Awardees' Articles

HFSP Program Grant holders Olivier Hamant, Chun Biu Li, Adrienne Roeder and Richard Smith and colleagues

Friday 13th April 2018

Many plant epidermal cells form interlocking shapes that look like jigsaw puzzle pieces. However, scientists have struggled to understand how these complex shapes benefit the plant. We proposed that the puzzle cell shape allows the plant to create large cells in the epidermis, preventing them from bulging out excessively under the high stresses caused by turgor pressure. We tested our hypothesis with a computer simulation model of the emergence of these intricate forms, based on the feedback between...


HFSP Program Grant holder Jeffrey Riffell and colleagues

Thursday 12th April 2018

Insects exhibit sophisticated and complex behaviors, but they have miniature nervous systems with low numbers of neurons. Nonetheless, insects can exhibit the same complex behaviors as rats or dogs: for instance, insects can learn various cues as predictors of reward, or punishment, and some insects can learn concepts, and even numerosity. These results raise a fundamental question: how do insects generate such complexity with so few neurons? As part of our HFSP project, we have been working towards...


HFSP Program Grant holders Gasper Tkačik and Elad Schneidman and colleagues

Monday 9th April 2018

Physics and biology have a lot in common. Systems of interacting particles may resemble a group of interacting animals to such a degree that their collective motions could be indistinguishable when observed from a distance. However, while particles are typically driven by simple physical laws that are constant in time, animals often show multiple stereotypical forms of behavior and random switching between them. Thus, simple physics-based models often fail to capture the full complexity of animal...


HFSP Program Grant holders Nicholas Savill and Sarah Reece and colleagues

Tuesday 3rd April 2018

If you want to control your parasite infection, the time that you eat may be the answer. Research recently published in PLoS Pathogens has found that the time of day that hosts eat determines the timing of daily activities of their malaria parasites.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Jennifer Zenker and colleagues

Monday 26th March 2018

When the mouse (and also human) embryo enters the uterus, water gets pumped between the cells to form a protective and nutrition-filled cavity for the developing embryo, the blastocoel. Expansion of this cavity requires the assembly of a permeability barrier that seals the embryo from the outside and resists the increasing hydrostatic pressure. This barrier is established through tight junction formation between the outer cells of the embryo. However, the morphogenetic mechanisms regulating barrier...


HFSP Program Grant holders Simon Alberti and Rohit Pappu and colleagues

Friday 23rd March 2018

Prion-like proteins are multi domain proteins that contain long regions of structural disorder that are termed prion-like domains. Prion-like domains are abundant within eukaryotic cells and their aggregation is associated with human pathological diseases. Despite their importance in disease, the physiological role of prion-like domains has remained enigmatic. This raises an important question: why has evolution kept these domains around? Or in other words: what are these regions good for? In this...


HFSP Program Grant holder Peter Swain and colleagues

Thursday 22nd March 2018

Individual cells, even with the same genotype and in the same environment, all behave differently. Studying what generates these differences and how they affect collective responses requires imaging cells over long periods of time. Extracting information from these images is a substantial challenge. Here, we present a method to integrate biological information with machine learning to increase the speed and accuracy of processing images of yeast cells.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow FoSheng Hsu and colleagues

Monday 19th March 2018

An unexpected link between a gene mutated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and a new mechanism to protect cells from oxidative stress has been revealed in a recent paper in eLife.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Julien Fournier and colleagues

Friday 16th March 2018

Visual cortex has been almost exclusively studied in mammals. Yet, mammals are not the only vertebrates with a cortex; reptiles, such as lizards and turtles, also possess a well-defined, though exclusively three-layered cortex, similar to the "ancient" cortices of mammals (olfactory and hippocampal). Mammals and reptiles both derive from a common amniote ancestor that existed some 320 million years ago. In turtles, the dorsal cortex is analogous to the early visual cortex of mammals in...


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Shay Stern and colleagues

Friday 9th March 2018

Individuals within the same population show wide behavioral diversity, however, the processes that generate and maintain individual-to-individual behavioral differences are still underexplored. Using a newly developed imaging system for tracking single C. elegans animals across their development time, we found that genetically-identical individuals exhibit stable behavioral variation, and uncovered specific neuromodulatory mechanisms that shape this non-genetic individuality.