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Before long, Alessandra Zarantonello travels to Paris and Henrik Pedersen to Boston to build on their research with the complement system, which is part of the innate immune system. However, they are completely shifting gear from atoms and equations to learn in vivo work (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen).

2021.05.05 | Grant

Two postdocs get a unique chance to join Sorbonne Université and Harvard Medical School

With competitive grants from the Independent Research Fund Denmark and the Lundbeck Foundation, two postdocs from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University, Alessandra Zarantonello and Henrik Pedersen, have now been given the unique chance to join the prestigious research institutions Sorbonne Université in Paris and…

Andrii Bugai (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen)

2021.04.19 | Grant

Andrii Bugai receives the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship

Postdoc Andrii Bugai from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University receives the highly prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to study how our genome is regulated at the level of RNA turnover.

Erik Østergaard Jensen (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen)

2021.03.26 | People

Erik Østergaard Jensen continues as head of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

From 1 June 2021, Associate Professor and Head of Department Erik Østergaard Jensen has been reappointed for another three years as head of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG) - a position he has had since 2004.

Jørgen Kjems (left) and Morten Venø are partners in a new consortium, PRIME, that will seek to develop biological nano-implants - based on naturally occurring signaling pathways - that can help patients with epilepsy. Photo: Anne Færch Nielsen.

2021.03.10 | Research, Knowledge exchange

Developing biological nano-implants to block epileptic seizures

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases, and seizures can be debilitating. Unfortunately, treatments to prevent these seizures are lacking. Jørgen Kjems from iNANO and the Department of Molecular Biology at Aarhus University and the AU spinout company, OMIICS, are partners in a new consortium, PRIME, that will seek to develop…

Unraveling the three-dimensional structure of the glycine transporter, researchers have now come a big step closer to understanding the regulation of glycine in the brain. These result open up opportunities to find effective drugs that inhibit GlyT1 function, with major implications for the treatment of schizophrenia and other mental disorders. Figure: Azadeh Shahsavar

2021.03.04 | Research, Knowledge exchange

Structure determination of the glycine transporter GlyT1 opens new avenues in development of psychiatric drugs

Glycine can stimulate or inhibit neurons in the brain, thereby controlling complex functions. Unraveling the three-dimensional structure of the glycine transporter, researchers have now come a big step closer to understanding the regulation of glycine in the brain. These results, which have been published in Nature, open up opportunities…

Thibaud Dieudonné (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen)

2021.02.25 | Grant

Thibaud Dieudonné receives the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship

Postdoc Thibaud Dieudonné from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University receives the highly prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to study how a human lipid transporter is linked to a rare inherited liver disease.

In order to describe the structure of properdin oligomers, the researchers used two independent techniques. In the panels with a dark background, the properdin molecule is seen as a light triangular molecule with an "eye" in each corner. This image was obtained by electron microscopy. The panels with a light background show the corresponding results obtained with small angle scattering. The results from the two independent techniques fit surprisingly well with each other. Figure: Dennis Vestergaard Pedersen and Gregers Rom Andersen

2021.02.17 | Research

Dennis tamed the protein from hell in seven years

After seven years of intense research, a research group from Aarhus University has succeeded - through an interdisciplinary collaboration - in understanding why a very extended structure is important for an essential protein from the human immune system. The new results offer new opportunities for adjusting the activity of the immune system both…

The Lundbeck Foundation is giving the DANDRITE neuroscience centre at Aarhus University DKK 75 M (EUR 10 M) to spend on research up to 2028. Photo: Colourbox

2021.02.10 | Grant

Grant worth DKK 75 M for neuroscience in Aarhus

The Lundbeck Foundation is giving the DANDRITE neuroscience centre at Aarhus University funding to spend on research up to 2028. The funds worth DKK 75 M (EUR 10 M) will primarily be spent on recruitment of five new DANDRITE group leaders to head individual neuroscience research programmes.

Researchers from Aarhus University have discovered that ITIH4 inhibits proteases in the innate immune system via an unknown mechanism. Figure: Rasmus Kjeldsen Jensen.

2021.01.26 | Research

An interdisciplinary research team from Denmark discovers new control mechanism in the innate immune system

Although the protein ITIH4 is found in large amounts in the blood, its function has so far been unknown. By combining many different techniques, researchers from Aarhus University have discovered that ITIH4 inhibits proteases in the innate immune system via an unknown mechanism. The research results have just been published in the prestigious…

Faba bean (photo: Marcin Nadzieja, MBG, AU)
Faba bean plant (photo: Marcin Nadzieja, MBG, AU)

2021.01.25 | Research, Knowledge exchange

New grant for improving faba bean yield and protein quality

With a grant of DKK 15 million (EUR 2M) from the Green Development and Demonstration Programme (GUDP) - a programme under the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries of Denmark - Danish researchers and breeders will develop new faba bean cultivars for use as a locally grown alternative to imported soy protein.

