August 29, 2013

Historical scientific success at CeMM’s sister Institute IMBA

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IMBA/ Madeline A. Lancaster

CeMM congratulates Jürgen Knoblich and his team at CeMM’s companion institute IMBA for a truly extraordinary scientific success. The team managed to develop complex human brain tissue in a three-dimensional culture system. The method described in the current issue of NATURE allows pluripotent stem cells to develop into cerebral organoids – or "mini brains" – that consist of several discrete brain regions. This achievement contributes to establish Vienna as a world-known hot spot for biomedical sciences and it is an eloquent display of the scientific prowess of the life science institutes of the Austrian Academy of Sciences while providing an additional validation of the Academy’s strategy on life sciences. (http://www.imba.oeaw.ac.at/news-media/news/news/brains-on-demand/)

August 26, 2013

Alpbach Health Symposium @ European Forum Alpbach

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From August 16-19 international experts, politicians and decision makers met at the Tyrolean village Alpbach for this year´s Health Symposium, which focused on the question “Who Decides Health?” CeMM´s Scientific Director Giulio Superti-Furga was invited chair of the discussion “Fair Society, Healthy Lives” following the keynote presentation by Sir Michael Marmot and led a plenary interview with John Ioannidids on “How Reliable is Evidence in Medicine”. Together with Jochen Taupitz, Giulio Superti-Furga co-moderated the breakout working group “Creating Knowledge: Which Freedoms Should Clinical Research Have“. In his opening keynote he stressed that freedom in medically-oriented research means to have the financial freedom and possibility of performing a clinically oriented research program. Without reducing in any possible way basic research funding, the challenges society faces, in light of the demographic development and increase in mobility, would require a dedicated research health program. He pointed out the areas of infections (viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic), cardiovascular and metabolic disorders (obesity, atherosclerosis etc), as well as cognitive, psychiatric and neurological disorders as three possible priorities that are both of strategic value for the country and areas of existing scientific competence in Austria. To this effect Giulio Superti-Furga presented the hypothesis of a dedicated and coordinated research effort in medicine and health sciences, to complement the basic research funding programs, in the shape of an Austrian “National Institute of Health (NIH)”.

August 26, 2013

A reversible gene trap collection empowers haploid genetics in human cells

Schematic overview of the human chromosomes and all the “genetrap” insertions that have been mapped by the Haplogen-CeMM team

CeMM and Haplogen make available the world’s largest collection of engineered human cell lines for biomedical discovery

Haplogen, a biotechnology company developing antiviral therapies, and CeMM, the Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, today announced that they are making available their large collection of human cell lines that are deficient for single genes, which they have been building over the past three years as part of a public-private partnership. The partnership, through Haplogen, will distribute requested cell lines to the research community. The collection and the technological advances that enabled its development were published in Nature Methods advanced online, on August 25. It currently includes cell line clones covering 3,000 different human genes, which represents about one third of all the genes that are active in these cells. The collection will continue to expand until all the genes have been targeted.