Easter with Buddy

We decided that in 2019 – for no other purpose than to make Buddy feel included at Easter time – we would create a Buddy pancake for Shrove Tuesday, aka “Pancake Day”.

Having enlisted the help of some very competent pancake makers (aged 3 and 6), we got to work creating our masterpiece.

After studying the subject in great details (i.e. we looked at some photos of Buddy on Instagram), we mixed the batter that would shape Buddy. After making the first few pancakes, we started sculpting. Although we may not have made the shape to perfection, the two pancake makers were more than satisfied!

Decorating Buddy got a bit messy, but we made it in the end. Some ricotta cheese served as “glue” for our green spinach, yellow mango and purple Serrano ham.

And here you have it – our very own Buddy Pancake! Not only does he look like our favourite little yeast cell, but he was also surprisingly delicious! Well, for the grownups at least – the pancake makers drew the line at the thought of eating spinach!

Buddy the pancake vs. Buddy the doll – can you even tell the difference?!

The Recipe:
We took the basic pancake recipe from here:

https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/basicpancakeswithsuga_66226

Apparently we are big pancake fans, as we multiplied this recipe by three and it was just right for a family of four!

Unfortunately he didn’t last long!
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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.

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Organoids: Modelling Organ Development and Disease in 3D Culture

EMBO | EMBL Symposium – Heidelberg, 10-13 September 2018
Meeting report by Veronica Foletto

Following the huge success of the 2016 symposium ‘Organoids: Modelling Organ Development and Disease in 3D Culture’, Hans Clevers, Jürgen Knoblich, Melissa Little, and Esther Schnapp joined forces to organise a second such symposium this year. On the afternoon of 10 September, 460 scientists from all over the world gathered in the auditorium of the EMBL Advanced Training Centre (ATC) in Heidelberg.

Hans Clevers, a leading expert on organoids, welcomed everyone and led the opening session. The first keynote lecture was given by Jürgen Knoblich, who reported on progress in his lab using cerebral organoids to model the complexity of the human brain and, in particular, to study microcephaly. The subsequent talks showed how organoids derived from different tissues provide useful models for the recapitulation of certain diseases such as Helicobacter pylori infection and secretion of the VacA toxin in the stomach, as discussed by Xuebiao Yao or models of early development, with Nicolas Rivron introducing the blastoid: a type of organoid similar to an early embryo, which can be used to study developmental processes in 3D.

The second day began early with an interesting ‘Meet the Editors’ session, in which scientists had the chance to talk directly to editors working for many scientific publishers (Springer, Nature, The Company of Biologists, Wiley, Cell Press and EMBO press) and to understand their vision.

Afterwards, Meritxell Huch chaired the session ‘Stem Cells and Development’, in which scientists presented advancements in the use of cerebral (Wieland Huttner) and pancreatic (Anne Grapin-Botton) organoids for deciphering cellular mechanisms during human development, and of gastruloids for studying the patterning of the antero-posterior axis (Denis Duboule). Near the end of the session, Bon-Kyoung Koo described how to efficiently use CRISPR technology to perform genetic studies in intestinal organoids. The session ended with a series of 2-minute flash talks, after which networking and interactions were encouraged during lunch, where there was an opportunity to meet the day’s speakers.

The beautiful helices of the ATC then provided the venue for the first poster session, where around 90 presenters had the chance to discuss their research with fellow scientists, editors, and a scientific evaluating committee. It was absolutely inspiring to see how many people work on organoid research!

The afternoon session, ‘Organoids from tissue stem cells’, included talks on organoids derived from taste stem cells (Peihua Jiang), cochlear cells (Albert Edge), and intestinal cells (Hans Clevers). Madeline Lancaster explored the possibility of studying differentiated human cerebral organoids which self-assemble in the stereotypic organisation of the early human embryonic brain and have functional motor-neuronal circuits.

Among this ‘zoo of organoids’ as humorously defined by Jürgen Knoblich there was room for organoids derived from snake venom glands (Yorick Post): the organoid toolbox seems to be extendable to non-mammalian cultures as well!

On Wednesday morning, James Wells introduced the session ‘Recreating organs from pluripotent stem cells’. This addressed cell fate decisions in the developing mouse thyroid gland or lung (Sabine Costagliola), the human lung (Jason Spence and Hans-Willem Snoeck), the human salivary gland (Cecilia Rocchi), and the human forebrain (Flora Vaccarino), studied primarily through single-cell transcriptome and enhancer analyses. Finally, it was the turn of Mathew Garnett, who started by showing that the worldwide number of new cases of cancer each year is around twice the population of Switzerland.

