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Prestigious Royal Society Professorship for Andrea Brand

The Gurdon Institute's Head of Wellcome Trust Laboratories, Andrea Brand FMedSci FRS, has been awarded the Royal Society Darwin Trust Research Professorship. This prestigious award provides research support for up to 10 years, and will allow Prof. Brand to focus on her work on development of the nervous system and neural stem cell behaviour.

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Imbalance in dividing cell fate drives oesophageal cancer in mice

In collaboration with Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute colleagues, the Simons lab has combined biophysical modelling with genetic lineage tracing to show that a ‘tipping of the balance’ in cell fate behaviour, rather than differences in the rate of cell division, leads to tumour development in the mouse oesophagus.

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Exploring epigenetic regulator G9a as a target for cancer therapy

Jackson lab postdoc Pallavi Agarwal identified an inhibitor of the epigenetic regulating enzyme G9a that hypersensitises tumour cells to DNA-damaging agents, leading to tumour cell death while leaving normal cells unaffected. This new study highlights the potential for using G9a inhibitors in combination with DNA-damaging agents in cancer therapy.

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Assembling the microtubule array that specifies A-P axis in the fly

The St Johnston lab has found that a complex of two proteins, Patronin and Shot, is crucial for organising polarised microtubules. These provide the framework for setting up asymmetry in polarised Drosophila oocytes, leading to body axis formation of the developing larva. The same microtubule system underpins polarisation in other cell types.

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Two Nature Protocols from the Gurdon Institute

Profiling protein-DNA interactions plus next-gen sequencing, and self-renewing 3D organoid culture, from the Brand and Huch labs, respectively, can be found in the same September issue of Nature Protocols. They are proving popular, both having had thousands of page views.

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Meet Julie Ahringer and visit her lab on YouTube!

In our new video, Senior Group Leader Julie Ahringer describes her current research on chromatin structure and function and her early pioneering studies with RNA interference to study single gene function, all in nematode worms. From this versatile model system we are learning about the fundamental processes in gene expression during development.

Watch the video on YouTube

Expert review of cell membrane curvature mechanisms

Membranes that define the limit of cells and form intracellular compartments are fundamental to life, and many different mechanisms exist for maintaining curved membranes. Jenny Gallop's lab survey examples of membrane curvature generation in animals, fungi, and plants, and highlight some exciting new research directions into the molecular mechanisms.

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Studying development to understand disease

The Gurdon Institute is funded by the Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK to study the biology of development, and how normal growth and maintenance go wrong in cancer and other diseases.