Awardees' Articles

HFSP Program Grant holders Benoit Ladoux and Chwee Teck Lim

Thursday 19th March 2015

Epithelial cells have a natural tendency to close gaps and this feature plays a crucial role in many biological processes such as embryological development and wound healing. Depending on the distribution of extracellular matrix, gap closure occurs through assembly of multicellular actin-based contractile cables and/or cell migration of border cells into the gap. In the absence of cell supporting environment, the closure of non-adhesive gaps is driven exclusively by contraction of multicellular...


HFSP Long-Term Fellowship holder Robert Schneider and colleagues

Thursday 5th March 2015

How intrinsically disordered proteins can perform a multitude of biological functions without a fixed three-dimensional structure is still a much debated question. Using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, we have been able to map out the interaction of one such protein with its partner in atomic detail, from its free-state ensemble of conformations via a non-specific encounter complex to the final bound state.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Fang Jiang and colleagues

Friday 20th February 2015

Studies showing that occipital cortex responds to auditory and tactile stimuli after early blindness are often interpreted as demonstrating that early blind subjects ‘see’ auditory and tactile stimuli. One such example is that area hMT+ – a region associated with visual motion processing in sighted – responds to auditory and tactile motion stimuli within early blind individuals. However, to claim that blind subjects ‘see’ using occipital cortex requires that occipital responses directly...


HFSP Career Development Award holder Matthew Neale and colleagues

Monday 16th February 2015

Meiotic recombination is a critical step in gametogenesis for many organisms, enabling the creation of genetically diverse haploid gametes. Regulating the distribution of recombination events so that they are evenly spread across all chromosomes is fundamental for both maintaining genome stability and promoting genetic variation. Here we demonstrate that meiotic DNA breaks (DSBs), the precursors of those recombination events, are not distributed randomly. Moreover, we demonstrate that the evolutionarily...


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Dan Dominissini and colleagues

Tuesday 10th February 2015

Transcriptome-wide mapping of the modified base N6-methyladenosine in RNA joins discoveries of methyl-binding proteins and demethylating enzymes to herald the field of ‘epitranscriptomics’ – dynamic post-transcriptional regulation of mRNA analogous to the better known reversible epigenetic modifications of DNA and histone proteins.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Manuel Irimia and colleagues

Friday 6th February 2015

Against common intuition, tiny microexons as short as 3 nucleotides can and do exist within our genes. Surprisingly, not only can they be recognized by the cellular machinery and become part of proteins, but they were also often found to be only (or mainly) expressed in neurons. Microexons are switched on during late neuronal differentiation, and impact surfaces of proteins that are crucial for neuronal maturation and synaptic function. Through this protein surface 'microsurgery', microexons...


HFSP Program Grant holder Guy Lyons and colleagues

Tuesday 3rd February 2015

The epithelial tissues that line our bodies are the frontline protection against the environment and microorganisms. Here, we have discovered how one of these tissues, the cornea, is maintained by a population of specialized progenitor cells located at the edge of the clear tissue.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Raffaella Di Micco and colleagues

Monday 2nd February 2015

A better understanding of the mechanisms that regulate ESC identity is needed to fulfill the promise of ESCs in regenerative medicine. Transcription factors and chromatin regulators control the ability of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to self-renew and remain undifferentiated. An epigenetic reader called BRD4 acts at the boundary between transcription and chromatin remodeling: it binds to acetylated histone tails and recruits RNA Polymerase specifically at key stem cell genes. Genetic and chemical...


HFSP Program Grant holder Yossi Yovel and colleagues

Thursday 29th January 2015

When you sit in a dark cinema theatre and someone opens a bag of chips, everyone in the theatre knows that someone is eating chips and approximately where that someone is. Bats work similarly. When one bat finds a patch of insects, all of the other bats within earshot will realize this. That’s very useful information because bats can use their sonar to detect an insect only when it is very close – within 10 meters - but a bat can hear that another bat has detected an insect from more than 100...


HFSP Program Grant holders Alessandra Cambi and Maria Garcia-Parajo and colleagues

Tuesday 27th January 2015

Novel biophysical techniques, including super-resolution nanoscopy and single molecule approaches, are providing indisputable proof that many, if not most, membrane proteins are clustered at the plasma membrane at different spatiotemporal scales. We discovered that pathogen recognition receptors organize in a highly hierarchical fashion on the membrane of immune cells, forming nanoclusters that further organize in meso-scale regions enriched with sites for endocytosis. This preferred organization...