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Finding the genes required for 'hairy' cells

Ciliated cells are necessary to help clear the airways of particles and debris. The Rawlins lab describe an in vitro assay using explants of embryonic mouse trachea that enabled them to identify two genes, Fank1 and Jazf1, as novel regulators of stem cell differentiation into ciliated cells. The paper's first author Jo-Anne Johnson is interviewed about her work in the same issue of Biology Open.

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New type of stem cell identified in brain

Otsuki and Brand's 'Science' paper reports their discovery in the brain of a new type of quiescent stem cell (known as a ‘G2 quiescent stem cell’) with higher regenerative potential than quiescent stem cells identified previously. Importantly, G2 quiescent stem cells awaken to make neurons and glia much faster than known quiescent stem cells, making them attractive targets for therapeutic design.

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In vitro model of human microglia enables functional studies

Brownjohn et al. of the Livesey lab have developed cultures of human microglia, the brain's resident macrophages, which support neurons by clearing dead cells and debris. Microglia differentiated from patients carrying mutations in the TREM2 receptor, which are causative for dementia, show defects in processing and expression of the receptor.

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Tau uptake by neurons may not be disease specific

Using human stem cell-derived neurons in vitro, Evans et al. of the Livesey lab show that, in contrast to predictions about toxicity of tau transfer between neurons in dementia, uptake of single molecules or aggregations of tau proteins appears to be a physiological process and not a disease-specific phenomenon.

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Using bioinformatics to tease out the functions of long non-coding RNA in mammals

The Kouzarides lab and colleagues used bioinformatics to identify which of the many long non-coding (lnc)RNAs in the mammalian genome may have functions in development and disease. They found lncRNAs that shared conserved genomic positions in human and mouse relative to orthologous coding genes, and over half of which were linked to chromatin features such as loop anchor points.

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Invitation to our Kettle's Yard event on Saturday 12th May

Want to know what our collaborating artists have been doing? Come along to the galleries at Kettle's Yard in Cambridge on Saturday 12th May, 12-4pm, to hear from artists and scientists in our collaborative project 'Experiments in Art & Science', and see some of the outputs from the artists. There will be a panel discussion at 2pm as well as hands-on activities - something for everyone.

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Double Gurdon Institute Seminar on Tuesday 15th May

We have a double bill on 15th May when we hear from Rob Martienssen (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory) at 11am and then Danny Reinberg (NYU Langone School of Medicine at Smilow Research Center) at 12.30pm. There will be drinks and nibbles between 12 and 12.30pm. All welcome to the Biochemistry Lecture Theatre, Sanger Building.

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Azim Surani's discovery of genomic imprinting nets him a coveted Canada Gairdner International Award

The Gairdner Foundation has revealed the winners of their 2018 awards, including Azim Surani of the Gurdon Institute and Davor Solter of the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, who have won the Canada Gairdner International Award for their demonstration of genomic imprinting in mammals, a phenomenon establishing the field of epigenetics, with widespread significance in human development, health and disease.

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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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