How much pollution are you exposed to? Ask your smartphone!

  Exposure assessment in epidemiological studies is a tricky issue, because of the difficulty of constantly tracking people’s activity and location, both of which can affect the exposure to pollution. Researchers at CREAL have shown how using smartphone technology can help to reduce this bias in health effects estimates. Audrey de Nazelle, a postdoc at Mark Nieuwenhuijsen’s lab who has currently started her own group at the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College in London, used the CalFit smartphone technology to track person-level time, geographic location, and physical activity patterns for improved air pollution exposure assessment. CalFit is a ubiquitous … Continue reading How much pollution are you exposed to? Ask your smartphone!

Understanding cannabis

Cannabis has a long history of use as medicine, with historical evidence dating back more than 4000 years.  The potential therapeutic benefits of cannabinoid compounds are huge, but this substance can also have negative effects. A recent paper by Andrés Ozaita and colleagues at the Neurophar laboratory of Rafael Maldonado (CEXS-UPF) has given new insights into the molecular mechanisms that underlie cannabinoid-mediated effects. Using mice as a model system, the authors had previously shown that blocking the mTOR pathway prevented the amnesic-like effects of THC (a synthetic form of cannabinoid). In the present study, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, they have gone further, … Continue reading Understanding cannabis

From one to billions of cells – new techniques to understand our origins

The transition from single-celled organisms to multicellular animals (metazoans) is one of the most mysterious open questions in biology. To understand the mechanisms involved in this transition it is vital to study the closest unicellular relatives of metazoans. But the analyses on these protists have been severely limited by the lack of transgenesis tools and the difficulty in culturing these simple organisms. In this article published in Developmental Biology, the Multicellgenome lab the led by Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo at the IBE (CSIC-UPF) presents the first techniques of cell transformation and gene silencing developed in a close relative of metazoans, the ichthyosporean … Continue reading From one to billions of cells – new techniques to understand our origins