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Read “Liquid-liquid phase separation in biology” in Annual Reviews

Everything you ever wanted to know about our current understanding of cytoplasmic organization by phase separation, from the physics behind it to the consequences for disease, in one comprehensive review:

Hyman AA, Weber CA, Jülicher F. Liquid-liquid phase separation in biology. Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2014 Oct 11;30:39-58.

Congratulations to Tony, Frank Jülicher, and Christoph Weber (a postdoc in Frank’s lab)!

Impact of water in a water-surface

Image credit: Marlon Felippe, Wikimedia Commons

New! Video abstract for “Amyloid-like self-assembly of a cellular compartment”

Watch the video abstract for Boke et al 2016, “Amyloid-like self-assembly of a cellular compartment,” and see the full post about it on the Science Sketches website!

Come see us at ASCB 2016!

The Hyman lab is represented at the 2016 ASCB annual meeting, taking place now in San Francisco. Come see us if you’re here!

• Sunday, Dec 4, 12pm-1:30pm: Louise Jawerth presents her poster, “The liquid to gel transition in protein droplets” (poster B1345)

• Sunday, Dec 4, 5:20pm-5:35pm: Shamba Saha gives a talk, “An mRNA competition mechanism regulated localized phase separation of liquid-like P granules in C. elegans embryo,” Room 103

• Monday, Dec 5, 12:28-12:35pm: Elvan Boke gives a talk, “Amyloid-like self-assembly of a cellular compartment,” Microsymposia Room 2 Hall C

• Monday, Dec 5,1:30pm-3:00pm: Jeff Woodruff presents his poster, “The centrosome is a selective phase that nucleates microtubules by concentrating tubulin” (poster B342)

Yesterday (Dec 3), Tony spoke at the ASAPbio session to advocate for the use of pre-prints in Biology, and he also spoke at the stem cell session, giving a talk entitled, “Cell biology of the stem cell to neuron transformation.”

Finally, Lisa Dennison will be at all 3 Science Discussion Tables (Dec 4, 11am-12pm; Dec 5, 3-4pm; Dec 6, 11am-12pm), discussing sciencesketches.org

We hope to see you here in San Francisco!

On Research Funding and the Power of Youth

Read the full essay on the importance of funding young scientists, written for the President’s Column of the October issue of the ASCB newsletter by Tony Hyman, Ashad Desai, and Peter Walter.

“On Research Funding and the Power of Youth” – PDF

Video: Interview with Tony about phase transitions and disease

Watch a video of Tony explaining phase transitions and disease on the new website “Latest Thinking,” which is a video collection of researchers explaining their latest breakthroughs. Be sure to also check out the videos of Tony answering other short questions in the “Beyond” section just below the main video.

Congratulations to Oliver, Jeff, and colleagues on their paper & video abstract in Biology Open, investigating regulation of centrosome assembly

In new work published this month in Biology Open, Oliver Wueseke, David Zwicker, Jeff Woodruff, and colleagues show that PKL-1 phosphorylation of the centrosome scaffold protein SPD-5 is a key regulatory step which determines centrosome size and density. Importantly, they show that this step is not necessary for proper maintenance or function of the centrosome. Watch their Science Sketches video abstract below, and read the full article online, which is currently featured on the Biology Open home page!

Polo-like kinase phosphorylation determines Caenorhabditiselegans centrosome size and density by biasing SPD-5 toward an assembly-competent conformation
Oliver Wueseke*, David Zwicker*, Anne Schwager, Yao Liang Wong, Karen Oegema, Frank Jülicher, Anthony A. Hyman, Jeffrey B. Woodruff
Biology Open 2016 5: 1431-1440; doi: 10.1242/bio.020990

Welcome, Ceciel, our newest PhD student!

The Hyman Lab welcomes Ceciel Jegers, our newest PhD student. Ceciel comes to us from the Netherlands, and she will be working on phase transitions in cells and disease.

Congratulations to Shamba on his paper in Cell on the positioning of liquid-like compartments through an RNA competition mechanism. Plus – video abstract!

