VBC PhD student Anete Romanauska wins Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award
The Weintraub Student Award is one of the most prestigious and competitive international student awards recognizing “outstanding achievement during graduate studies in biological sciences”. Anete Romanauska, PhD student in Alwin Köhler’s lab, has been selected as one of twelve students from around the globe in 2020. The award is sponsored by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
DOC Fellowships for PhD students Christina Manakanatas and Laura Santini
The Austrian Academy of Sciences has awarded DOC Fellowships for highly qualified doctoral candidates to students Christina Manakanatas from the lab of Roland Foisner and Laura Santini from Martin Leeb’s group. The fellowship will fund their projects in the fields of stem cell research and the mechanism of the premature ageing disease Hutchinson Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS).
Fungal pathogens tap human iron stores to survive immunity
Infections by human fungal pathogens cause about 1.5 million deaths each year – interfering with iron utilization in the fungus promises new therapeutic approaches. Candida species, the most prevalent opportunistic human fungal pathogens, affect severely immunocompromised individuals, and can cause severe invasive infections. The steep increase in infections by multidrug-resistant Candida glabrata pathogens has been posing serious therapeutic challenges. The prime risk factor for Candida infections is a severe immunosuppression, as often seen in the ageing population, microbial super-infections, organ transplantation patients, HIV cohorts as well as neonates.
How bacteria sense and adjust cell envelope precursors
Bacteria are masters of survival that manage to thrive under often hostile environments. One trick to their survival is their safeguarding envelope. Gram-negative bacteria are protected by a three-layer cell envelope composed of a cell wall sandwiched between two membranes. This structure protects the bacteria from harmful compounds including many antibiotics, which cannot cross this barrier. Boris Görke’s lab has now found out that in Escherichia coli an RNA binding protein senses and regulates synthesis of an important precursor of the bacterial cell envelope.
Calibrating the tools of life scientists: Antibodies
Researchers employ a variety of methods and tools in their day to day work. They rely on that these tools work as they are supposed to. Two new papers from the lab of Egon Ogris now show that several antibodies recognizing the enzyme PP2A, and an antibody widely used in a technique called Myc tagging lack the precision for their intended tasks. Their findings published in “Science Signaling” show that this and other Myc tag antibodies yield inconsistent results depending on the molecular surrounding of the tag, and that antibodies recognizing PP2A often prove to be unsuitable for measuring the activity of this enzyme.
How to pack your genetic suitcase – WWTF grant on chromosome folding awarded
Max Perutz Labs group leader Shotaro Otsuka was awarded a “Life Science” grant by the Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF). This project is a collaboration, led by Daniel Gerlich from the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA), which seeks to unravel the mechanistic basis for how chromatin is condensed into chromosomes during mitosis. The grant is endowed with 700.000 Euros.
Moonstruck worms: how lunar cycles affect metabolic decisions
All organisms need to adjust their energy consumption in response to internal and external signals, thereby allocating energy to growth, reproduction or rest. Florian Raible’s team at the Max Perutz Labs has shed light on how the marine bristle worm Platynereis dumerilii makes key metabolic decisions in response to developmental and environmental cues. Their study is published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)”.
Austrian Science Fund awards funding for stem cell and RNA research projects
Max Perutz Labs group leaders Kristin Tessmar-Raible, Florian Raible and Arndt von Haeseler are part of a special research programme (SFB) grant, awarded by the Austrian Science Fund. The research network will work on stem cell modulation in neural development and regeneration. Congratulations also to Javier Martinez who is part of the “RNA-DECO” special research programme. These grants are the second and third SFBs awarded to scientists from the Max Perutz Labs and the Vienna BioCenter this December.
Understanding how cells target proteins for degradation
The Austrian Science Fund has awarded a special research programme grant to a team of scientists led by researchers at the Max Perutz Labs in collaboration with scientists from other institutes. The programme is coordinated by group leader Sascha Martens and will mechanistically address the question of how the targeted degradation of proteins contributes to health and disease.
Putting a Lid on Multidrug Resistance
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a fundamentally important medical phenomenon that undermines anticancer and anti-infective therapy of cancer or infectious diseases. Researchers of the Max Perutz Labs, a joint venture by the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Vienna, have delineated the molecular mechanism, whereby the human ABCG2 drug transporter drives MDR. The results suggest new therapeutic strategies to prevent MDR by inhibiting the ABCG2 transporter.
Seeing is Believing – Understanding inter-organelle communication with cutting edge microscopy
Shotaro Otsuka did his PhD at Kyoto University in Japan with a major in biophysics. For his postdoctoral research he moved to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory EMBL in Heidelberg. In April 2019 he joined the Max Perutz Labs as a junior group leader.
Four PhD fellowships for Max Perutz Labs students
PhD students Henry Thomas and Claudia Pachinger have been awarded the uni:docs Fellowships. Congratulations also to Katharina Siess and Michael Feichtinger on their DOC Fellowships. The prestigious early career programmes are awarded by the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences, providing funding to highly qualified doctoral candidates. The research projects of the awardees will provide insights into biological processes from embryonic stem cell differentiation to the regulation of signalling enzymes.