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Integrin's role in shaping the fruit fly egg chamber

The St Johnston lab have used fruit flies (Drosophila) to examine the role of integrins, proteins that link cells and tissues to their underlying substrate. Their paper shows how the integrin Myospheroid helps to the define the architecture of the Drosophila egg chamber, a model for the processes involved in organ development.

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Fly gene provides clue to reversing mitochondrial disease

Hansong Ma's lab have identified a protein in fruit flies (Drosophila) that can be targeted to reverse the effects of disease-causing mutations in mitochondrial genes. The discovery could provide clues about how to counteract human mitochondrial diseases, for which there is currently no cure.

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Alternative DNA repair pathway for MDC1

Salguero and colleagues in the Jackson lab have found an alternative pathway to elicit the DNA-damage response that does not depend on the protein H2AX. They show that MDC1, which was previously believed to work only when interacting with phosphorylated H2AX, in fact retains its capacity to recruit repair factors to the site of DNA damage even when H2AX is absent. This may enable DNA repair in areas of the genome known to be depleted of H2AX.

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Inhibiting the Fanconi anemia pathway

Galanty and colleagues in the Jackson lab identify two small-molecule inhibitors of the Fanconi anemia pathway, necessary for cancer cells that are - or become - resistant to DNA cross-linking therapeutics. These provide leads for development of drugs to re-sensitise tumours to cross-linking agents such as cisplatin.

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Don't get your DNA in twist

New paper by the Zegerman lab shows that limiting the rate of DNA duplication - by limiting the number of DNA replication initiation events - is important to prevent intertwining between the newly replicated chromosomes. This work may be relevant for the treatment of cancer cells, which are characterised by high rates of DNA duplication.

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How to boost adult liver regeneration

A new paper in Nature Cell Biology from the Huch lab - with collaborators in the Gurdon Institute, UK and Germany - describes the molecular mechanism triggered by TET1 that allows damaged adult liver cells to regenerate. This paves the way for design of drugs to boost regeneration in conditions such as cirrhosis or other chronic liver diseases where regeneration is impaired.

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First Gurdon Institute Seminars of 2020

On Tuesday 28th January at 11.30am we welcome Elaine Fuchs (Howard Hughes Medical Institute & Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor, The Rockefeller University, New York) to talk on 'Stem Cells: It’s All About the Neighborhood'. Then at 2.30pm our second speaker is Eduardo Moreno (Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Lisbon) to talk on 'Cell competition during development and disease'.

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Song for the Unsung Heroine

The Institute's Office Manager, Lynda Lockey, has won the Unsung Heroine Award at the University of Cambridge Professional Services Recognition Scheme ceremony. Institute Director Julie Ahringer said "Lynda is a very deserving recipient of the award...Her dedicated and understated work makes things run smoothly and positively impacts everyone".

Aspiring Scientists Training Programme

Our Aspiring Scientists Training (formerly 'Work Experience') Programme invites applications for July 2020. Our aim is to enable students with an interest in pursuing a career or higher education in science to get first-hand knowledge of an academic research environment. This programme is for students in state (non-fee-paying) schools, ages 16+, who are currently pursuing A-level or IB qualifications in biology.

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Steve Jackson awarded ERC Synergy Grant

Recipients of the ERC Synergy Grants have just been announced and Steve Jackson at the Wellcome Trust/ Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute is among them, awarded funding for a project on the DNA damage response in collaboration with partners in Switzerland and Austria. This is the first of the new Horizon 2020 grants to come to Cambridge.

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Studying development to understand disease

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

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