Sebastian Falk joins EMBO Young Investigator program
Group leader Sebastian Falk has been named a ‘Young Investigator’ for the next four years by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). The program offers funding, extensive networking, and career development activities for junior faculty who have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields.
ERC Starting Grant awarded to Kelly Swarts
Congratulations to Kelly Swarts, group leader at the Gregor Mendel Institute and the Max Perutz Labs Vienna, who has been awarded a Starting Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) for her project “Tree Ring Genomics”. This grant will fund the Swarts lab’s work on the adaptive responses of forest trees to climate change. The ERC is the most prestigious, and highly competitive, funding body for basic research within the European Union.
Max on the wall
Murals create opportunities for bold, highly visible statements. Over the last few decades street art has come a long way from an act of rebellion to a respected form of art. A large mural picturing the Austrian-British Nobel Prize winner Max Perutz and his science has just been completed on the facade of the Max Perutz Labs by the artist duo Käthe Schönle and Sebastian Schager, in collaboration with the art & science project ‘WIENERWISSEN’.
FWF grants awarded to Max Perutz Labs scientists
Congratulations to group leaders Roland Foisner, Martin Leeb, and Thomas Leonard who have received funding from the Austrian Science Fund FWF amounting to a total of €1,640,000. The funded projects will deal with gene regulation, cell fate decisions, and signal transduction.
Old drugs new tricks
Group leader Jörg Menche is part of Repo4EU, a platform for mechanism-based drug repurposing. The consortium, which includes 28 partners from 10 countries, has recently been awarded a 23 million Euro grant by the European Union under the Horizon Europe program. Jörg’s lab will receive €660,000 and will contribute their expertise in molecular network biology.
New light for electron microscopy
The lab of Thomas Juffmann, together with researchers from the University of Siegen, has developed a new technique that combines electron microscopy and laser technology to enable programmable, arbitrary shaping of electron beams. It can potentially be used for optimizing electron optics and for adaptive electron microscopy, with applications in structural biology and materials science. The technology maximizes sensitivity while minimizing beam-induced damage. The results are published in Physics Review X.
Circalunar clocks: using the right light
How animals are able to interpret natural light sources to adjust their physiology and behavior is poorly understood. The labs of Kristin Tessmar-Raible (Max Perutz Labs Vienna, Alfred Wegener Institut, University of Oldenburg) and Eva Wolf (Johannes Gutenberg University and Institute of Molecular Biology Mainz) have now revealed that a molecule called L-cryptochrome (L-Cry) has the biochemical properties to discriminate between different moon phases, as well as between sun- and moonlight. Their findings, published in Nature Communications, show that L-Cry can interpret moonlight to entrain the monthly (circalunar) clock of a marine worm to control sexual maturation and reproduction.
Stephanie Ellis named a 2022 Vallee Scholar
Congratulations to Stephanie Ellis who has received the 2022 Vallee Scholar Award from the Vallee Foundation. The career development grant aims to support outstanding junior faculty carrying out basic biomedical research and will help to fund Stephanie’s work on cell competition over the next four years.
Where art and science meet
From September 15 - 17, 2022 group leader Jörg Menche and his team hosted “The Shape of Things to Come”, a 3-day mixed-reality exhibition. At various locations across the Vienna BioCenter, scientists and artists presented their ideas of how they picture our future environment in augmented and virtual reality.
On standby: how the developing embryo guards against viral infection
Stem cells intrinsically express genes normally associated with the innate immune system, but in the absence of external stimuli such as viral infections. In new work published in EMBO Reports, the lab of Christa Bücker has discovered that expression of a key gene of the innate immune response, Irf1, is controlled by the gene regulatory network that regulates the transition from naïve to formative pluripotency during embryonic development. Their findings suggest that antiviral defense is upregulated to transiently protect the embryo from viral infections during a critical timepoint in development.
“The idea is to connect people” - Manuela Baccarini elected Vice-Rector
Congratulations to Max Perutz Labs faculty member Manuela Baccarini, who has been elected new Vice-Rector for Research and International Affairs of the University of Vienna. She will be part of the rectorate team led by rector Sebastian Schütze that will start its tenure in October 2022.
Exhibition about Max Perutz draws over 5.000 visitors
Although he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his research on hemoglobin, Max Perutz is hardly known to a broader public in Austria. The exhibition and science outreach project “Breathing at High Altitude” was created to teach the public about the life and science of this extraordinary researcher. During its first public showing at the University of Vienna the exhibition was visited by more than 5.000 people over the course of four weeks.