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Archive for January, 2011


Two exciting Bionano sessions are coming up.
The first is on February 3: Valérie Marchi-Artzner will give a talk on “Chemistry of Nanoparticles: from Bioprobes to Nanostructured Materials” on Thursday 3rd Feb, 2pm, in SR2 (Life Sciences Building).

The second is on Monday 14th of February in SR2 (Life Sciences), when we have two speakers, Eann Patterson, who has just joined the University as a new Professor in Engineering, and Heike Arnolds, from the Surface Science centre.
These two talks will focus on Optical Microscopy and Non Linear Spectroscopy.

Full details at Rapha-z lab, as usual.

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DNA repair seminar


Prof Keith Caldecott from the University of Sussex will give a seminar on “Novel Components of Human DNA Double Strand Break Repair”. Keeping the genome fit is, obviously, a fundamental process. It is linked at a very deep level to the signalling networks of cells. In terms of the molecular machines that process DNA there are important themes for all of us.
Monday 24 January
16.00
SR 2 Life Sciences Building – refreshments form 3.45

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New Lab D Technician


Since Joe was promoted to the Institute safety job, we haven’t had a full-time technician running Lab D. At the start of January Alex Holme joined us to take over Joe’s old job. Alex is no stranger to many of us, since she used to work for Pepsyn and then she worked for Jerry Turnbull.
Alex has only been in the saddle since the start of the year, but already things are looking up – small and big things are getting sorted and the reaction to change has been very positive. The denizens of the 116 office even took the time out to clean the office carpet on Friday evening!
It isn’t just aesthetics, keeping things clean makes for clean data and nowhere is this more evident than in tissue culture!

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Kat’s paper that describes the pure VEGFR2 agonist activity of neuropilin-1 in a variety of endothelial cell-based angiogenesis assays is now published in its final form in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.190801). Nice to see the supplemental part is now included by JBC when you download the paper – at last we don’t have to accumulate multiple files for every paper we want to read!
As well as the fundamental biological and biomedical importance of the discovery, this paper points to the need for a revision of the notion that receptor tyrosine kinases have just one family of structurally and evolutionarily related ligands. So we can now add VEGF receptors to the growing list of receptor tyrosine kinases possessing “non-canonical” ligands. Other examples include EGF receptors (the proteoglycan decorin is a non EGF ligand) and FGF receptors (a long list here, but cadherins are the best established).

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Enter the New Year


The New Year kicks off and the pile of work has grown over the festive season. Drafts of eight papers and two theses sit on my hard disk, plus requests for reviews, thoughts of experiments and, starting on Wednesday, another happy season of University admin.
My brother brought this very apt quote from Winston Churchill to my attention:

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

This does capture some of the frustration of research, but also the fun, which is in part the enthusiasm.

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