The consortium, BOUNDLESS, has received DKK 14.4 M from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The consortium consists of Frans Mulder, Lene N. Nejsum, and Magnus Kjærgaard from Aarhus University as well as Siewert Jan Marrink from University of Groningen (NL). (Photos: private)

2021.01.18 | Grant

New interdisciplinary consortium at AU will study membrane-less organelles

Associate Professor Magnus Kjærgaard participates in a new consortium, BOUNDLESS, headed by Associate Professor Frans Mulder and funded by the Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme of the Novo Nordisk Foundation. With the grant of DKK 14.4 M, the consortium will study how membrane-less organelles control key biological processes.

The LysM receptors on the outside of root cells from the legume <em>Lotus japonicus</em>  determine whether harmful or beneficial microbes from the soil are recognised by the plant. The structure of the symbiotic receptor LYK3 and comparison with the immune chitin receptor CERK6 helped the researchers map important elements for recognition (figure: Kasper Røjkjær Andersen)

2021.01.05 | Research

Top 5 science result in 2020: Signal molecules are the key to less use of fertilisers

Results published in Science from Aarhus University describe how legumes pick up special signalling molecules to distinguish between harmful and beneficial microbes. These results have been nominated by the Danish technical news journal “Ingeniøren” (the Engineer) as being among the five most important results in Denmark in 2020.

RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) initiates transcription at a multitude of positions in the human genome. However, only a fraction of these sites is associated with genes that give rise to functional RNA. The ‘Integrator’ complex by default terminates RNAPII shortly after its initiation (top), unless specific gene-defining elements are present allowing for transition to productive elongation (bottom). In the latter case, transcription is typically terminated by the ‘Cleavage & Polyadenylation’ Complex that recognizes specific ‘terminator’ sequence elements in the genome (bottom, red box). In the former case the produced short RNA is by default rapidly degraded by the RNA exosome, whereas snRNAs constitute a special case that avoids degradation. Figure:  Søren Lykkke-Andersen.

2020.12.31 | Research

Integrator: A guardian of the human transcriptome

In a joint collaboration, Danish and German researchers have characterized a cellular activity that protects our cells from potentially toxic by-products of gene expression. This activity is central for the ability of multicellular organisms to uphold a robust evolutionary ‘reservoir’ of gene products.

Lotte Victoria W. Stagsted (top) and Milena Timcenko Tronsgaard

2020.12.21 | Awards

Lotte V.W. Stagsted and Milena T. Tronsgaard receive the Kjeld Marcker PhD Award 2020

Once a year, the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics awards one or more PhD Awards to PhD student(s) who has defended his/her PhD in the past year, and who has made an exceptional effort.

Jørgen Kjems is one of the participants in the ODIN projects (Photo: Screen dump from video)

2020.12.15 | Research, Knowledge exchange

Aarhus University and industry start five open research projects to pave the way for new pharmaceuticals

Jørgen Kjems and Daniel Otzen from MBG/iNANO have been chosen to participate in one of the first five research projects in the Open Discovery Innovation Network (ODIN) addressing five global health problems: kidney diseases, atherosclerosis, colon cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and neurological disorders. In the projects, researchers…

Bjørn Panyella Pedersen (photo: Anders Trærup, Aarhus University)

2020.12.09 | Grant

Bjørn Panyella Pedersen receives prestigious grant from the European Research Council

Associate Professor Bjørn Panyella Pedersen from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University receives an ERC Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council for research in plant growth. The amount awarded is EUR 2.0 million and runs over five years.

Throughout The Great Bake Off, Mads Eg Andersen's ingenuity has impressed the judges. Here he is in the process of making his contest-winning cake in the final. Photo: Conny Kaalund O'Carrol

2020.12.09 | Awards, Knowledge exchange

Scientific curiosity secured AU student’s victory in the TV show “The Great Bake Off”

What is a baking contest winner made of? Equal parts of pure joy of baking mixed with scientific curiosity is the recipe for Mads Eg Andersen, who studies molecular biology at Aarhus University. He has benefited from his scientific approach throughout the season of The Great Bake Off, and his perfected chocolate work secured his victory in the…

A boiling sulphur pool on Iceland where Sulfolobus thrives. This is what the landscape might have looked like when life began on Earth approx. 3.5 billion years ago (Colourbox).

