Recent publications
0 – Neuron.: co-auth.: group Auer

NeuroView TReND in Africa: Toward a Truly Global (Neuro)science Community

Tom Baden,1,2,3, * Mahmoud Bukar Maina,1,3,4 Andre Maia Chagas,1,3 Yunusa Garba Mohammed,3,5 Thomas O. Auer,3,6 Ana Silbering,3,7 Lukas von Tobel,3 Marie Pertin,3,8 Renee Hartig,3,9,10 Jelena Aleksic,3,11 Ibukun Akinrinade,3,12 Mosab A. Awadelkareem,3,13 Artemis Koumoundourou,3,14 Aled Jones,3,15 Fabiana Arieti,3,16 Andrew Beale,3,17 Daniel Munch, € 3,18 Samyra Cury Salek,1,3 Sadiq Yusuf,3,19 and Lucia L. Prieto-Godino3,20.

TReND is a volunteer-scientist run charity dedicated to promoting research and education on the African continent. Focusing on neuroscience, we discuss approaches to address some of the factors that currently stifle Africa’s scientific development and our experience in implementing them.


EMBO Rep.: auth.: group Fajas and co-auth.: group Thorens and S.Croizier


This study investigated the role of CDK4 in the oxidative metabolism of brown adipose tissue (BAT). BAT from Cdk4-/- mice exhibited fewer lipids and increased mitochondrial volume and expression of canonical thermogenic genes, rendering these mice more resistant to cold exposure. Interestingly, these effects were not BAT cell-autonomous but rather driven by increased sympathetic innervation. In particular, the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) is known to modulate BAT activation via the sympathetic nervous system. We thus examined the effects of VMH neuron-specific Cdk4 deletion. These mice display increased sympathetic innervation and enhanced cold tolerance, similar to Cdk4-/- mice, in addition to browning of scWAT. Overall, we provide evidence showing that CDK4 modulates thermogenesis by regulating sympathetic innervation of adipose tissue depots through hypothalamic nuclei, including the VMH. This demonstrates that CDK4 not only negatively regulates oxidative pathways, but also modulates the central regulation of metabolism through its action in the brain.


LS2 “PIs of Tomorrow”, Feb 18-19, 2021 at the UNIGE – Applications’ deadline: 01.11.2020

We are pleased to announce the call for applications for the session


“PIs of tomorrow: The Future of Swiss Research”


at the next LS2 Annual Meeting 2021, taking place in Geneva, 18-19 February.


This session offers postdocs interested in an academic career an opportunity to present a plenary talk similar in format to a professorship interview seminar. Please, find all the information about the last PIs of tomorrow 2020 at The 2021 edition and call will be published in September under the same link.


Selected participants will have the chance to get a slot for a 15-minute presentation, which should appeal to a broad audience and in which both the achievements accomplished and the proposed future research are to be explained. The talk will be followed by a 10-minute discussion on various aspects of the proposed activity, as well as on career-oriented aspects of the presenter. A knowledgeable jury panel of professors will evaluate the presentations.


The best presentation will be awarded a prize. However, everyone is a winner as all presenters in the session will receive feedback from the jury in a one-to-one private session afterward. Moreover, as a participant in the LS2 Annual Meeting 2021, you will have the opportunity to expand or refresh your network in Switzerland, to interact with scientists in and outside your field. Only applicants having ties to Switzerland will be considered (i.e. Swiss citizenship, Swiss residency, past or on-going affiliation with a Swiss institution of at least two years by the 2021 meeting). Independent position holders are not eligible.


The following documents are required for the application:

  1. Cover letter highlighting your interest and eligibility (max. 1 page)
  2. Research statement including past work and future research plans with their scientific impact and significance (max. 300 words)
  3. CV with a publication list (max. 2 pages)


Selection criteria:

  • Scientific quality of proposed research
  • Novelty and creativity
  • Relevance and impact
  • Research output
  • Collaborations, networks, and outreach
  • Teaching and leadership
  • Mobility

To apply, please follow the guidelines in the application link below, where you will be asked to upload your documents as a single pdf file (max. 5 MB) before November 1st, 2020 (23:59 CET):


Questions about the session should be addressed to

If you are selected, your travel and accommodation fees will be paid by the LS2 organisation.


We are looking forward to your application and hope to welcome you in Geneva!


Yours sincerely,


Dr. Shalu Jhanwar, Dr. Eleonora Porcu, Dr. Mehdi Badaoui and Dr. Myra Chavez-Rosas Chairs of the PIs of Tomorrow session

Dr. Adela Calvente and Dr. Jessica Plucain Scientific Officers and Organizers of the LS2 Annual Meeting 2021 (



Welcome to Daehan !

Dear CIG family,
My name is Daehan Lee, and I am a new postdoc in the Benton lab.
I obtained my Bachelor and PhD from Seoul National University, where I sought the genetic basis and natural variation of Caenorhabditis elegans hitchhiking behavior in Junho Lee’s lab.
Following my PhD, I carried out three years of post-doctoral research with the Erik Andersen group at Northwestern University. There, I investigated the natural genetic variation across wild C. elegans strains and studied how natural selection shapes the genomes and phenotypes of the species.
In the Benton lab, I will dissect the genetic and molecular basis of nervous system evolution in drosophilids through the cross-species quantitative neurogenetics.


Cells.: auth.: W.Wahli


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major health issue worldwide, frequently associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Steatosis is the initial stage of the disease, which is characterized by lipid accumulation in hepatocytes, which can progress to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with inflammation and various levels of fibrosis that further increase the risk of developing cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The pathogenesis of NAFLD is influenced by interactions between genetic and environmental factors and involves several biological processes in multiple organs. No effective therapy is currently available for the treatment of NAFLD. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are nuclear receptors that regulate many functions that are disturbed in NAFLD, including glucose and lipid metabolism, as well as inflammation. Thus, they represent relevant clinical targets for NAFLD. In this review, we describe the determinants and mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of NAFLD, its progression and complications, as well as the current therapeutic strategies that are employed. We also focus on the complementary and distinct roles of PPAR isotypes in many biological processes and on the effects of first-generation PPAR agonists. Finally, we review novel and safe PPAR agonists with improved efficacy and their potential use in the treatment of NAFLD.


F1000Res.: auth.: group Dessimoz

F1000Res. 2019 Oct 29;8:1822.

doi: 10.12688/f1000research.21027.1. eCollection 2019.

A Hands-On Introduction to Querying Evolutionary Relationships Across Multiple Data Sources Using SPARQL


The increasing use of Semantic Web technologies in the life sciences, in particular the use of the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the RDF query language SPARQL, opens the path for novel integrative analyses, combining information from multiple sources. However, analyzing evolutionary data in RDF is not trivial, due to the steep learning curve required to understand both the data models adopted by different RDF data sources, as well as the SPARQL query language. In this article, we provide a hands-on introduction to querying evolutionary data across multiple sources that publish orthology information in RDF, namely: The Orthologous MAtrix (OMA), the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) RDF platform, the Database of Orthologous Groups (OrthoDB) and the Microbial Genome Database (MBGD). We present four protocols in increasing order of complexity. In these protocols, we demonstrate through SPARQL queries how to retrieve pairwise orthologs, homologous groups, and hierarchical orthologous groups. Finally, we show how orthology information in different sources can be compared, through the use of federated SPARQL queries.

Keywords: Comparative Genomics; Orthology; Resource Description Framework (RDF); SPARQL; Sequence Homology.