LMB In The News


Studying the Individual Cell

“Researchers are taking advantage of new tools and techniques in imaging, sequencing, and proteomics to zoom in on what single cells are doing … Paul Dear at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology says that single-cell analysis is going to explode — and test the paradigm that all cells in a body have identical genomes. “I think we are going to see a lot more cell-cell variation,” he says. Right now, though, Dear is focusing on cancer as those individual cells have lots of genomic differences.” More…

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Clocking off: the new science of sleep

“Does your body run like clockwork? As Week 7 fatigue sets in, Michael Hastings writes on what recent discoveries in genetics mean for our sleeping patterns … Dr Michael Hastings is a Cambridge neuroscientist, based at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, specialising in the molecular neurobiology of circadian body clocks.” More…

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Newly elected Fellows

“Seventy-eight microbiologists have been elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology. Fellows of the Academy are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology… including Andrew A. Travers” More…

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Genetic coding revamp

“Scientists have developed a new genetic language using a ribosome that can read instructions that are 4 base pairs long, enabling the construction of designer proteins containing a variety of unnatural elements, according to a study published online today (February 14) in Nature… synthetic biologist Jason Chin of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, and his colleagues decided to devise a system that could read codons that are 4 base pairs long. Such a system could “open the door to what will be [the] truly revolutionary possibility [of creating] genetically coded polymers comprised of up to 256 [unique] building blocks.” More…

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A new line of research in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

“Etienne-Emile Baulieu’s research team (Inserm research unit 788 “Steroids, neuroprotection et neuroregeneration”), in collaboration with Michel Goedert (who originally characterised the Tau protein in Alzheimer’s disease in 1998) have just identified an interaction between the dysfunctional Tau protein and another protein, FKBP52. Using tools from biochemistry and molecular biology, the researchers established that there was a specific physical link between these two proteins in the brain. They demonstrated in vitro that the FKBP52 protein suppressed activity of the Tau protein, and hence prevented its role in the assembly of microtubules, known for their role in transporting nutrient and information-bearing molecules into the cell…” More…

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Flash frozen under the electron microscope: Examining the mechanical properties of Alzheimer’s amyloid fibrils

“By using electron microscopic images of flash frozen samples, researchers have now been able to examine the exact structure of Alzheimer’s amyloid fibrils and to assess their mechanical properties. As the team reports in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the fibrils are very stiff — one of the underlying causes of their pathogenicity. Because amyloid fibrils are very difficult to analyze with traditional biophysical techniques, Marcus Fändrich (Max Planck Unit for Enzymology of Protein Folding, Halle/Saale, Germany), Carsten Sachse (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK), and Nikolaus Grigorieff (Brandeis University, Waltham, USA) were forced to take another approach: They examined Alzheimer’s amyloid fibrils by electron cryomicroscopy.” More…

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Venki Ramakrishan chosen for ‘Padma Vibhushan’, India’s highest civilian award

“Padma Awards, the country’s highest civilian awards, are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri… ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year and are conferred by the President of India at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan sometime around March/ April…” More…

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Nobel Prize winners visit Downing Street

“British winners of the prestigious Nobel Prize have gathered at Downing Street to celebrate their achievements … Guests included recent winner Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a structural biologist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, who received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry…” More…

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3D structure of PI3Kdelta: An important drug target for a wide range of diseases

“Intellikine announced today the publication of an article entitled, “The p110delta structure: mechanisms for selectivity and potency of new PI(3)K inhibitors,” now available as an advanced online publication at Nature Chemical Biology…The pioneering work was the result of a collaboration led by Roger Williams, Ph.D., Professor in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, U.K., and it included scientists from the University of California, San Francisco, Intellikine in La Jolla, California, and Merck-Serono Research Center in Geneva, Switzerland.” More…

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An Austrian biotech firm that moved into Cambridge in 2008 has raised £7.2m (EUR 8m)

“f-star, which has developed novel antibody engineering technology, moved to the Babraham Research campus in March 2008 in order to build closer links with the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge – an acknowledged world leader in antibody science.” More…

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