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Getting to grips with microphysiological systems at the India-EMBO Lecture Course

A group of meeting attendees looking up at the camera from the lawn outside the conference venue.

16 January 2023

Microphysiological systems (MPS), including organoids and organs-on-a-chip, have received growing attention in recent years. The first meeting in India to focus on this topic was held from 31 October – 4 November 2022, and was part of the India-EMBO Lecture Course series. The Company of Biologists was delighted to help support the meeting with funding that contributed to student accommodation waivers. The meeting brought together students and experts from across India and around the world, and included hands-on sessions to help participants really get to grips with MPS research.

The Transylvanian Experimental Neuroscience Summer School celebrates its tenth year

A group of summer school attendees posing for a group photo, with a backdrop of rolling hills.

26 September 2022

Romania’s Pike Lake is an important refuge for the wide variety of migratory birds that pass through it each year. This summer, it also played host to a community of neuroscientists who had gathered for the tenth edition of the Transylvanian Experimental Neuroscience Summer School (TENSS). Running from 1-21 June 2022, the course was partly funded by one of our Scientific Meeting Grants.

Towards a Mediterranean coral cell atlas

Anthony standing in front of a monastery built into the side of a mountain.

18 August 2022

Rising sea temperatures are having a devastating effect on tropical corals and, sadly, we have become used to seeing images of bleached and dying reefs on the news. However, the impacts on their Mediterranean counterparts have not received as much attention. A Travelling Fellowship helped fund PhD student Anthony Bonacolta’s trip across the Atlantic to Barcelona, where he was able to lay the foundations for the development of a Mediterranean coral cell atlas.

Heading south for the winter with a Travelling Fellowship

A researcher sitting in a car. Her thermo imaging equipment is on the back seat behind her

25 May 2022

Beaks are an important asset for birds that live in environments with limited freshwater. This is because their bills are thought to offer a route for non-evaporative heat loss, helping the birds to regulate their body temperatures without losing water. Mackenzie Roeder, a PhD student from the University of Maine, used a Travelling Fellowship from Journal of Experimental Biology to support her quantification of this effect in the field.

Reprogramming human cells to combat ageing

A person standing in front of a worm-shaped sculpture. A university campus building can be seen in the background

8 April 2022

Ageing is associated with the accumulation of epigenetic­­ changes to a cell’s DNA. Attempts to slow or even reverse ageing understandably attract a lot of attention, and one novel strategy of particular interest is attempting to ‘rejuvenate’ existing cells. With the help of a Travelling Fellowship, PhD student Priscila Chiavellini was able to visit Stanford University to investigate this approach.

A Travelling Fellowship to probe placental cell crosstalk

A lab group posing for a selfie with drinks. They are sitting outside a glass building around some tables.

28 September 2022

The placenta plays a crucial role in human development by supplying the foetus with oxygen and glucose whilst removing waste products. However, when signalling from the placenta goes awry, mothers are at risk of developing an inflammatory condition called preeclampsia. Monika Horvat Merčnik, a student on the international PhD programme ‘Inflammatory disorders in pregnancy’ (DP-iDP), used a Travelling Fellowship from Journal of Cell Science to explore the interactions between placental endothelial cells and resident macrophages in this condition.

A Travelling Fellowship unlocks a new technique

A 3D model of two cells imaged using FIB-SEM, with chromatin and a lagging chromosome highlighted.

19 August 2022

The risk of developing a subtype of leukaemia known as iAMP21-ALL is amplified in individuals that carry the translocated chromosome rob(15;21)c. Connor Gilkes-Imeson used a Travelling Fellowship from Journal of Cell Science to learn 3D correlative light electron microscopy (3D-CLEM), a technique that he plans to apply in his studies of the kinetochore attachments that form at this mutated chromosome.

Promoting structural biology research in Africa

A group of researchers posing for a photo outside a conference centre

2 August 2022

Understanding the structural biology underpinning disease can be crucial for informing drug or vaccine design. For example, structural biology can help researchers understand the mechanism that allows a viral spike protein to bind receptors in our cells. However, structural biology research in Africa is suffering from a lack of resources and, consequently, from the loss of skilled researchers who are moving to pursue a career in this field overseas. To address this, BioStruct-Africa ran a workshop that brought the African structural biology community together by providing training and networking opportunities. BioStruct-Africa was awarded one of our Scientific Meeting Grants to support the event.

Harnessing new tools to probe tubulin tyrosination

Chalets with mountains in the background

11 April 2022

Microtubules are hollow rods that form an important part of the cell cytoskeleton. They are built from polymers of tubulin, a protein that can be modified by the removal (or later re-addition) of an amino acid called tyrosine. Tyrosine modification can affect how the microtubules interact with kinesins, which walk along the microtubules and carry cargo from one part of the cell to another. Proper kinesin function is particularly important in neurons, since these cells can reach remarkable lengths and so transporting cargo from one end to another is a significant undertaking.

Returning to in-person meetings with a DMM Conference Travel Grant

2 March 2022

Dr Mereena Ushakumary is a postdoctoral researcher studying late lung development in Dr Anne-Karina Perl’s laboratory at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. With in-person conferences returning after the disruption of the pandemic, she took the opportunity to attend her first Gordon Research Conference.

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