LMB In The News


Giant new lens shows minutest of cells

“Scientists have come up with a giant-lensed microscope to allow them to see the minutest of cells. The “Mesolens” microscope is described as revolutionary because of how it could transform laboratory researchers’ ability to look at living cells. They will now be able to see them at a level never seen before, the scientists say. The team of Medical Research Council scientists, led by Dr William Amos [LMB] developed the microscope in response to a growing research need to examine larger and larger tissue samples, in particular early stage genetically modified mouse embryos.” This article is no longer available from the source website: Sky News 2 July 2010

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Giant ‘Mesolens’ observes in incredible detail

“Once, microscopes were simple. If you wanted to examine something, you’d kill it, chop it into slices, then stick the slice that you’re interested in under the microscope. Today, however, microscopes are rather more complex — and don’t require the subject to be sliced open before they can be examined. Instead, you just focus the microscope on the exact depth that you’re interested in, using what’s called a Confocal microscope. The way it works is that focus the lens on one tiny spot, using extreme depth of field to blur out the layers you don’t need. You see clearly the layer that interests you, and other layers aren’t visible. This approach was pioneered in the mid-80s by the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, and is now widely in use across the world…” This article is no longer available from the source website: Wired UK 29 June 2010

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One decade on: Sequencing the Human Genome

“Tomorrow marks the 10 year anniversary of sequencing the human genome. Decades of Medical Research Council (MRC) research into DNA and the human genome have led to the development of technologies such as DNA sequencing, fingerprint and chip technology. MRC researchers [including some from LMB] have played a leading role in all stages of the journey in DNA research and its outcomes for society. Building on the expertise of scientists based at its units, the MRC aims to further the understanding of links between genetics and disease.” This article is no longer available from the source website

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The microscope that can see a flea’s beating heart

“The best of the UK’s cutting-edge science, engineering and technology are on display at London’s Southbank Centre as the Royal Society opens its summer science festival. One of the exhibits on display is a giant lens microscope which allows scientists to examine specimens at multiple levels of focus. It can show the crusty skin of a water flea, then zoom in to its beating heart and swivelling eye, and then deeper still to individual cells.” More…

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Grant winners – Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

“Sixteen transnational projects have received EUR24 million (£20 million) in funding under ERASysBio+, an initiative involving ministries and funding agencies from 13 countries that seeks to coordinate national research in systems biology and agree a common European research agenda. The projects below are part of 13 UK-based schemes that will receive EUR7.7 million from the BBSRC.
Award winners: Andrew Cossins, University of Liverpool and Madan Babu, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge. BBSRC funding: EUR660,000. Total funding: EUR1.2 million” More…

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This Week in Science

“In an advance, online publication of Science this week, investigators [Dr KJ Patel] at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, and their colleagues report that the “disruption of both FANCC and [nonhomologous end joining factor] Ku70 suppresses sensitivity to cross-linking agents, diminishes chromosome breaks, and reverses defective homologous recombination” in Fanconi anemia.” More…

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Video interviews of ERBI conference

“This is a series of brief film interviews with entrepreneurs, scientists and company executives from the ERBI region [including Dr Richard Henderson and Sir Gregory Winter from LMB] speaking about a wide range of topical issues such as their careers or their involvement in the biotechnology industry”.

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Heptares Therapeutics extends multi-fte chemistry collaboration with oxygen healthcare (o2h)

“Executives from Heptares Therapeutics (Welwyn Garden City, UK) and O2h (Cambridge, UK) announced today an extension of the agreement under which O2h provides multi-FTE -synthetic chemistry services to support discovery programmes at Heptares… Heptares is a drug discovery company focused on identifying novel drug candidates targeting validated G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in several disease areas. Heptares was founded in 2007 and its StaR technology arose out of the pioneering work of Heptares’ founding scientists at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (Cambridge, UK) and the National Institute for Medical Research (London, UK).” More…

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UK-Europe collaborations harness biology for engineering

“Four new projects, announced today, will develop biological methods that offer a new approach to antibiotic production, power generation for extremely small mechanical components, new classes of medicines and innovative techniques to study cell biology. Teams comprising researchers from the UK and elsewhere in Europe will use synthetic biology to design systems with usefully engineered properties that are based on biology, or that use an engineering approach to pick apart a complex biological process…. Dr Philip Holliger will lead a project based at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology Cambridge with partners from Catholic University of Leuven, University of Bonn and Genoscope in France. The project is to develop synthetic biology methods for producing medicines known as aptamers that are based on nucleic acids (such as RNA and DNA) that have characteristics that are not found naturally.” More…

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How do cells crawl?

“The amoeboid movement by which many types of cell crawl across surfaces has fascinated scientists ever since it was first observed using the earliest microscopes. Until recently, it has remained mysterious how cells extend the thin protrusion, known as a lamellipod, that enables them to move forward. In the past decade, however, extensive experimental work has shown that amoeboid motility is associated with the regulated polymerisation of branched actin filaments within the lamellipod. Now, researchers at the London Centre for Nanotechnology and in Cambridge have developed a physical model that explains how this polymerisation generates motion. In a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Christian Schreiber (Cambridge University), Murray Stewart (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology) and Tom Duke (LCN) propose that the key point is that the packing efficiency of randomly oriented rod-like filaments decreases rapidly as the filaments get longer.” More…

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