Swiss Light-sheet Microscopy Workshop

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…

VI INc Scientific Conferences

Last 10th and 11th of October, the INc celebrated its VI Scientific Conferences, and we were obviously there. It was fantastic! More than 130 researchers and students gathered together in a beautiful hotel, in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, to present their research and foster collaborations.

PhD students of 2nd year gave scientific communications explaining their projects, and Andrea was one of them. Pablo gave a talk as well, and Irene, Álex, Fabien, Pati and Laura presented posters. It was a great opportunity for them to receive interesting comments about their work.

Dr. Carmen Sandi, president of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), attended the conferences and gave an amazing plenary lecture. It was a pleasure to have the chance to talk to her!

After the plenary lecture, we all played a Trivia game, and guess what team was winning! Albert, Elisenda, Irene and Álex; ‘The Tsunamis’. Then, some technological issues happened… A conspiracy?

The conferences were also a good opportunity for us to better know some companies that provide services related to our work: publishing houses, lab material suppliers, etc. We would like to thank all of them for sponsoring the conferences!

Even knowing all the stress involved in the organization, we are already looking forward to the next edition of the conferences. Hopefully, the sun will rise to the occasion next time!

(The sun was only there for this picture…)

We will receive an ERC Proof of Concept Grant!

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!

 

Research: Altered protein modifications in mitochondrial disease

Our latest paper is out!

In collaboration with the Frizzell lab at the University of South Carolina we have published the article titled:

Succination is increased on select proteins in the brainstem of the Ndufs4 knockout mouse, a model of Leigh syndrome.” 

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.

 

 

 

A busy couple of months!

It’s been a while since the last post, and for a good reason!

It has been a really hectic couple of months…

But first things first…

During these months the lab space has taken shape, there is still some construction going on, but the main lab space is done. You can take a look at the benches before (and after) adding all the equipment.

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Importantly, our lab name plate is here! it is so cool to have it already in place, now we are even more excited to do science!

lab tag

 

The second remarkable event for the lab (other than the summer break) has been attending, in September, to the EMBO  workshop “Mitochondrial DNA and degeneration” held in Sitges, Barcelona.

It was a great meeting with plenty of exciting and eye-opening talks that showed us the cutting-edge science in mitochondrial research. Plus, we met many excellent mitochondrial scientists and potential collaborations!

FOTO GRUPO 1 psd (2)

Can you find Waldo (a.k.a the Quintana lab members?)

And last, but not least, we are really excited to introduce our new lab members 🙂 We welcome our first graduate students, Pati and Pablo, but this really deserves its own post!

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The lab gets bigger but we all share our drive to make excellent science in mitochondrial disease research!

 

The Quintana lab goes across the pond…

It has been an eventful couple of months for the Quintana lab.

It all started when we received a great offer to locate the lab at the Institute of Neurosciences at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, in the outskirts of Barcelona, Spain and have our research funded by one of the prestigious ERC Starting Grants (NEUROMITO: more in current projects).

ercAfter some careful thought, we have decided that this is a great opportunity for the lab to grow and to pursue our goal of finding a cure for mitochondrial disease. This funding has allowed most of the lab to move to Barcelona and will sustain and enhance our research capability in the future.

Even though it is sad to leave Seattle and to say goodbye to our friends at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the Northwest Mitochondrial Research Guild, we believe that this will be a positive move and that undoubtedly we will continue collaborating towards our common goal. We will always be in debt for the great opportunity, training and mentoring provided by our experience and colleagues in Seattle and we will continue to grow in Barcelona.

All “travelling” members: me (Albert), Eli, Alex, Irene and Kelsey are really looking forward to set our experiments up in Barcelona and we promise new and exciting updates soon! We are sad to leave Jessica and Ben behind, but we are sure they will have a bright and promising career in the future!

So, after a few years… we have to say: farewell Seattle and Welcome Barcelona!

 

 

Capcalera

Our latest paper is out!

We are really excited that our latest paper, in collaboration with the Bellen lab at Baylor, has been published in the prestigious journal Cell.

Our work, titled: Glial lipid droplets and ROS induced by mitochondrial defects promote neurodegeneration, has identified a conserved mechanism that leads to neuronal death after mitochondrial defects.

In this study, the Bellen lab, using the fruit fly as a model, identified that mitochondrial mutations causing reactive oxygen species (aka oxidative stress) induced  the accumulation of lipid droplets in glia, the cells that surround and support neurons, via activation of a pathway known as JNK/SREBP. Lipid droplets are energy storage organelles, especially when neurons are faulty, but when these lipid droplets become peroxidated glia is unable to support neurons, leading to their demise.

graphical abstract final

Credit: CellPress (cell.com)

Our work was key in identifying that this mechanism was present in mice, suggesting it has been evolutionary conserved, highlighting its potential importance.

Finally, we used a potent antioxidant, AD4, that crosses the blood-brain-barrier (which limits the access of many drugs to the brain), and showed that it was able to reduce and delay the onset of the disease.

We are really excited of the future therapeutic potential of this approach and we are really happy of this fruitful collaboration (pun intended!).

The article can be accessed here.