In a collaboration with the group of Frank Jülicher at the MPI-PKS, Shamba Saha and colleagues have discovered that an RNA-competition mechanism is at the heart of correct P granule positioning in C. elegans. P granules are liquid-like compartments that segregate to the posterior end of the one-cell embryo before cell division. Previous work in our lab revealed that P granules dissolved at one end of the embryo and condensed at the other to drive segregation (Brangwynne et al, 2009), but it was not known what regulated this process until now. Read the paper, the MPI-CBG press release, and watch Shamba’s video abstract below!

Saha S, Weber CA, Nousch M, Adame-Arana O, Hoege C, Hein MY, Osborne-Nishimura E, Mahamid J, Jahnel M, Jawerth L, Pozniakovski A, Eckmann CR, Jülicher F, Hyman AA. Polar Positioning of Phase-Separated Liquid Compartments in Cells Regulated by an mRNA Competition Mechanism. 2016, Cell 166(6):1572-1584.

“No man is an island”: an essay from the archives about the value of collaboration

In 1996, when Tony was a group leader at the EMBL, he wrote an essay for Current Biology entitled “No man is an island” on the importance of long-term collaboration and shared credit in science. The topic is just as relevant today as it was 20 years ago. Maybe it’s time to implement Tony’s two-dimensional system for assigning authorship! Read the full essay here.2d-authorship

An interview with Tony in “Lab Times”, news magazine for the European Life Sciences

Read Tony’s interview with Lab Times, in which he discusses peer review, gender equality, open access, and more.


Goodbye, Jana!

We’ve bid a sad farewell to our intrepid intern, Jana Sipkova. Jana worked for a year with postdoc Shamba Saha, and she was a fantastic addition to the lab. She’s now heading back to the UK to finish up her bachelor studies in London. Good luck, Jana! We miss you already.

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Congratulations to Elisabeth on her paper “Rheology of the Active Cell Cortex in Mitosis”, out now in Biophysical Journal

New work from our postdoc Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich and colleagues investigates how the mechanical properties of the cell cortex change to prepare cells for division. Their work “provides a characterization of the time-dependent mechanical properties of the mitotic cortex, confirming that it behaves like an active fluid film on longer timescales. Modulation of the properties of this film drives cell morphology and tissue reorganization.”

Read the full text for free here:

Fischer-Friedrich E, Toyoda Y, Cattin CJ, Müller DJ, Hyman AA, Jülicher F. Rheology of the Active Cell Cortex in Mitosis. 2016. Biophys J. 111(3):589-600.

New video on iBiology: Encouraging Innovation

In a new talk filmed for iBiology.org, Tony makes the case that funding young investigators is critical to encouraging scientific innovation. Tony discusses the European models of EMBL and the ERC as examples of successful way to separate the funding of junior and senior scientists, thereby giving young investigators more freedom to innovate. As evidence for this, a new qualitative study of ERC grant outcomes found that over 70% of completed Starting and Advanced Grant projects made scientific breakthroughs or major scientific advances.

Watch Tony’s talk and find links to more related resources on iBiology.org!


Congratulations to Elvan, Martine, and colleagues on their paper, “Amyloid-like Self-Assembly of a Cellular Compartment,” out now in Cell

New work from a collaboration between the Mitchison lab and our institute is out now in the journal Cell. Elvan Boke and colleagues propose that the Balbiani body, a non-membrane-bound compartment in vertebrate oocytes, is formed by amyloid-like assembly of proteins containing prion-like domains. The Balbiani body contains RNA, mitochondria, and other organelles needed by the early embryo after fertilization. The amyloid-like assembly of prion-like proteins in the Balbiani body (such as Xvelo in Xenopus) may form a protective compartment to help oocytes function as long-lived germ cells. The authors show that Xvelo forms a stable matrix with amyloid-like properties both in vivo and in vitro and that the association of Xvelo with the Balbiani body is dependent on Xvelo’s prion-like domain. See the graphical abstract below and read the full paper here: Boke et al, Cell 2016.

