One language to unite them all

Copyright: EMBL Photolab

And so it became that the whole earth was of many languages, with no common speech. As people moved to Germany, they found a hill in Heidelberg and settled there.

They used steel and glass instead of stone, and cement for mortar to build their settlement. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a campus, with a tower of DNA that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

Then the Director General came down to see the campus and the tower the people were building. The Director General said, “If as one people speaking different languages they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and give them one language so they will understand each other even better.”

So the Director General gathered them there from over all the earth, and gave them the language of science and they finished building the campus and the tower. It is now called the Tower of ATC – because there people from the whole world gather to speak the universal language of science and do great things.*

We speak over 40 different languages at EMBL but we all speak the language of science. Happy International Mother Language Day (21 February)!

*The text was adapted from Genesis 11:1-8, New International Version.

Follow us:

Meet the Trainer – Ashley Sanders

In spirit of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 February), we are proud to launch our “Meet the Trainer” Series, in which we will profile some of the amazing trainers from the EMBL Course Programme. We begin with Dr. Ashley D. Sanders, a distinguished scientist in the Genome Biology Unit of EMBL whose research focuses on how single-cell genomes change over time and how this impacts cell behavior.

Ashley will be training at the upcoming EMBO Practical Course: Single-Cell Omics (12 – 18 May 2019) and we asked her to give us some insights and tips for the course, as well as answer some not so scientific questions.

What is the greatest benefit of the course for the scientific community?

Without a doubt, single-cell measurements have emerged as the most direct method for deconvoluting complex and heterogeneous samples, and for exploring how subpopulations of cells respond to experimental manipulations. This course will allow participants to learn some of the most cutting-edge technologies and gain valuable hands-on experience from leading experts in the field. I hope this will help inspire new research, discoveries and collaborations.

What could the techniques in this course be used for in the bigger picture?

New technology equips us with new tools to explore long-standing questions in biology. Emergent single-cell omics methods are now providing us with the chance to ask how individual cells differ in terms of their DNA mutational profiles, epigenomic states and transcriptional outputs – enabling us to explore dynamic cellular relationships through a new lens. In unravelling these relationships we will better understand how diversity is established and maintained in healthy human tissues, and how aberrations in these processes can lead to disease.

Are the methods used in this course unusual or new?

The course will highlight some of the newest and most exciting methods in genomic research, including single cell bisulfite sequencing, single-cell RNA-seq and Strand-seq. Strand-seq is a novel single-cell and strand-specific sequencing method and this is the first time it will be offered in a course format.

 What is your number one tip related to the course?

Engage. Take time to interact with the other participants and the trainers. This course offers a unique opportunity to meet your colleagues in the field of single-cell biology, which can lead to new relationships and collaborations.

What challenges is your research field facing?

Single-cell genomics is expensive, noisy and complex. We need to bring down the cost of production to increase throughput and access more cells. We need to improve benchtop protocols to generate higher quality data from each cell we invest in. And we need smarter and faster bioinformatics that extract meaningful signal and integrate data layers across cells and experiments.

Where is science heading in your opinion?

We are in a single-cell omics era. Novel approaches are now available to untangle complex biological systems through multi-layered and complementary data types. By designing smart experiments that integrate across these layers, I believe we are positioned to unravel how homeostatic multicellular tissues are generated and maintained. In understanding these nuanced and cooperative inter-cell relationships, we will be in a position to deliver more holistic cell-based health care. This may involve selectively targeting rogue cells that disrupt our systems or producing functional regenerative tissues for transplants.

What was your first ever job?

Selling coffee through the Tim Hortons drive-thru in Toronto, Canada

If you weren’t a scientist, what would you be?

Yoga instructor

Follow us:

A big “Thank You” to our supporters

We would like to thank all our supporters of the 2018 EMBL Course and Conference Programme. With their help we were able to provide top-class training and keep the registration fees as low as possible allowing more people to profit from these opportunities. 86 companies sponsored a total of 25 events in Heidelberg and here is what some of them had to say about their experience:

“The audience comprised a very good mix of members from academic institutions and industry. We appreciated the rich interactions during the conference and friendly social events. Of course we were pleased to see a high interest in our activities and products and are confident we will build interesting collaborations in the future thanks to this event.” (Ectica Technologies)

“The conference program gathered a broad panel of microfluidic experts that presented the latest scientific discoveries in the field. The exhibition setting allowed me to easily interact with a broad range of participants and establish new valuable connections.” (miniFAB)

“The pre-conference workshop was very well attended and supported by the organizers, the booth location and interaction were excellent. The product fit for our portfolio of organoid culture products and tools was excellent and the organization, as always, was great, which goes a long way to creating an open and collaborative atmosphere that benefits exhibition.” (STEMCELL Technologies)

“EMBL is one of Europe’s most prominent life science institutions and as such gathers numerous eminent researchers across Europe and around the world. EMBL also covers a wide scope across the life science research allowing to target specific users. Compared to other scientific conferences, we also appreciate the good price / performance ratio of EMBL events.” (Wako Chemicals)

Follow us:

Event Advent Challenge 2018

Every year we embark on a quest to encrypt our events in senseless images for our event advent competition and it was overwhelming to see that so many of our Facebook followers sent us emails with the correct answers last year. The five winners were notified yesterday and we look forward to welcoming them at one of our events this year. We thank everyone else for their time and engagement and wish them more luck in the next competition.

And for everyone who missed what it was all about, here is the artwork that got so many people having to refresh their Facebook feed repeatedly in December. For a complete list of our 2019 events, please visit our website.

Follow us:

Happy Holidays!

The EMBL Course and Conference Team wishes you happy and joyful holidays! We will use the time to spend it with our families, wearing our Christmas sweaters, enjoying a hot beverage and relaxing to the sounds of evergreen holiday hits.

We wish you all a smooth transition to the new year and are excited about all the great things it will bring us all.

Have fun and see you again in 2019!

CCO Team

 

Follow us: