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From L to R: Julia Pazmandi, Matthias Haimel and Kaan Boztug (© St. Anna Children’s Cancer Research Institute).

Do you speak immunology? A new language for congenital immune disorders

A detailed vocabulary to identify and explore rare, congenital immune disorders around the world? That is exactly what is now available thanks to a new study led by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases in Vienna and the University Medical Center Groningen. Congenital immune disorders often affect only a handful of children around the world. The now published expansion of the nomenclature allows us to better analyze, identify, and treat these diseases.

When a child in Austria falls ill with a rare immunodeficiency, their treating physician will often like to know experience with similar cases around the world. Has…

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Overall concept of proposed activities in REsolution (© Tatjana Hirschmugl / REsolution).

REsolution: opening the gates for new medicines

The new REsolution consortium is a public-private research partnership, supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), with nine partners from academia and the pharmaceutical industry. Starting on June 1, 2021 and with a duration of 2 years, the project aims to understand how genetic variants in humans affect the function of hundreds of cellular transporters.  

How do molecules such as vitamins, nutrients and drugs enter our organs and cells? Why do some of us take up certain molecules more easily than others? The REsolution consortium studies how differences in the genetic makeup of so-called transporter genes, encoding proteins…

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Study authors Paul Datlinger, André F. Rendeiro and Christoph Bock. ©Klaus Pichler, CeMM

Scientists develop “scifi-RNA-seq” method for ultra-high-throughput RNA sequencing in single cells

Molecular analysis of single cells provides an important basis for precision medicine. Five years ago, scientists around the world came together to pursue the “Human Cell Atlas” project, with the aim of cataloging all cells in the human body. These data have helped, for example, to identify those cell types that the coronavirus can infect particularly well. To accelerate and improve the creation of such cell catalogs, Paul Datlinger and André F. Rendeiro from Christoph Bock’s research group at CeMM developed a new method that enables single-cell RNA sequencing in a very large number of individual cells at the same time.

This method, which is…

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Extracting tumor epigenetics from blood (© Tatjana Hirschmugl).

Blood test detects childhood tumors based on their epigenetic profiles

A new study exploits the characteristic epigenetic signatures of childhood tumors to detect, classify and monitor the disease. The scientists analyzed short fragments of tumor DNA that are circulating in the blood. These "liquid biopsy" analyses exploit the unique epigenetic landscape of bone tumors and do not depend on any genetic alterations, which are rare in childhood cancers. This approach promises to improve personalized diagnostics and, possibly, future therapies of childhood tumors such as Ewing sarcoma. The study has been published in Nature Communications.

A study led by scientists from St. Anna Children’s Cancer Research Institute…

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Keynote speaker Sarah Teichmann and CeMM Scientific Director Giulio Superti-Furga.

14th CeMM Landsteiner Lecture by Sarah Teichmann and the 2020 Denise P. Barlow Award Ceremony

The 14th Landsteiner Lecture was held virtually on 10 May 2021 by Sarah Teichmann, Head of Cellular Genetics at the Wellcome Sanger Institute (UK), with a special focus on the Global Human Cell Atlas Consortium, which she co-founded in 2016.

The CeMM Landsteiner Lecture series is named in honor of Karl Landsteiner, the Viennese scientist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering blood groups. The invited speakers, carefully selected by CeMM Faculty, are prominent scientists whose molecular research is deemed to have had a significant impact on medicine. From 2007 to 2018, the lecture was held in the stunning 18th century frescoed…

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First author Kai-Chun Li and last author Giulio Superti-Furga (© Laura Alvarez / CeMM)

Do purines influence cancer development?

Numerous disease development processes are linked to epigenetic modulation. One protein involved in the process of modulation and identified as an important cancer marker is BRD4. A recent study by the research group of Giulio Superti-Furga, Principal Investigator and Scientific Director at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, now shows that the supply of purines as well as the purine synthesis of a cell can influence BRD4 activity and thus play a role in the carcinogenesis process. The findings were published in Nature Metabolism.

Chromatin is a central component of the cell nucleus. It refers…

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CeMM Scientific Director Giulio Superti-Furga with Prof. Orly Goldwasser (©Laura Alvarez / CeMM).

10th CeMM S.M.A.R.T. Lecture with Prof. Orly Goldwasser

On 27 April 2021, CeMM hosted its 10th S.M.A.R.T. Lecture with Orly Goldwasser, Professor of Egyptology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an Honorary Professor at the University of Göttingen.

The S.M.A.R.T. lecture series is an initiative launched by CeMM dedicated to diverse topics around the fields of science, medicine, art, research, and technology. They address contemporary challenges of science in an interdisciplinary manner and at the interface of science and society, with the aim of establishing an open dialogue with the broader public. Once a year CeMM invites an international speaker renowned for having made extraordinary…

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Last author Jörg Menche and first author Sebastian Pirch (© Michael Sazel/CeMM)

VR visualization supports research on molecular networks

Networks offer a powerful way to visualize and analyze complex systems. However, depending on the size and complexity of the network, many visualizations are limited. Protein interactions in the human body constitute such a complex system that can hardly be visualized. Jörg Menche, Adjunct Principal Investigator at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Professor at the University of Vienna and research group leader at Max Perutz Labs (Uni Wien/MedUni), and his team developed an immersive virtual reality (VR) platform that solves this problem. With the help of VR visualization of protein…

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Artem Kalinichenko and Kaan Boztug. / © St. Anna Children's Cancer Research Institute.

Immune cells out of control: how lethal hyperinflammation emerges from a novel gene defect

Scientists from CeMM Adjunct PI Kaan Boztug's Group at St. Anna Children's Cancer Research Institute, together with their collaborators from Finland and Sweden, discover a novel subtype of a genetic disease: genetically determined deficiency of the protein RhoG abrogates the normal cytotoxic function of specific immune cells, causing hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). These new findings may help with the genetic diagnosis for patients with a clinical suspicion of HLH. Published in the high-ranked scientific journal Blood, the study provides a basis for both a deeper understanding of the biology of HLH and the exploration of new…

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CeMM South terrace with the new chairs (© Laura Alvarez / CeMM).

New sponsored chairs arrived at the CeMM terrace

After 10 years in the CeMM building, we have made some renovations in the cafeteria and our iconic terrace overlooking Vienna’s historical center. Despite the challenging times we are living, it is a priority for CeMM to provide an inviting and comfortable space for safe interactions and cooperation not only among our colleagues but also our guests.

At the end of 2020, we launched the “One Chair One for CeMM” fundraising campaign to help support the acquisition of new, high quality outdoor chairs. The campaign was a success and we received donations to cover the costs of 48 chairs. Each chair is unique and includes a dedicated label chosen…

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