El·lipse: Last edition of 2013!

The 2nd CEXS-UPF Symposium on Evolutionary Biology that took place in November at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) opens this edition of El·lipse, the park’s monthly newspaper. Also on the topic of evolution, Salvador Carranza (IBE) tells us about his research on reptile phylogeny. Other news include new findings on senescence and embryo development, lung cancer diagnosis, ‘mini-kidneys’ created from human stem cells, the benefits of long-term breastfeeding, new molecules involved in metastasis or computational models to decipher biological problems. On a more personal note, Baldomero Oliva (UPF) tells us about his scientific career and the secret to become … Continue reading El·lipse: Last edition of 2013!

“Stem cells are enormous help in improving scientific knowledge”

Carles Miquel Colell, coordinator of the Research and Innovation programme for the Generalitat’s Department of Health, is Chairman of the CMRB Ethics Committee (CEIC). Doctor of internal medicine by profession, he started off in the world of healthcare, proceeded to healthcare management, teaching, and currently, research coordination. Dr. Miquel explains the whys and wherefores of the CEIC of the CMRB. How long has the committee existed? In Spain in 2006, a unique approval mechanism was created to establish certain safeguards in the use of pre-embryos left over from in vitro fertilization for stem cell research. In particular, it is necessary … Continue reading “Stem cells are enormous help in improving scientific knowledge”

Notch in normal and leukemic cells

Anna Bigas and Lluís Espinosa, of the Stem Cell and Cancer group of the IMIM are two principal investigators who have joined forces to investigate different aspects of cancer development. Together with their jointed group of 14 researchers, Bigas focuses on hematopoietic stem cells, while Espinosa concentrates on solid cancer and intestinal stem cells. Bigas aims to understand how a pluripotent stem cell becomes a hematopoietic stem cell during embryogenesis. `It is a great challenge in the regenerative medicine field to understand where these stem cells come from and how they conserve this self- renewing capacity which enables them to … Continue reading Notch in normal and leukemic cells

El·lipse: Celebrating the 5th PRBB Open Day

The 5th Open Day at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) opens this edition of El·lipse, the park’s monthly newspaper. Other news include the celebration of the CRG 10th anniversary, new proteins important for cell division or for tumour growth, how stem cell dysfunction links cancer and ageing or a new drug against skin cancer. You will also learn about the “Jennifer Aniston” neurone from Rodrigo Quian, from the University of Leicester (UK), or about the effects of radiations from mobile phones on our health, a subject that Elisabeth Cardis (CREAL) and her group are studying. You can read a multimedia … Continue reading El·lipse: Celebrating the 5th PRBB Open Day

Learning about aging from induced stem cells

Research on human aging is a hot topic nowadays, due to a growing aging population and the consequent prevalence of aging-associated diseases such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis or cardiovascular diseases. Researchers at the CMRB review  the use of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) to study the fundamental mechanisms underlying aging in this article published in Current Opinion in Cell Biology. Indeed, hiPSC-based models of aging and aging-related diseases are facilitating the study of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying aging. For example, the use of iPSCs from patients with accelerated aging (like those with Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome) could recapitulate the aging process in … Continue reading Learning about aging from induced stem cells

Converting stem cells into gametes is the most difficult transformation

Cristina Eguizabal came from Cambridge, UK, to the CMRB two and a half years ago to try to get male haploid cells (spermatozoids) from human pluripotent stem cells. She uses both human embryonic cells (hES) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). The first are obtained through fertility clinics from unused fertilised embryos. The hES are isolated from the embryos and derived into cell lines at the Stem Cell Bank of the CMRB, on the 4th floor of the PRBB, where Eguizabal is working under the coordination of Anna Veiga. iPS cells, on the other hand, can be derived in vitro … Continue reading Converting stem cells into gametes is the most difficult transformation

Regenerating broken hearts

Chris Jopling joined the CMRB as a postdoctoral research scientist in June 2007. Since then, he has been investigating heart regeneration in zebrafish. The technicians M. Carme Fabregat and Guillermo Suñé, as well as Veronika Sander, another postdoctoral researcher, collaborate with the English biochemist in this line of research. They are all trying to find out which genes are involved in heart regeneration in the zebrafish, Danio rerio. “You can cut off up to 20% of a ventricle of an adult fish, and in one month it is completely regenerated”, explains Jopling. Mammals are able to regenerate some tissues, such … Continue reading Regenerating broken hearts

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