The Quintanalab-Calçotada 2019 took place on a super sunny April day in El Priorat de Banyeres, a tiny village near Vilafranca. Thanks, Andrea, for offering the house!
It is already a tradition that the whole group gathers together one day to eat calçots with salsa romesco and have fun.
(Please, note Albert’s Salt Bae position…)
Àlex was the calçots chef. A fire was made, and he cooked the calçots with patience and expertise. He did an excellent job as they were very delicious!
After the heavy lunch, to digest, we played dodgeball. Ask Albert who won. Spoiler: not his team.
Then we drunk mojitos and talked and drunk more mojitos… It was a very nice day! Can’t wait for the Quintanalab-Calçotada 2020!
Last 24th and 25th of April, Andrea, Pablo, Elisenda and Albert went to Zurich to attend the Swiss Light-sheet Microscopy Workshop.
It was a two days meeting in which researchers from all over the world gathered together to share the observational techniques they are using. Users and developers discussed newest advances in the field and exchanged ideas.
Elisenda was telling me about these 3D glasses that transported you inside a gigantic transparent brain in which you could observe a specific neuron from all possible angles. Exciting! Pablo is there in the picture:
They were very impressed by everything they saw, and learned a lot! Albert said it was a very productive conference and can’t wait to have the chance to try some of these techniques in the lab. He also told me they were happy they had the chance to have a typical Swiss dinner: fondue, raclette and rösti. Fabien might not agree about this being a typical Swiss dinner and not a French one…
The European Research Council (ERC) has selected us for a Proof of Concept grant to develop a new research line focused on a novel approach to figh antibiotic resistances: the ResisTEST. This project, derived from the knowledge and experience gathered with NEUROMITO, has been chosen for its innovation potential, its significant impact and its quality, and will receive an amount of 150,000€ for a 18 month period. The objective is to bring closer to the market a new tool to help face one of the most important challenges that society will have to face within the next years: the antibiotic crisis. We are very glad to have this opportunity!
Here it is the talk Albert gave for the first Federative Day for Neuroscience in Strasbourg, organized by Doctoneuro, on April 20th, 2018 – Nice summary about what mitochondrial diseases are and what work we do in the lab!
One of the key parts of science, and in opinion, what really is it all about, is to communicate one’s research, to announce your results to colleagues and to give back to society by explaining the breakthroughs (or complications) of our research, even if that means (sometimes), cancelled flights, a lot of flying hours, delayed luggage, frequent flier miles and jet lag (having the change to reach gold medallion status is a small perk).
It was full of really good science, scientists, and friends! so lots of things to learn and to transfer to the lab (yay!). Also, the venue was incredible… Just look at the pictures!
And… just after the flight back, take the high speed train to Madrid to a really wonderful experience. I was invited to meet, talk and present our research to the spanish association of mitochondrial disease patients and families (AEPMI). It is always humbling and extraordinary to meet with the families and the kids, as it really tells you that
whatever we do, no matter how small it seems, it matters
And that is that gets us running!
Recently (this past February, sorry, we are running a little bit late!) we were invited by the Spanish Research Agency in the USA to attend the Destination Europe conference held in Boston, MA, organized by the European Commission.
The event was designed to showcase the research opportunities in Europe to any scientist interested in working in Europe.
Over 11 european countries and associations were present in the 2-day conference, including a meeting in Boston and a job-fair at MIT. The role of the Quintana lab (Albert in this case) testimonial was two-fold: 1) describe the opportunities for researchers in Spain and 2) present the advantages of applying (and obtaining) an ERC grant, which were also showcased in this interview in the EURAXESS NA newsletter.
Furthermore, it was great to hear to the different experts explain the many (and diverse) opportunities to do research in Europe (you can find the presentations in this LINK).
Plus… it is not every day that one can give a lecture at the MIT!
To celebrate that it has been 30 years since Spain joined the European Union, its Barcelona Office has decided to look at twelve personal stories that highlight the impact the EU has had on them (as a proxy for society).
The stories range from funds to promote local agriculture, film making to, as in our case, research and one of them will be showcased every month, and the Quintana lab, as an ERC-funded lab, was selected to talk about the research grant EU programs.
We were also invited to the program presentation, along with EU Barcelona Office President, Ferran Tarradellas, acclaimed film maker Isabel Coixet who told us about her EU-funded project Paris je t’aime and engineer/enterpreneur Marc Rovira, from the company zero to infinity , who told us about flying and shipping cargo to the stratosphere (so cool) in the near (present)-future using helium balloons.
We had a chance to highlight our research and to explain the importance that EU-funding policies had on our lab, on mitochondrial disease research, and on society as a whole.
More information on the different programs can be obtained here (in catalan, but google translate does work 🙂 ).
The teaser is also available and just keep an eye for a new story every month…
And look for us this coming April!
Our latest paper is out!
in the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.
In this paper, we have been able to identify that the metabolic deficits mediated by mitochondrial dysfunction (we used our Leigh Syndrome mice for this study) lead to permanent modifications in discrete proteins in affected neurons.
These modifications (called succination) have been shown to impair the activity of proteins in other studies, therefore we believe these mitochondrial proteins will also lose function in our model. Interestingly, our study shows that these modifications are only observed in cells residing in areas affected by the pathology, further enhancing the idea that they may mediate the selective damage observed in mitochondrial disease.
The main proteins observed to be altered, VDAC1 and VDAC2, are key factors controlling transport of ions and molecules inside the mitochondria, so these results open a new and interesting line of research in the lab in the overarching goal of finding a cure for mito disease.
This past Thursday the Quintana lab was honored to share a wonderful night at the Círculo Ecuestre of Barcelona to raise awareness for mitochondrial disease research.
The event was organized by Isabel Lavín (and her husband Valero), the parents of Mencía, a really wonderful 7 year-old girl, and gathered a large audience of friends, mito families and researchers to educate on mitochondrial disease and help find a treatment for Mencía and all mito kids.
The night included several interesting and didactic and informative talks by local mitochondrial experts such as Dr. Julio Montoya and Dr. Jaume Campistol as well as an outline of the potential treatments that gene and cellular therapy may bring to mitochondrial research.
One of the highlights of the event was the announcement of the establishment of a new Foundation for Mitochondrial Research, devoted to find a cure (mainly via gene and cellular therapy) for mitochondrial disease. It was impressive the amount of support from many national (and international) celebrities!
Finally, we could enjoy an exquisite selection of hors d’oeuvres and drinks while participating in a charity raffle. Needless to say, the lab (at least part of it), was lucky 🙂
So, a big welcome to the new Foundation!