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Archive for the ‘Development’ Category


Changye Sun and Yong Li, who successfully defended their PhD theses in November have published a paper each in Open Biology on the interactions of fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) with glycosaminoglycans:

Heparin binding preference and structures in the fibroblast growth factor family parallel their evolutionary diversification

and

Selectivity in glycosaminoglycan binding dictates the distribution and diffusion of fibroblast growth factors in the pericellular matrix.

(more…)

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Our review on fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) as tissue repair and regeneration factors, which we made available as a preprint from the time of submission is now published at PeerJ. (more…)

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Virginie’s first paper on her thesis work, “Network based meta-analysis prediction of microenvironmental relays involved in stemness of human embryonic stem cells” was published yesterday at PeerJ. She first put it up as a preprint (v1 here
revised v2 here and then submitted it – my first experience of this and something I will certainly do again.
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There are many prizes for cultural activities, of which science is one. This week has seen the announcement of the Nobel prizes, a little earlier the IgNobels were awarded. There are, of course many other prizes. I have decided to set up my own.
A question that bugs me and which loomed large while I read the excellent review by Ding Xu and Jeff Esko from UCSD on “Demystifying Heparan Sulfate–Protein Interactions” is how many extracellular proteins are there? (more…)

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The so-called “sting” by Science on Open Access journals has brought a lot of criticism, some of this is here, and here. For me the best has been Micheal Eisen’s post, which uses satire to show that Science was well wide of the mark. (more…)

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The Fibroblast Growth Factor Gordon Research conference is biennial, so it almost follows a Martian calendar and next year it will be five years old. The fifth Gordon Research conference on Fibroblast Growth Factors will be held in Ventura, California, March 1-7 2014. This is THE meeting for all things FGF and assembles an eclectic mix of leaders in the field, young PIs, industry scientists and scientists in training. A Gordon Research Seminar will precede the full meeting. This was introduced at the last GRC (May 2012) and was very successful. (more…)

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Dr Marco Guerrini, Ronzoni Institute, Milan, will deliver a seminar entitled “NMR methods for characterisation of carbohydrate ligand binding” on Monday 12 November, 1 pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Life Sciences Building.

Dr Guerrini’s work, stretching over 25 years, has been concerned with investigating structure and function relationships in glycosaminoglycans. There are a biologically important family of structurally complex polysaccharides, which lie at the heart of many intercellular signalling processes, including those targeted in regenerative medicine and those disrupted in major diseases such as cancers and inflammatory conditions. His work also underpins our understanding of one of the lynchpins of modern medicine, the anticoagulant heparin. Highlights of Marco’s work have included the identification (in 2007-8) of toxic contaminants in pharmaceutical heparin, which had escaped the notice of regulatory authorities and lead to many deaths, and evidence exploding the myth of exquisite specificity in heparin-antithrombin interactions. Dr Guerrini ‘s talk will provide an introduction to this important class of polysaccharides, the principle methods that he uses currently, which are mainly NMR-based, but augmented by other complementary techniques, and will describe detailed structural studies of several interactions in solution. The talk will offer a rare opportunity to hear about interaction studies largely from the perspective of the saccharide ligand, which is often neglected, and will describe approaches that are highly complementary to the structural, functional and systems level studies currently being undertaken in IIB.

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