2020.11.25 | Research

New insights into how the CRISPR immune system evolved

With new insights into how the genetic tool CRISPR – which allows direct editing of our genes – evolved and adapted, we are now one step closer to understanding the basis of the constant struggle for survival that takes place in nature. The results can be used in future biotechnologies.

Figure: Christian Kroun Damgaard.
Left side: During normal neuronal differentiation circZNF827 is induced and fine-tunes specific neuronal gene expression by assembly of nuclear transcription regulatory complex consisting of ZNF827 (green ovals “827”) and hnRNP K/-L (blue boxes “K” and “L”). This complex limits the transcriptional output from several neuronal genes including Nerve Growth Factor Receptor (NGFR). Right side: Downregulation of circZNF827 or either of ZNF827 or hnRNP K/-L relieves the transcriptional repression to exacerbate neuronal differentiation, which is likely faulty. Figure: Christian Kroun Damgaard og Anne Kruse Hollensen.

2020.11.12 | Research

Circular RNA regulates neuronal differentiation by scaffolding an inhibitory transcription complex

In a screening for a functional impact to the neuronal differentiation process, Danish researchers identified a specific circular RNA, circZNF827, which surprisingly “taps the brake” on neurogenesis. The results provide an interesting example of co-evolution of a circRNA, and its host-encoded protein product, that regulate each other’s function,…

The research was carried out in a collaboration between researchers from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital: In the front row are the two first authors of the scientific article in <em>EMBO Reports</em> (from left): Louise Dalskov and Michelle Møhlenberg. Back (from left): Hans Jürgen Hoffmann, Christian Kanstrup Holm and Rune Hartmann. Photo: Lisbeth Heilesen.

2020.10.28 | Research

Why are some COVID-19 infected people asymptomatic?

Immune cells in the lungs are important for the immune system's recognition and fight against viruses. However, the virus that produces COVID-19 is not recognised by these cells, as the virus may hide its genomic material, and as a result the cells' immune system against the virus is not activated. This may help explain why some people with…

Poul Nissen (right) and his colleagues will establish an Infrastructure for Cryo-Electron Tomography (ICE-T) which will be embedded in the Danish National Cryo-EM Facility – EMBION – where cryo-CLEM and high-end cryo-TEMs are available. From the left: Thomas Boesen and Gregers Rom Andersen. Photo: Lisbeth Heilesen
Titan Krios2 during installation at the EMBION facility will be crucial for the workflow in ICE-T. Photo: Thomas Boesen

2020.10.09 | Grant

The cryoEM facility EMBION receives EUR 1.8 million (DKK 13.3 million) from the Novo Nordisk Foundation for large equipment

With the grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, main applicant Poul Nissen and colleagues from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and iNANO as well as partners at the Department of Biomedicine and the Department of Engineering will be able to establish an infrastructure for Cryo-Electron Tomography (ICE-T), which will also be made…

Pseudo-coloured electron micrograph depicting nanoparticles circulating in the bloodstream along with red blood cells (red) and those sequestered in endothelial cells lining the blood vessel (yellow). (Figure: Yuya Hayashi).
Fluorescently labelled 70 nm SiO2 nanoparticles were injected into the bloodstream of 3 days old transgenic zebrafish embryos and live-imaged at 3 min after the injection. The insets show schematics for the two conditions tested: control nanoparticles with a corona of endogenous proteins (orange) and nanoparticles with a pre-formed corona of fetal bovine serum (FBS) proteins (blue) and additional endogenous proteins. Control nanoparticles are rapidly captured by macrophages, while the nanoparticles with a non-self biological identity are effectively sequestered by scavenger endothelial cells. (Image: Yuya Hayashi. Adapted from Mohammad-Beigi et al. (2020) ACS Nano. Copyright 2020 American Chemical Society)
Hossein Mohammad-Beigi from iNANO (left) and Yuya Hayashi from MBG work together to tackle long-standing questions in bionanoscience using a zebrafish model (Photo: Hoda Eskandari)

2020.09.30 | Research

Zebrafish embryos help prove what happens to nanoparticles in the blood

What happens to the nanoparticles when they are injected into the bloodstream, for example, to destroy solid tumours? With new results published in ACS Nano, researchers from Aarhus University are now ready to tackle such a challenging question using zebrafish embryos as a new study model in nanomedicine and nanotoxicology.

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