Our public science project makes it to London’s Science Museum Lates

A collaborative public science project between Babraham Institute scientists, electronic musician Max Cooper and video artist Andy Lomas that was initiated by Mikhail has made it to Science Museum Lates yesterday!

The centrepiece of our exhibit, “Chromos”, was a virtual reality walkthrough the 3D structure of chromosomes based on 3D models of interphase chromatin generated from single-cell Hi-C data. The project also featured a music video based on the same data and a presentation about the science behind this work.

Molecular dynamics simulations by Csilla Varnái (Peter Fraser’s group) using single-cell Hi-C data from Takashi Nagano were used for both the video and the VR. The science presentation was put together by Stefan Schoenfelder, Csilla and Mikhail. Special thanks go to Babraham Institute’s public engagement team (and particularly Tacita Croucher) who managed and funded this project, and Babraham scientists Valeriya Malysheva, Zahra Fahmi, Daisy Luff and Rafeah Alam who volunteered at the event!

ChromosGroupPhoto2

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Valeriya and Pawel join the group

February saw two new group members join us.

Valeriya Malysheva, funded by a commercialisation grant from Babraham’s Knowlegde Exchange Committee, joins us after a PhD at IGBMC in Strasbourg and will work on optimising the experimental and bioinformatics sides of promoter capture Hi-C.

Pawel Bednarz will stay with us for 6 months on a visiting studentship from Poland and will work on the relationship between genetic variation and promoter interactions.

Welcome Valeriya and Pawel!

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Lina and Michiel win Biotechnology YES competition

The team of Babraham PhD students Lina Dobnikar, Michiel Thiecke, Natasha Morgan and Rachael Huntley (the first two of them from our group!) has won the prestigious Biotechnology YES competition, pitching their startup proposal on a new chemical for fighting bee parasites to a panel of judges at the Royal Society in London. The proposal is currently fictional, but it is based on real science and Michiel’s practical knowledge of beekeeping, so who knows – perhaps the prize will inspire the winners to put their proposal into practice? Either way, huge congratulations!

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Paper on linking GWAS SNPs with target genes with Promoter Capture Hi-C is out!

This paper, published in today’s issue of Cell, presents a high-resolution analysis of interactions involving nearly all annotated promoters in 17 human primary blood cell types. Integrating promoter interaction maps with chromatin and population genetics data, we link enhancers and promoters, and disease-associated variants with their putative target genes. The paper is the result of a large multi-centre collaboration of Peter Fraser’s and our labs at Babraham Institute with fantastic colleagues and friends from other Cambridge centres. It’s been a hugely productive and exciting collaboration, which will hopefully continue beyond this project.

Paper (open access): http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(16)31322-8.
A minireview presenting this paper in the same issue of Cell: http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(16)31519-7 (Open Access).
Press release: http://www.babraham.ac.uk/news/2016/11/researchers-identify-missing-links-that-connect-human-dna-variation-with-disease

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Paula is moving to the LMB

We are saying goodbye to the first brave person who joined Mikhail’s group when it was starting from scratch. Paula is moving several miles up the road to MRC LMB – to work on establishing a core bioinformatics service there. We are very sorry Paula is leaving us, but congratulate her on securing a job at such a fantastic place.

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Group retreat – science at the Eagle and Laser Tag

This year’s group retreat started with science brainstorming at the famous Eagle pub (which, bizarrely, opens for business at 8am). We then went over to Letchworth for an hour of laser tag! Turns out shooting at your colleagues is a lot of fun – especially when they don’t feel anything (unlike in paintball or in the more extreme version of laser tag involving electric shocks)…

lasertag

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