Heidelberg, 1 June 2020 Enabling functional genomics studies in individual cells Scientists at EMBL Heidelberg have developed a new method, called Targeted Perturb-seq (TAP-seq), which increases the scale and precision of functional genomics CRISPR–Cas9 screens by orders of magnitude. Their method overcomes limitations in previous applications of single-cell RNA sequencing, and will enable scientists to perform functional genomics experiments on an unprecedented scale.
Grenoble, 27 May 2020 Facilitating COVID-19 structural biology research EMBL and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) restart the activities of the Joint Structural Biology Group in Grenoble to support coronavirus-related projects. A new initiative will allow users to be granted access to the High-Throughput Crystallisation (HTX) lab at EMBL and to a macromolecular crystallography (MX) beamline at the ESRF with a single project proposal.
Grenoble, 27 May 2020 Novel method sheds new light on tumour-suppressing RNA The method was used to characterize a human tumour-suppressing RNA, but may also have potential applications in viral RNA research, such as from SARS-CoV-2. The description of this new approach has been presented in Nature Protocols on 25 May 2020.
Hinxton, 26 May 2020 Distinguishing coronavirus genome mutations from inadvertent errors EMBL scientists have performed a large-scale analysis of over 4700 SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences. They found that many of the most interesting changes in the SARS-CoV-2 genome that have been reported so far are likely to be technical artefacts, rather than biological mutations. The analysis reveals a need for cautious interpretation of sequencing data to identify mutations within the virus’s genome.
Heidelberg, 25 May 2020 New collaborations to explore nuclear architecture Earlier this year, around 80 participants from across EMBL’s sites and units met at EMBL Heidelberg for a symposium on nuclear architecture – the spatial arrangement of molecular machines and DNA in the cell’s core. During the symposium, the organisers announced a competition for two seed grants to fund research projects related to nuclear architecture, developed as collaborative projects by teams of PhD students or postdocs from different labs.
Heidelberg, 22 May 2020 The hunt for neutralising antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 Scientists hope that a legacy of the novel coronavirus in recovered COVID-19 patients – antibodies in their blood – could lead to drugs to treat others. The Merten group at EMBL Heidelberg has pivoted its microfluidics platform to support the search for neutralising antibodies that could potentially stop the infection before it enters the cell.
Heidelberg, 22 May 2020 EMBL scientists investigate rare lung disease Researchers in EMBL’s Zaugg group have studied the causes of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a rare disease that causes high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. The study, carried out in collaboration with Stanford University School of Medicine, compared lung cells of patients with the disease with those of healthy individuals. Instead of finding a single clear cause, their results showed large epigenetic disturbances.