“Science is a good weapon to fight crises”

Ian Mattaj, came to the PRBB last October for the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the CRG. This Scottish researcher is the director of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, the largest molecular biology institution in Europe. He is also president of the CRG’s scientific advisory board, and he gave us his view on science at the CRG, in Catalonia, Spain and Europe. How would you sum up the CRG´s first 10 years? The CRG is remarkably successful for such a young institution. They have been recruiting foreign researchers, not so common in Spain, and they have … Continue reading “Science is a good weapon to fight crises”

Coffee can be good for your brain

Several studies have suggested that daily caffeine administration can protect against brain injury in some cases, for example in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, as well as in ischemic and traumatic brain injury, or allergic encephalitis. Olga Valverde’s group at the CEXS-UPF decided to check if it could also have a positive effect on MDMA-induced neuroinflammation. The recreational drug MDMA, or ecstasy, induces astrocytic and microglial activation in mice striatum, which leads to inflammation and neurotoxicity. They injected caffeine (10, 20, or 30 mg/kg, i.p) for 21 consecutive days into mice, and then on day … Continue reading Coffee can be good for your brain

8th European Zebrafish Meeting – registration open!

The “8th European Zebrafish Meeting” will be held at the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya, 9-13 July 2013.  Organisers include Berta Alsina, from the CEXS-UPF, as well as Angela Nieto (CSIC-Alicante), Paola Bovolenta (CSIC-Madrid), Jose Luis Gómez-Skarmeta (CSIC-Sevilla), Enrique Martin Blanco (CSIC,Barcelona) and Miguel Angel Pardo (Azti-Tecnalia, Derio). The meeting is intended to serve as a platform of communication for researchers working in zebrafish, a community that has expanded exponentially over the last decade. The  European biannual meeting. Among many others, topics will cover new advances in life imaging, patterning, disease models, gene regulation and genomics, circuits and behaviour, drug screening and cancer. Prof … Continue reading 8th European Zebrafish Meeting – registration open!

Improving the prediction of cancer causing mutations

Cancer is generally caused by a combination of many specific mutations, called drivers. But cancer cells contain many other mutations that are not the cause of the cancer, but rather a consequence (passenger mutations). Also, high-throughput genome projects are identifying a huge number of somatic variants. Which ones are cancer-causing? How to distinguish the needle in the haystack? A new computational method recently published in Genome Medicine by the research group led by Núria López-Bigas at the GRIB (UPF-IMIM), can help. Called transformed Functional Impact Score for Cancer (transFIC), it improves the assessment of the functional impact of tumor nonsynonymous … Continue reading Improving the prediction of cancer causing mutations