From the lab to the newsroom: telling how fake news is killing Italy’s olive trees

As an EMBL PhD student, I’ve given many talks, but the one I’ll give on 11 January at EMBL Rome is quite unusual: it won’t be about proteins or genes, but on how fake news is helping a bug kill millions of olive trees.

During my teenage years, I wanted to become a journalist and tell stories that mattered. But I also had a passion for science: observing natural phenomena, making hypotheses, and testing them seemed like great fun. Eventually, I decided to study biology in Rome and in 2011 I joined the De Renzis group at EMBL Heidelberg to find out how embryos get their shape.

Continue reading “From the lab to the newsroom: telling how fake news is killing Italy’s olive trees”

Eating synapses – seeing is believing

After more than five years of heroic work, EMBL Rome PhD student Laetitia Weinhard in the Gross Lab has finally completed her massive imaging study of microglia. Published last week in BioRxiv, the work uses correlated light and electron microscopy (CLEM) as well as time-lapse light sheet imaging to find out whether microglia eat synapse during brain development. Continue reading “Eating synapses – seeing is believing”

Escaping the lab on the Silk Road

This summer I managed to steal away from the lab to fulfill my childhood dream of driving from Europe to India. The idea that a culture so exotic and different than ours is nevertheless part of the same landmass and people like Alexander the Great, Ibn Battuta, and Marco Polo had managed to walk to Asia always held a deep fascination with me. Continue reading “Escaping the lab on the Silk Road”

How to see the world in a new light

Language reflects/affects the way we think and understand the world around us. I want to discuss this in my first ever EMBL Rome blog post- as it is a place unique for being hugely international, and because of a discussion over lunch that now became known (at least to me) as the “cherry discussion”. Continue reading “How to see the world in a new light”