News in 2011
STUDENT UPDATE: Group Leaders and students from Berlin travelled to New York at the beginning of December 2011 to participate in the NYU Developmental Genetics Conference and to further integrate their projects with the labs of their NYU partners.
BIMSB and NYU faculty presented their research in a day-long seminar and a lively poster session, including newly recruited scientists from either side. We welcome in particular new members of NYU faculty who introduced themselves and their work at the joint meeting.
The third session of the MDC-NYU PhD thesis advisory committees were held to provide directed student support and further consolidate bilateral collaboration opportunities.
STUDENT UPDATE: Na Li successfully defends her doctoral thesis
Na Li, Chen Group, has successfully defended her doctoral thesis "Global profiling of miRNA and the hairpin precursor: insights into miRNA processing and novel miRNA discovery" with the grade magna cum laude at the Department of Biology, Chemistry and Pharmacy of Freie Universität Berlin on November 21, 2011.
Thesis reviewers: R. Einspanier and C. Scharff
Doctoral commission: R. Einspanier, V. Erdmann, V. Haucke, C. Scharff, S. Wohlgemuth
This research was funded by the China Scholarship Council and the MDC.
PUBLICATION: doRiNA: a database of RNA interactions in post-transcriptional regulation
The first open access database for post-transcriptional regulatory elements has recently been published by BIMSB researchers: doRiNA stands for database of RNA interactions in post-transcriptional regulation. At http://dorina.mdc-berlin.de scientists can now search data from the UCSD genome browser for RNA-protein-interaction sites. The database can be searched either with a target (mRNA) or a regulator (RBP and/or miRNA) centric view. The new version of the PicTar prediction tool is provided additionally to this sophisticated combinatorial search tool.
LECTURE SERIES: In collaboration with colleagues spanning both Campus Buch and Berlin, the systems biology Ringvorlesung continues into winter semester 2011 with the topic of Cell Signaling. All are welcome to attend.
Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed the start button for a new state-of-the-art DNA sequencer during her visit at the BIMSB of the MDC Berlin-Buch. Looking on are Dr. Jonas Korlach, co-inventor of the technology of Pacific Biosciences and a native Berliner, Dr. Wei Chen (in front), head of the Scientific Genomics Platform at BIMSB. In the background Federal Minister of Education and Research, Annette Schavan, and Professor Nikolaus Rajewsky (l.), head of the BIMSB of the MDC. (Photo: David Ausserhofer/Copyright: MDC)
Chancellor Angela Merkel Presses Starts Button for New State-of-the-Art Sequencer at the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin - Extended Potential for Medical Systems Biology
Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed the start button for a new state-of-the-art DNA sequencer during her visit on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch.
The BIMSB is the first academic research institution in Continental Europe to use this sequencer for research. With this device from Pacific Biosciences it is possible to sequence single DNA molecules in real time and gain deeper insight into gene regulation. Dr. Jonas Korlach, co-inventor of the PacBio technology and a native Berliner, was present at the ceremony. The Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom is currently the only other research institution in Europe with this sequencer.
Prof. Nikolaus Rajewsky (3rd fr. r.), scientific head of the BIMSB of the MDC Berlin-Buch and the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit (4th fr. r.) with his cabinet on August 2, 2011 on Campus Berlin-Buch, looking at the model of the planned new BIMSB building. 3rd fr.l. Prof. Walter Rosenthal, scientific director of the MDC. (Photo: David Ausserhofer/Copyright: MDC)
Klaus Wowereit, Berlin’s Governing Mayor, and the Senate of Berlin Visit Campus Berlin-Buch and ‘Health City’
Klaus Wowereit, Governing Mayor of Berlin, and the Senate of Berlin today visited Berlin-Buch as part of the regular Senate meeting.
The aim of the visit was to learn more about the rapid development which has taken place at Berlin-Buch during recent years. “Campus Berlin-Buch is one of the leading research and biotechnology locations in Germany along with Heidelberg and Munich,” said Prof. Walter Rosenthal, Scientific Director of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch and Supervisory Board Chairman of the development company of the campus, BBB Management GmbH Campus Berlin-Buch.
The Campus had invited the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, and the Berlin Senate to Berlin-Buch.
PUBLICATION: Leapfrogging the genome of a flatworm
A creative combination of methods gives scientists a head start on the transcriptome of planaria and other organisms.
The tiny flatworm planarium has fascinated scientists for over a century because of its amazing regenerative capacities. If you cut it into small pieces, each can regrow the missing parts needed to produce an entire animal. Why doesn't the same thing happen in mammals? Researchers hope to find answers through studies of the genetic programs at work in the worms' stem cells. This work requires a full list of planarium genes, and a look at the transcriptome – the subset of molecules produced in specific types of cells. But obtaining these types of information has been incredibly difficult for planaria and most other species, especially when the genome sequences are not available. Now four groups within the MDC's Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) have combined methods in a unique way, providing a shortcut to obtaining the transcriptome of planaria cells.
