Awardees' Articles

HFSP Program Grant holder Keith Shearwin and colleagues

Tuesday 12th November 2013

Insertion of “designer” genes into specific locations within a bacterial genome allows these genes to be stably maintained without antibiotic selection, and can avoid other difficulties, such as toxicity, often associated with the use of multicopy plasmids. We have created a set of DNA vectors which improve the speed and efficiency of integration into the Escherichia coli genome, allowing for rapid development of genetically engineered strains.


HFSP Career Development Award holder Spencer Smith and colleagues

Tuesday 5th November 2013

For the first time, scientists have obtained direct electrical recordings of dendrites processing visual information in awake mammals. They found that dendrites are far from passive wiring—they actively compute to support sensory processing.


Cross-Disciplinary Fellow Peter Carbonetto and colleagues

Thursday 31st October 2013

Researchers are discovering new genetic determinants of disease by correlating variations in our DNA with disease outcomes. In studies of three chronic autoimmune disorders—rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and Crohn’s disease—we demonstrate how incorporating knowledge of co-ordinated networks of genes, encoded in online databases, can inform statistical tests for correlation, and generate stronger support for links between genes and predisposition to disease.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Basile Tarchini and colleagues

Tuesday 29th October 2013

Sensory perception in the inner ear relies on proper shaping of the brush of movement detectors at the surface of hair cells, the stereocilia bundle. In this work, we implicate a group of proteins classically regulating mitotic spindle orientation in the partition of the hair cell apical membrane. This blueprint guides cytoskeletal asymmetry, defining in particular the edge of the V-shaped stereocilia bundle.


HFSP Long-Term Fellows Slobodan Beronja and Naoki Oshimori and colleagues

Monday 28th October 2013

We performed a series of unbiased in vivo screens of ~16,000 mouse genes, designed to identify candidates based on their potential to elicit a quantitative effect on epidermal growth during embryogenesis and oncogenic hyperplasia. By conducting our studies in the dynamic environment of the physiological system, we uncover many previously overlooked candidates in addition to the well-known growth regulators.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Giulia Zanetti and HFSP Program Grant holder Randy Schekman and colleagues

Tuesday 22nd October 2013

The COPII proteins form a coat responsible for vesicular trafficking of newly synthesized cargo proteins from the Endoplasmic Reticulum. The coat must be flexible to allow incorporation of cargoes of very different shapes and sizes. Using cryo-electron tomography and sub-tomogram averaging on a reconstituted vesicle budding reaction we show that an inner coat layer can assemble in patches of regular protein arrays, and an outer coat layer can form cages with spherical or tubular curvatures by following...


HFSP Long-Term Fellows Yansong Miao and Alphée Michelot and colleagues

Monday 21st October 2013

A cell-free extract system was developed to reconstitute actin cable assembly, resulting in identification of a parts list for actin cable proteins. The reconstitution, combined with a super-resolution microscopy analysis, determined that actin cable assembly is regulated in a cell cycle-dependent manner.


HFSP Cross-Disciplinary Fellow Ana Amador and colleagues

Monday 14th October 2013

The underlying similarities in the biomechanical mechanisms of vocalization in songbirds and humans make songbirds an interesting animal model to study learned vocalizations. By developing a novel technique for pressure manipulation during singing, we modified the vocal output in various ways to study mechanisms of vocal control. Results were validated with a physical model for song production that shed light on dynamical mechanisms for frequency control that could be extrapolated to humans.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Franck Oury and colleagues

Thursday 10th October 2013

The skeleton regulates functions as important and diverse as glucose metabolism, energy expenditure and male fertility. Looking for additional potential endocrine roles of the bone, a dialogue of functional importance between the bone and the brain was identified. This crosstalk occurs at several stages throughout life and relies on an osteoblast-derived hormone called osteocalcin.


HFSP Cross-Disciplinary Fellow Sabine Hauert and colleagues

Thursday 26th September 2013

NanoDoc ( is a new online game to crowdsource the design of nanomedicine. It allows bioengineers and the general public to imagine nanoparticle strategies towards the treatment of cancer and test them on a virtual tumor. The challenge is to design nanoparticles that interact with each other and their environment in a way that leads to better treatment outcomes. The ultimate goal is to design nanoparticles that swarm like self-organized systems in nature. Best strategies will be...