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From L to R: Thomas Reiberger, Benedikt  Simbrunner, Oleksandr Petrenko, Jiri Reinis and Stefan Kubicek (© Anna Yuwen/CeMM).

A simple online calculator detects liver cirrhosis patients at high risk for clinical complications

Researchers at CeMM, the Medical University of Vienna (MedUni Vienna), and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases (LBI-RUD) joined efforts to use their expertise in machine learning and management of patients with cirrhosis to develop a non-invasive algorithm that can help clinicians to identify patients with cirrhosis at highest risk for severe complications. Cirrhosis develops in response to repeated injury to the liver, such as fatty liver disease or viral hepatitis. Initially, cirrhosis is mostly asymptomatic, thus, early identification of risk factors for severe complications represents an unmet clinical need.

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Last author Georg Stary and first author Johanna Strobl (© Laura Alvarez / CeMM).

Study demonstrates for the first time that ticks weaken skin's immune response

Hitherto, scientists have not fully understood why ticks are such dangerous disease vectors. A research team led by Johanna Strobl and CeMM Adjunct Principal Investigator Georg Stary from MedUni Vienna's Department of Dermatology shows that tick saliva inhibits the skin's defence function, thereby increasing the risk of diseases such as tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease. The study was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The researchers carried out their investigations on skin samples from volunteers and also on models of human skin, mimicking the bite of the most common European tick (Ixodes ricinus). In…

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New Principal Investigator Laura de Rooij (©Laura Alvarez / CeMM).

New CeMM Principal Investigator Laura de Rooij

On September 1, 2022, Laura de Rooij joined CeMM as a new Principal Investigator. Laura de Rooij will combine wet and dry lab biology to decipher the role of circulating endothelial cells (CECs) in human blood. Her research will advance the understanding and highlight the potential of this cell type in the treatment of age-associated diseases, expanding, thus, CeMM’s expertise in the field of aging.

The rare circulating endothelial (progenitor) cell has clinical relevance for its potential key role in numerous diseases associated with aging, such as cardiovascular disease. However, the lack of research as well as molecular definition and…

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Last author Stefan Kubicek and first author Tamara Casteels (© CeMM).

SMNDC1 loss induces alpha cells to produce insulin

Beta cells in the pancreas are responsible for producing the vital hormone insulin. In diabetes, these cells are either destroyed or functionally impaired, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels in the body. Researchers led by Principal Investigator Stefan Kubicek at CeMM, the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, have now shown that alpha cells, which are also located in the pancreas, can be stimulated to produce insulin by targeting the chromatin protein SMNDC1. The study, published in Cell Reports, identifies a new molecular mechanism regulating the insulin hormone that plays an essential role for…

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RESOLUTE and REsolution provide new resources to empower research on human transporters

Humans need to eat to survive. Our cells acquire nutrients from food, such as vitamins, sugars and proteins, to grow, duplicate and exert their functions. But how do these nutrients enter our cells? Solute carriers (SLCs in short) are proteins that are located on cell membranes and regulate the traffic of all kind of chemical matter. They constitute the largest family of transporters in the human genome and are associated with many diseases, including cancer and metabolic disorders. Importantly, there are a few best-selling medicines, such antidepressants or antidiabetics, that target them.

The RESOLUTE and REsolution projects, funded by…

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Last author Vanja Nagy and first authors Christopher Fell (LBI-RUD/CeMM) and Astrid Hagelkruys (IMBA) (© Laura Alvarez / CeMM).

Receptor FIBCD1 newly identified in neuro-developmental disorders

A multidisciplinary study led by Vanja Nagy (LBI-RUD/CeMM/Medical University of Vienna) and Josef Penninger (UBC/IMBA) characterized a novel gene, known as FIBCD1, to be likely causative of a new and rare neurodevelopmental disorder. Using data from two young patients with neurological symptoms, the researchers from both groups found evidence of a novel function for the FIBCD1 gene in the brain, and a potentially pivotal role in diseases such as autism, ADHD, schizophrenia, and neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s.  The study makes an important contribution to the understanding of the extracellular matrix in the brain and its…

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First author Fabian Amman and last author Andreas Bergthaler (© Laura Alvarez / CeMM).

Study confirms accuracy of national virus variant monitoring of wastewater

Since 2020, Austria has played an internationally pioneering role in monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic by sequencing virus particles from wastewater samples. A recent study by CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Medical University of Vienna, the University of Innsbruck, and many other collaboration partners now demonstrates unprecedented detail and accuracy when it comes to analyses of how wastewater reflects virus variant dynamics. This study, published in Nature Biotechnology, provides a scientific inventory and new bioinformatics tools to support international surveillance of viral variants.

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Joanna Loizou receives a commemorative plaque from CeMM Scientific Director Giulio Superti-Furga.

CeMM Adjunct PI Joanna Loizou will join AstraZeneca

Joanna Loizou, one of the Principal Investigators who helped establish CeMM from 2011 to 2020, is leaving Vienna to join AstraZeneca. After her full engagement at CeMM, in 2020 Joanna Loizou became group leader at the Medical University of Vienna while remaining a CeMM Adjunct PI. CeMM congratulates Joanna on her new position as Director in the Translational Medicine Department at AstraZeneca in Cambridge, UK. After her significant fundamental research contributions to the field of DNA repair, genome stability, and genome editing she can now use her knowledge and experience to further improve the translational efficiency of genome integrity…

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Project partners at the 2nd REsolution Consortium Meeting at CeMM (© Laura Alvarez / CeMM).

2nd REsolution Consortium Meeting

On 20 June 2022, the REsolution consortium held its second consortium meeting, which was the first one in person since the project started. The event took place at CeMM with 20 participants coming from different countries. The REsolution consortium is a public-private research partnership supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), the European Union and EFPIA, with nine partners from academia and the pharmaceutical industry. With a duration of two years, the project aims at understanding how genetic variants in humans affect the function of cellular solute carrier transporters (SLCs).

REsolution scientists summarized the data…

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Professor Miriam Unterlass (left) and Dr Hipassia Moura (right). (Copyright: Alonso Cerrón-Infantes).

Catalyst from hot water

The research group of chemist Miriam Unterlass, CeMM Adjunct Principal Investigator and professor the University of Konstanz, succeeded in producing organic and inorganic substances in a single process using an environmentally friendly method.

The production of chemical substances normally requires environmentally harmful solvents. After the research group of Miriam Unterlass, professor of Solid State chemistry at the University of Konstanz and CeMM Adjunct Principal Investigator, produced organic substances without harmful substances for the first time by heating them in hot water, the researchers can now chalk up another success: Through…

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