neuroscience, something that fascinates him. “I can see you. Isn’t this amazing?”, he said to start the talk. As the Chilean researcher said, we can all remember and have emotions. How do neurons do that? This is what Quian Quiroga has been trying to understand for the last 10 years, … Continue reading The Jennifer Aniston neuron

Extracellular fibrinogen: the bad and the ugly in DMD

Having been for a long time in the radar of Pura Muñoz Cánoves from the CEXS-UPF, she could now demonstrate that the severity in muscular dystrophy is fibrinogen dependent. This fibrin precursor, which is never located outside of the vascular compartment in healthy muscle, is deposited in the extracellular matrix in mdx mice, the animal model for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). In their paper published in Human Molecular Genetics the researchers could furthermore show that the mechanisms supporting disease progression depend on the αMß2-binding motif of fibrinogen. Once this motif was experimentally eliminated from the fibrinogen gamma chain, this was sufficient … Continue reading Extracellular fibrinogen: the bad and the ugly in DMD

Studying two very particular ethnic groups: from Pygmies to Basques

Pygmies, everyone knows, present the lowest height among humans – adult men grow to less than 150 cm. One can find pygmy populations not only in Africa, but also in Australia, Brazil and several countries in Asia. The fact that populations in such diverse locations all have short stature in common suggests the presence of strong selective pressures on this phenotype, but this has never been proved. David Comas and colleagues from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE: CSIC-UPF) have recently published in the journal Human Genetics the first genetic hint of adaptive evolution in the African Pygmy phenotype. They have developed a … Continue reading Studying two very particular ethnic groups: from Pygmies to Basques

Focus on addiction: a CSHL course at the PRBB

Next July 18-25 a Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory (CSHL) summer course on “Cellular biology of addiction” will take place at the PRBB. The deadline for registration has just been extended until March 30, so hurry up!! The course is organized by Rafael Maldonado, from the UPF and it is addressed both to experienced researchers and those new to the field. Its aim is to explain and discuss the latest advances and the major gaps in cell and molecular biology of drug addiction, although other subjects such as learning, memory and drug development will also be included. The course is co-organized … Continue reading Focus on addiction: a CSHL course at the PRBB

The role of Pap1 in oxidative stress and drug resistance

The transcription factor Pap1 in fission yeast is the homologue of mammalian c-Jun, which is part of the AP-1 complex that regulates genes controlling cellular differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis. Pap1 was identified, because it confers resistance to several drugs and it was also seen that this phenomenon is associated with the activation of oxidative stress signaling pathways in several microbes. Surprisingly, recent research by the Oxidative Stress and Cell Cycle group of Elena Hidalgo from the CEXS-UPF demonstrates now that the gain of drug resistance does not correlate with enhanced tolerance to oxidative stress. The article published in Nucleic Acid Research … Continue reading The role of Pap1 in oxidative stress and drug resistance

Advances in prostate and urothelial cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Western men and, when the disease is advanced, no curative agents are available. Joaquim Bellmunt, from the Medical Oncology department of the Hospital del Mar, researcher at the IMIM and professor at the UPF, has recently written a report on recent advances in the management of high-risk localized and metastatic prostate cancer. Together with some colleagues, Bellmunt participated in the 3rd annual Interactive Genitourinary Cancer Conference, held in Budapest last spring, and has summarized what was discussed there for the British Journal of Urology International. The report includes debates over radical prostatectomy … Continue reading Advances in prostate and urothelial cancer

Her Majesty the Queen visits our research park

The March 2012 edition of the PRBB newspaper, El.lipse, a monthly bilingual newspaper, is now available. To download a PDF version please click here. You can see a multimedia version here. Her Majesty the Queen of Spain has visited the FPM at the PRBB this February. Also, find out about the core facilities coalition that supports research at the park. Matthieu Louis, from the Centre for Genomic regulation (CRG), tells us about his research into Drosophila neuroscience, and Anna Bigas (IMIM-Hospital del Mar Research Institute) explains her life as a scientist. Other news include the repositioning of drugs for rare diseases; improving the value … Continue reading Her Majesty the Queen visits our research park

Repairing muscle after injury

Repairing a tissue after an injury requires the infiltration of inflammatory cells and the activation of the resident stem cells, which will restore the damaged tissue. But for full tissue recovery to happen, the inflammation that is first necessary must be resolved. The Myogenesis research group at the CEXS-UPF, led by Pura Muñoz-Cánoves, has recently provided evidence of how this happens. For the inflammation to disappear, macrophages (a type of immune cells that are involved in the healing of muscle and other tissues) must switch from a pro-inflammatory to an anti-inflammatory phenotype. While it is known that disturbing the interactions … Continue reading Repairing muscle after injury