Tag Archive | developmental biology

8th European Zebrafish Meeting – registration open!

zebrafish mtg logo

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 Sydney Brenner and Prof Denis Duboule, as keynote speakers working with other model organisms, will highlight their discoveries in C.elegans and mouse genetics.

For more information, please see http://www.zebrafish2013.org.

Remember to register early!

Deadline Abstract Submission: 24 March 2013
Deadline Early Registration: 30 May 2013

The extra finger of the chicken

The extra finger of the chicken

In this image from the CMRB we can see the induction of an extra finger in the interdigital space of a chicken. This finger has grown thanks to a microsphere (the blue dot in the image) that is covered in Activin A, a molecule with the ability to form cartilage. The microsphere was introduced in the interdigital space of the chicken embryo when it was 5 days old. After incubating it for 3 more days, the Activin A has induced the formation of the finger.

“The better the people around you are, the better you are yourself”

An interview recently published in Ellipse, the monthly magazine of the PRBB.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABorn in Argentina 59 years ago to a Galician father and a mother from Madrid, Fernando Giráldez grew up between Buenos Aires, Santander, Madrid and Valladolid, where he studied medicine. Ten years ago he joined the CEXS-UPF, where he became director from 2003 until 2006. His hobbies are cooking, history and marathon-running.

Did you always want to be a scientist? 
I chose medicine because it straddles the sciences and humanities. In the seventies, research was still a dream, only done by a few professors in universities. One of them, Carlos Belmonte, from the University of Valladolid, got me hooked.

Was it hard to choose between the lab and the clinic? 
During my military service I was in a neurosurgery unit and I practised clinical medicine. I admire doctors a lot, but I like basic research and the academic life more. Looking back, maybe I would have liked to do research that was closer to medicine.

What was your first research about? 
I did my thesis on the electrophysiological properties of corneal pain receptors. At Cambridge, I continued to study cell membranes and I got even more into the tradition of biophysics.

From Cambridge you came back to Valladolid. 
In 1983 I joined the world of development. Firstly, doing electrophysiology on the otic vesicle (the precursor of the ear). From there I moved into studying growth and cell proliferation and, later on, the molecular biology of development. Quite a change!

You saw the great transformation of biology… 
In the nineties great changes in molecular biology reached vertebrate embryology: the capacity to see and manipulate genes. We changed from only being able to see things, to beginning to understand the mechanisms. It was really interesting to live through this not only technical but also intellectual transformation.

What has your greatest contribution to the field been? 
We incorporated in vitro techniques and this led to the identification of growth factors essential for the development of hearing. After this, we contributed to the knowledge of the first stages of sensory cell and auditory neurone development.

As well as doing research, you also teach. 
I love teaching. In the second year of my degree I started giving classes to other students and I haven’t stopped since. Explaining something that took me a lot of effort to understand and seeing that in a couple of days the students are able to talk about it confidently is very gratifying.

What does being located in the PRBB offer? 
There is magnificent infrastructure here and lots of informal help between the scientists, exchanges of ideas and techniques. In a less tangible way, the PRBB collectively imposes high standards. The better the people around you are, the better you are yourself.

What do you need to do research? 
A modicum of ability, a certain level of ambition and the will to excel, a good dose of work and perseverance. But you learn research by doing it and there’s nothing better than doing it alongside good people, who set the standard.

The path to life of the zebrafish

The path to life of the zebrafish

This picture of the department of Histology and Bioimaging of the CRMB shows different stages of Zebrafish embryonic development using a confocal laser microscope. The actin is stained red and in blue the yolk, which feeds the developing embryo. The phases are fist one cell, then two cells, four, and finally the result 48 hours after fertilization.

Coloring the formation of the skeleton

Coloring the formation of the skeleton

During the endochondral bone formation of vertebrates, the mesenchyme condensates and gives rise to cartilage which eventually is replaced by bone. In the picture performed by Ulrike Brandt-Bohne from the Genes and Disease Department of the CRG the bones of a newborn mouse are stained pink and the cartilages which are not ossified stained blue with an Alcian Blue/Alzizarin Red Skeletal Staining procedure. The aim of this staining was to visualize the skeletal structure of WT (wild type) versus mutant mouse models in order to detect changes in the skeletal morphology.

Moving in, moving out

With more than 1,400 people working at the PRBB, the movement of researchers coming and going is constant.

One of the most recent acquisitions is Eduard Sabidó, who has just arrived to be the new head of the CRG/UPF Proteomics Unit. Eduard is coming from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Zurich (ETHZ)  and will be leading this core facility which offers service to the whole park and beyond.

A new young group leader has also joined the CRG recently. The French molecular biologist Guillaume Filion (who, as we mentioned in an earlier post, is currently looking for a postdoc) was last at The Netherlands Cancer Institute, in Amsterdam, where he did a postdoc during three years. His research group on Genome Architecture is focused on understanding the ‘regulatory genome’ – that is, the largest amount of the genome which does not code for proteins. We hope to be posting some more news on his research soon!

And while some come, others go… Hernán López-Schier and his group will sadly be leaving the Cell and developmental biology programme of the CRG in March. After nearly 6 years at the CRG, the Sensory Cell Biology and Organogenesis group is moving north to Munich. Hernán will become director of the Department of Sensory Biology & Organogenesis at the IDG – Helmholtz Zentrum München. There, the group will continue their research on the acquisition and maintenance of sensory-organ function, using the zebrafish as a model organism. Sabrina Desbordes, currently in this group, is also moving to the same institute to start her own group as a Junior Group Leader. Good luck to both of them!

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