Awardees' Articles

HFSP Long-Term Fellow Tomomi Kiyomitsu and Young Investigator Grant holder Iain Cheeseman

Thursday 8th March 2012

Mitotic spindle positioning by cortical pulling forces defines the cell division axis and location, which is critical for proper cell division and development. Although recent work has identified developmental and extrinsic cues that regulate spindle orientation, the contribution of intrinsic signals to spindle positioning and orientation remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that cortical force generation in human cells is controlled by distinct spindle pole and chromosome-derived signals that...


HFSP Career Development Award and Program Grant holder Mariano Sigman and colleagues

Wednesday 29th February 2012

The human brain is organized in functional modules. Such an organization poses a conundrum: modules ought to be sufficiently independent to guarantee functional specialization and, at the same time, sufficiently connected to bind multiple processors for efficient information transfer in the whole brain. How is this solved? Here we show a formal solution to this problem is the formation of two networks. A skeleton of strong links forms a highly modular and fragmented structure. This network is embedded...


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Fernando Garcia-Moreno and colleagues

Tuesday 28th February 2012

Since evolution is the evolution of embryonic forms, the study of embryonic development is currently the most powerful tool for biologists to understand the evolutionary process. When addressing the question of the origins of the human brain, scientists stumble over the frustrating lack of similarities between the surfaces of brains among mammalian and other vertebrate species. All living mammals present a six layered neocortex, whereas no homologous structure is found in any other vertebrate species...


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Shalev Itzkovitz and colleagues

Saturday 25th February 2012

Intestinal crypts display a developmental temporal order in which the establishment of stem cells precedes the expansion of nonstem cells. Optimal control theory predicts that this strategy minimizes the time needed to create a mature crypt.


HFSP Long-Term Fellows Pablo Manavella and Daniel Koenig and colleagues

Tuesday 21st February 2012

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression modulating many aspects of superior organism development. In plants the miRNA-mediated cleavage of a target mRNA may lead to the formation of secondary small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). In this work we identified structural features on the miRNA duplex critical for such production.


HFSP Cross-Disciplinary Fellow Fernando Montealegre-Z and colleagues

Friday 3rd February 2012

The love song of an extinct cricket that lived 165 million years ago has been brought back to life in an interdisciplinary research project involving experts in biomechanics, bioacoustics and palaeontologists. The song – possibly the most ancient known musical song documented to date – was reconstructed from microscopic wing features on a fossil discovered in North East China. It allows us to listen to a musical song that would have been heard by dinosaurs and early mammals roaming Jurassic...


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Patrick Narbonne and colleagues

Monday 30th January 2012

The egg cytoplasm of a given species can only support normal development promoted by its own genome or nucleus. As a result, when the nucleus of one species is transplanted into the enucleated egg of a distantly related species, development arrests at an early stage. We have developed a simplified system using two frog species that allowed us to find some of the principles that underlie this cross-species incompatibility.


HFSP Career Development Award holder Tim Gollisch and colleagues

Thursday 26th January 2012

Neurons typically receive multiple inputs, which they have to combine into an output of their own. Whether this signal integration occurs linearly or in some nonlinear way strongly determines what computational function the neuron may have. For ganglion cells in the retina, we have identified two classes of cells with different types of nonlinear signal integration, which render the cells particularly sensitive to either small or large objects.


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Kalpana Makhijani and colleagues

Tuesday 24th January 2012

Does the nervous system talk to the blood? In the past, the hematopoietic and nervous systems were thought to be largely independent from each other. A recent study by HFSP postdoctoral fellow Kalpana Makhijani and colleagues from the Brückner lab now reveals that the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) provides a crucial microenvironment for blood cell colonization and survival in the larva of the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. Drosophila larval hematopoiesis adds to the growing concept of nervous...


HFSP Long-Term Fellow Philipp Messer and colleagues

Monday 23rd January 2012

Evolution relies on the presence of genetic variation in a population for natural selection to work, yet it is not entirely understood how such variation is maintained. Adaptation has been typically thought to reduce the amount of variation by favoring particular variants and removing others. However, HFSP Long-Term Fellow Philipp Wolfgang Messer and colleagues show that adaptation should often drive beneficial variants only to intermediate population frequencies where they can persist in a balanced...