MDC welcomes Berlin Senate Decision
The MDC welcomes the decision of the Senate of Berlin to allocate approximately EUR 30 million for the new building of the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) on Campus Nord of Humboldt University Berlin (HU). The BIMSB building will be 5500 m² in size and provide research and office space for around 300 employees. The annual operating costs of approximately EUR 20 million will be shared by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (90 percent) and by the State of Berlin (10 percent).
Novel DNA Sequencer for MDC's Systems Biology will provide deeper insight into Gene Regulation
The Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology (BIMSB) of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin, Germany, will be the first academic research institution in Continental Europe to acquire a novel DNA sequencer enabling the sequencing of single DNA molecules in real time. The SMRT (single molecule, real-time) technology is also faster than current high-throughput technologies. The researchers of the BIMSB will use this third-generation sequencing technology, which was launched on the market in April 2011 by Pacific Biosciences, Menlo Park, California, USA, to gain deeper insight into gene regulation. The new sequencer, PacBio RS, will be installed in the BIMSB labs early in September.
Further information can be found in the MDC press release.
CONFERENCE: Berlin Summer Meeting 2011: From RNA to Protein and Beyond
We would like to thank the 240 participants, the speakers as well as the members of the scientific committee, Anne Ephrussi, Richard Bonneau, Matthias Hentze, Stefan Kempa, Nikolaus Rajewsky and Matthias Selbach, who joined us for the fourth Berlin Summer Meeting: RNA Biology and Beyond! Great talks led to stimulating discussions. 60 posters were submitted, presented and more than warmly received. Our guests from New York contributed as speakers, chairs and with posters. And many participants took advantage of the beautiful sunny weather to join us on our boat trip around the cultural and political heart of Berlin. A perfect mix of science and social networking.
Marlon in the lab
(Photo: Alexander Baltz/Copyright: MDC)
STUDENT UPDATE: Marlon Stoeckius successfully defends his doctoral thesis
Marlon Stoeckius, N Rajewsky Group, has successfully defended his doctoral thesis “High resolution transcriptome and proteome profiling during oocyte to embryo transition in C.elegans” with the grade summa cum laude at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin on June 20, 2011.
Thesis reviewers: R. Lucius, N. Rajewsky and T. Sommer
Doctoral commission: R. Lucius, N. Rajewsky; H. Saumweber, M. Selbach, T. Sommer
This research was funded by the MDC-NYU PhD Exchange Program and was jointly conducted with the laboratory of Fabio Piano at NYU.
PUBLICATION: The first full census of a mammalian cell
MDC researchers track the output of an entire mammalian genome from DNA to proteins for the first time.
A cell's functions and behavior depend on the total population of molecules present in it at any given time, and how they respond to changes in the environment. Since Francis Crick declared "DNA makes RNA makes protein" in 1958, scientists have unraveled the mechanisms by which the hereditary information in genes is used to produce messenger RNAs and proteins, but counting these molecules to provide an accurate picture of cells' contents has been notoriously difficult. One gene can spawn huge numbers of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) over a cell's lifetime, and one mRNA can be used to produce vast numbers of proteins – but how many?
LECTURE SERIES: In collaboration with the new DFG Graduiertenkolleg 1772: Computational Systems Biology based at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, we are pleased to announce a new Ringvorlesung in Computational Systems Biology and Molecular Interactions.
COLLABORATION: Building Medical Systems Biology in Berlin: The way forward
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the MDC today extended their commitment to collaborate and intensify innovative life science research in Berlin through a Memorandum of Understanding.
This milestone is an expression of both long standing and newly developed interactions and is the prerequisite for the construction of a new building for Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology. This MDC led enterprise synergizes the basic, clinical, and theoretical capacities of this Berlin university and the largest university hospital in Germany along with its own strengths in molecular medicine. Therefore, the ideal location for this new institute was found to be the Humboldt University's historical 'Campus Nord', centrally located in Berlin-Mitte.
The federal government has confirmed it will cover the ongoing operating costs of this new institutional expansion up to a sum of 20 million Euros per annum. The Berlin Senate is committed to financing the building costs to foster world class medical systems biology research in Berlin.
Further information can be found in the following press releases (in German):
STUDENT UPDATE: Sebastian Fröhler successfully defends his doctoral thesis
Sebastian Fröhler, Dieterich Lab, has successfully defended his doctoral thesis Algorithms for the analysis of the primary and tertiary structure of genomes with the grade cum laude at the Faculty of Science, Universität Tübingen on February 23, 2011.
Thesis reviewers: D. Huson and R. Sommer
Doctoral commission: T. Grust, P. Hauck, D. Huson, A. Zell
This research was funded by the BMBF.