Congratulations to Elvan, our postdoc Martine Ruer, and the whole team!

Graphical abstract for Boke et al, Cell 2016.

Graphical abstract for Boke et al, Cell 2016.

Boke E, Ruer M, Wühr M, Coughlin M, Lemaitre R, Gygi SP, Alberti S, Drechsel D, Hyman AA, Mitchison T. Amyloid-like self-assembly of a cellular compartment. 2016, Cell 166, 637-650.

Goodbye, Mahdiye!

Last week we bid farewell to Mahdiye Ijavi, who was working with postdoc Louise Jawerth to study the physical properties of liquid protein droplets. Mahdiye will be starting a PhD in Zurich, Switzerland in the fall, and we all wish her the best of luck. She will be missed!

Mahdiye's goodbye dinner

Mahdiye’s goodbye dinner. From left: Carsten, Lisa, Avinash, Anatol, Bea, Stefan, Louise, Mahdiye, Mark, Jana, Shamba, Jie, Stephen, and Andrés

Photos from the International Congress of Cell Biology in Prague

The 12th meeting of the International Congress of Cell Biology was held in Prague on July 21-25. Many Hyman lab members attended and had a fantastic trip. Thank you to the meeting organizers!

Avinash, Carsten, Andrés, Jana, and Shamba at ICCB

Avinash, Carsten, Andrés, Jana, and Shamba at ICCB

Andrés at his poster

Andrés at his poster

Town Hall on Preprints in Woods Hole today

If you’re in Woods Hole, join Tony, Ron Vale, Jessica Polka, and Daniel Cólon-Ramos for a town hall discussion on preprints in the life sciences @ 4pm in Rowe Auditorium. For more info on this initiative, visit ASAPbio.org.asapbiotownhall

Congratulations to Mark on his paper in Biology Open examining the genetic link between temperature and fertility in nematodes. Plus – video abstract!

Congratulations to Mark Leaver on his publication in Biology Open, which is open access and available now online! Click here for the full text. And watch Mark’s 2 minute video abstract below!

Leaver M, Kienle S, Begasse ML, Sommer RJ, Hyman AA. A locus in Pristionchus pacificus that is responsible for the ability to give rise to fertile offspring at higher temperatures. Biology Open 2016: doi: 10.1242/bio.018127

Written and narrated by Mark Leaver. Edited and produced by Lisa Dennison.

For related content, see Maria Begasse’s video abstract and Mark’s first Two Minute Talk.

Tony at the bench

We’ve been sent some proof that Tony, Jeff, and Richard are hard at work in Woods Hole. :)2016-07-06-PHOTO-00000189 IMG_1904

Tony, Jeff, & Richard are in Woods Hole!

Tony arrives today at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL). He and two of our postdocs, Jeff Woodruff and Richard Wheeler, are there for the Summer Institute. So if you’re also at Woods Hole this summer, keep an eye out for them and say hello!

• July 11, 11:30am: Jeff and Richard will give back-to-back seminars in Lillie 103.
• July 14, 9:00am: Tony will be giving the Albert Szent-Györgyi Endowed Lecture in the Lillie Auditorium.

GRC on Intrinsically Disordered Proteins

Tony is back from giving a talk on “Aberrant Phase Transitions and Disease” at the Gordon Research Conference on Intrinsically Disordered Proteins in Les Diablerets, Switzerland. Thanks to the chairs, Richard Kriwacki and Monika Fuxreiter, for organizing such a fantastic meeting!

  • Archives

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    Regulation of centrosome assembly by phosphorylation: Video Abstract for Wueseke et al, Biology Open 2016

    Phase separation in cell polarity: Video Abstract for Saha et al, Cell 2016

    Encouraging Innovation, iBiology.org

    Video Abstract for Leaver et al, Biology Open 2016

    Cell PaperFlick on Phase Transitions in Disease

    Check out this playlist to watch all the videos in our "Two Minute Talk" Series

    Encouraging innovation through peer review and evaluation

    What is a Discovery?

    Embryonic Development of C.elegans