Awardees' Articles

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Sonia Melo and colleagues

Monday 19th January 2015

We have unravelled for the first time a cell-independent function of exosomes. Exosomes secreted by cancer cells contain the proteins of the RISC complex that are able to process pre-miRNAS into mature functional microRNAs. In this way cancer exosomes, upon secretion to the extracellular environment, become enriched in mature microRNAs associated with the RISC complex and are much more effective in silencing gene expression in recipient cells. Additionally, we have described that processing of pre...


HFSP Program Grant holders Paul Curmi, Nancy Forde, Heiner Linke and Derek Woolfson and colleagues

Tuesday 13th January 2015

Control over distinct properties of soft biomaterials is often difficult to accomplish: changing the chemistry alters the mechanics at the same time. A modular approach to functionality may be offered by the ability to decorate DNA with peptides of interest, thereby encoding the chemistry presented while retaining DNA’s distinct flexibility and compatibility with a wide variety of materials, biosensing and nanomanipulation strategies.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Ulrich Braunschweig and colleagues

Thursday 8th January 2015

Most mammalian genes contain introns that have to be spliced out before mRNAs are translated into protein. In a surprisingly high fraction of genes, specific introns are retained predominantly when expression is low in a particular cell type, which potentially acts as a widespread mechanism to reduce inappropriate gene expression.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Pavan Ramdya and colleagues

Monday 5th January 2015

Groups of animals show enhanced decision-making compared to individuals but the neural pathways underlying collective behaviors remain largely unknown. Elevated Drosophila group reactions to environmental cues emerge from inter-fly touch interactions and a specific set of mechanosensory neurons. This provides an entry point for the neurobiological investigation of collective behavior.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Ari Pekka Mähönen and colleagues

Monday 22nd December 2014

Plant root systems continuously explore their surrounding environments while searching for nutrients and water in the soil. The exploratory behaviour results from the ability of the growing root tips to change their growth direction as guided by environmental cues. Changes of growth direction are controlled by rapid alterations in the levels of the plant hormone auxin within the root tip.


HFSP Program Grant holders Tomas Grim, Mark Hauber, Matthew Shawkey and Geoffrey Waterhouse

Thursday 11th December 2014

Birds’ eggs are some of the most colourful and variable natural products; yet, only two pigments are considered to be the major contributors to their visual appearance. Eggs of tinamou species (flighted relatives of rheas, emus, and ostriches) are best known for their beautiful mirror-like gloss. We show that a thin and extremely smooth cuticle is responsible for producing this gloss. We also discovered the presence of iridescence on Tinamus major eggshells, whereby the perceived colour changes...


HFSP Program Grant holder Douglas Altshuler and colleagues

Monday 8th December 2014

Little is known about the role of vision in controlling flight in birds. The avian brain has large regions dedicated to processing visual and spatial information, suggesting that visual information is important for bird behavior. We studied free flight behavior of Anna’s hummingbirds in a virtual reality arena with back-projected stationary and moving patterns to investigate how visual motion is used in hovering position control. Hummingbirds lost positional stability when hovering in the presence...


HFSP Cross-Disciplinary Fellow Andela Saric and colleagues

Friday 5th December 2014

At physiologically low peptide concentrations, formation of amyloid fibrils is a peculiar two-step process. Disordered protein oligomers, often considered toxic, are found to be crucial on-pathway species for amyloid aggregation under cellular conditions. Formation of peptide oligomers and hence, amyloid fibrils, is controlled by the strength of nonspecific attractions between peptides in solution, whose weakening may be crucial in preventing the formation of amyloid plaques.


HFSP Program Grant holder Nachum Ulanovsky and colleagues

Tuesday 2nd December 2014

A detailed understanding of how the neural navigation system of a bat brain acts in three dimensions sheds light on how mammals orient themselves in complex environments. This system acts as an internal compass that gives animals a continuous sense of direction and location as they move around.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Patrick Tschopp and colleagues

Monday 1st December 2014

The morphological evolution of external genitalia and limbs is considered an essential adaptation to a terrestrial lifestyle, once vertebrates started to conquer land. Surprisingly, we find that the developmental origin of genitalia varies considerably between extant vertebrate species, yet the inductive signals and ensuing gene regulatory networks during their organogenesis seem remarkably conserved.