Interested in using precision organoid models to study cancer and patients’ responses to treatment, Garnett is now contributing to the development of the Human Cancer Models Initiative. Its goal is to create a new generation of molecularly annotated cancer models, which will be widely beneficial to the scientific community.

After the second poster session, there were talks on ‘Organoids and disease modelling’, introduced by Anne Grapin-Botton. Among the topics covered were the use of 3D organoids to model liver regeneration and disease (Meritxell Huch), and to study cancers of the bladder (Michael Shen), pancreas (David Tuveson), breast (Martin Jechlinger), and colon (Henner Farin).

The day ended beautifully with the conference dinner in the EMBL canteen and the delightful live music that brought together the diverse group of researchers once again.

The final day of the conference was dedicated to ‘Cells and materials in regenerative medicine’. Matthias Lutolf discussed some of the ongoing efforts in his research group to develop next-generation organoids through tissue engineering. Meritxell Cutrona reported advances in nanoparticle tracking in 3D structures, which is particularly useful for drug delivery. Lakmali Atapattu described 3D bioprinting of tumoroids. Henrik Renner presented a high throughput-compatible workflow for the generation, culture, and optical analysis of neural human organoids. Rob Coppes and Melissa Little reported on promising progress in improving cancer treatment, using glandular and kidney organoids, respectively. James Wells gave a talk on the applications of gastrointestinal organoids, concluding with some food for thought for the audience: “It is better to collaborate, than to compete.”

The Symposium ended with the poster prizes, sponsored by EMBO Reports, EMBO Molecular Medicine, and Sartorius. Personally, I found these four days extremely stimulating, full of opportunities for interaction and discussion. I believe most of my fellow researchers got the same feeling: 3D organoid systems are revolutionising molecular biology and driving the development of better clinical therapies, and we are all contributing to this revolution.

What will we be able to achieve with organoids in two years’ time?

Stay tuned, the meeting will be back in 2020!

@LunardiLabCIBIO

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‘Tis the Season to be Jolly

Excitement! Our annual Facebook advent competition is coming up!

Over the past few years we have been putting a smile on your face and a strain on your brain with our event riddles to set the mood for the upcoming holidays. Now we are ready to roll again so head to our Facebook page and stay tuned for your chance to win one of 5 free registrations* for one of our 2020 conferences.

How it works:

  • Beginning 1 Dec, we post an image/picture/game each day on the EMBL Events Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages
  • You guess which of our 2020 courses or conferences is depicted. For a complete list of events, visit embl.de/events
  • Send your answer to eventadvent@embl.de by midday (CET) the following day, include the solution in the subject line
  • Only one entry per person per day is allowed
  • Winners will be selected from the correct entries randomly in January 2020

And to give you an idea of what you can expect, here are some examples from past competitions for you to practice:

EMBO | EMBL Symposium: New Approaches and Concepts in Microbiology (2015)
EMBO | EMBL Symposium: The Mobile Genome: Genetic and Physiological Impacts of Transposable Elements (2015)
EMBL Conference: Microfluidics 2016
EMBO Practical Course: Humanized Mice in Biomedical Research (2017)
EMBL Course: Shift Your DNA and RNA Sequencing Library Preparation into Hyper-Drive (2018)
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Welcome to the new EMBL Events Blog!

Why do WE – the EMBL Course and Conference Team – need to blog, you might ask? Great question!

The EMBL Events Team runs one of the most extensive and renowned training programmes for scientists in the world, with over 25 conferences and 60 courses each year, predominantly at our sites in the UK and Germany. We have been training scientists for over 40 years, and are bursting with experience and tips for scientists which we don’t want to keep to ourselves!

Over the coming months we will provide you with how-tos, tips and tricks, videos, checklists, competitions, articles, new e-learning opportunities, and sometimes just something to make you laugh. We aim to provide you with the most up-to-date info on how to best advance your scientific career and expand your knowledge.

We also appreciate and encourage guest blog posts and feedback, so feel free to contact us at marketing@embl.de!

2019 Course and Conference Programme now online!

First up, take a look at what opportunities our course and conference programme has to offer in 2019. Our poster has just been finalised, so download it or visit our website and apply for the training that best suits you!

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