m
..News Archive
 

2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016

WARNING: VERY LONG PAGE TO SCROLL DOWN!

The Eicosanoid Laboratory was unofficially born in September 2000, after the definitive arrival of Dr. Jesús Balsinde in the Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics (IBGM) of the University of Valladolid. In the ensuing months, no one but Dr. Balsinde was around, so a website at that time seemed of little use. To be bluntly honest, at that time there was not even a physical location for the lab. Well, actually there was a space within four walls, but there was no lab at all. Not all were misfortunes at those preliminary stages however, as a rudimentary office and a fully functional computer (that meaning connected to the world wide web) were available from the very first day. Construction of the lab proper began in July 2001 and was completed at the end of that summer, which is the time we consider to be the official beginning of our laboratory. Oct 1, 2001 is the date we routinely give as the start date of our lab when specifically asked for one. More or less at about the same time is when our group designation was heard for the first time. A descriptive name was requested for some dull paperwork related with the institute, and we came up with "Eicosanoid Laboratory" just in a wink.

The first person to join the lab was Yolanda Sáez, our technician, who stayed initially from June to November 2001. She would re-join in July 2002. Dr. María Balboa joined in November 2001, after obtaining an Assistant Professor-like position from the Spanish National Research Council (Ramón y Cajal Program).

The first version of our website was published on-line in March 2002. A slightly different version of the page, with white background and navy blue lettering would follow a little bit thereafter. At that time the site was located in the web space provided by the IBGM. In May 2002 the site was moved to a private server and got its own domain name. In July 2002, Rebeca Pérez, our first grad student, joined the lab. She was supported by a predoctoral fellowship from the Ministry of Science and Technology, awarded in association with our first competitive, R01-like research grant, not very originally titled "Signaling Mechanisms Regulating Prostaglandin Biosynthesis in Immunoinflammatory Cells." At about the same time, additional funds were also secured from the Regional Government of Castile and Leon and a private foundation, La Marató de TV3, and our first research papers started to come along.

Version 2.0 of this website, featuring a spanking new logo and a lesser amateurish look was inaugurated in Sep 2002. Initially a white background was used, but it would later be changed to light blue in version 2.1. Version 3.0 saw the light in March 2003. Almost everything was changed from the previous version to this one. It would last until June 2003, when the current version (4.0) was published. It goes without saying that version 4.0 again changed practically everything, including the logo. The only thing that remained from the very beginning was the picture showing the structures of arachidonic acid and prostaglandin G2 on the front page. With version 4.0, a News page was created to serve as a sort of blog (web log) for this site. From this point on, the News page reports on all the exciting novelties that this lab and its members get into.

 

2003

June 20, 2003 - On this day in age, the Eicosanoid Laboratory Web Page goes through yet another facelift. Since its inception in March 2002 this is the fourth major change of appearance the site has endured. How long til the next overhaul?

September 10, 2003 - People from our lab attended the 8th International Conference on Eicosanoids held at Chicago, IL, U.S.A. Some pics of the event can be found here.

October 17, 2003 - Find here (now above) a brief account of the history of the Eicosanoid Laboratory, from the humble beginnings to June 20, 2003, when this news section was opened.

November 5, 2003 - Today is a great day for our lab. Dr. María Balboa has been given tenure. She will be now an Associate Professor of the Spanish National Research Council. Congratulations María!

November 8, 2003 - Continuing with the good news, our recent work describing molecular targets for the inhibitor bromoenol lactone during apoptosis has just been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. This paper is a first for so many reasons.

November 14, 2003 - And more good news! Yolanda has had a baby boy, Adrián. Adrián is Eicosanoid Lab Baby #2. Baby #1 was Sofía Balsinde, born on June 4, 2001.

December 1, 2003 - A little bit of extra exposure is always welcome. Our latest paper, a collaboration with our former colleagues at UCSD, has made it into the cover of the Nov 28 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

 

2004

January 13, 2004 - In the June 13 issue of Cell, Lauber et al. published a paper demonstrating that the lysophosphatidylcholine generated on the outer surface of apoptotic cells by calcium-independent phospholipase A2 may act as an eat-me signal for disposal of the apoptotic cell. Of all papers published in our area of research during 2003, this is the paper we judge to be the most influential, and thus designate it as Paper of the Year 2003.

January 14, 2004 - Did you ever wonder how the Eicosanoid Lab looked like? Quench your curiosity by looking at these pics (not of very good quality, pardon us).

February 29, 2004 - By popular demand, a page containing the most relevant articles published prior to the foundation of the Eicosanoid Lab has been created. The page can be accessed from a link on the bottom of the Publications page. (Page removed  on Jan 9, 2009).

March 9, 2004 - An evaluation of the research achievements and general performance of our lab was conducted today in Madrid by people of the Ministry of Science and Technology. This institution provides a significant portion of our research funds.

March 12, 2004 - Yesterday, a terrorist attack on the city of Madrid, hometown of some of us, claimed the lives of two hundred people and injured over a thousand others. In remembrance of the victims of this senseless tragedy, a black ribbon is placed for a week on the front page of the site.

March 16, 2004 - With regard to the Madrid tragedy, we are grateful to those old friends and comrades of our San Diego days —some of whom we had not heard from in years— who have sent us messages of support: Andreu (currently in Barcelona, Spain), Yasu (Kobe, Japan), Ismael (Córdoba, Argentina), Kilian (Copenhagen, Denmark), Tina (still in San Diego), David (Durham, North Carolina), Bernardo (Toronto, Canada), Richard (also in Toronto, Canada).

April 15, 2004 - This is quite interesting. The Spanish National Research Council has recently made public an employment offer that includes the creation of a research position in our institute, in the broad field of Cellular Physiology (Associate Professor rank, tenured) The position is not to be resolved by a local search committee, but rather at a national level, by a committee specifically designated to this effect. Dr. Jesús Balsinde has been selected for this committee as the Institute representative. This assures countless hours of fun for the coming months.

April 27, 2004 - Another good one. By royal decree of April 17, the Ministry of Science and Technology has been suppressed. We now depend on the Ministry of Education and Science. Ain't this a great country or what?

May 25, 2004 - As the old Spanish proverb says, there is not a two without a three. After 'only' seven months, Dr. María Balboa's full appointment to faculty has been made official today.

June 1, 2004 - Today we are happy to welcome Montse Duque as a new member of the Eicosanoid Laboratory. Montse is a Research Technician of the Spanish National Research Council.

July 15, 2004 - An interesting paper, pompously titled "The scientific impact of nations" appeared today in Nature. In the article, the quantity and quality of science in the 31 countries that account for 98% of the world's highly cited papers is measured. Spain ranks 8th in number of papers published during the period 1997-2001, which seems like an excellent position. However, in terms of scientific impact of the research, Spain drops to 12th and, if the results are normalized to take into account the average number of citations per paper, Spain is 17th. Not very good, methinks.

July 16, 2004 - In a letter that arrived today, we were informed that the International Biographical Centre at Cambridge, England, had  nominated us for the 'prestigious' International Health Professional of the Year 2004 Award. Not clear how serious this is, but it looked like fun to mention it here. Besides, they themselves style the award as "an impressive accolade" and "a justifiably deserved honour"...

August 13, 2004 - The country is in the midst of its traditional August shutdown, when practically nothing gets done and nobody moves an unnecessary muscle. In spite of this, the Ministry of Education and Science has just announced the research projects to be funded for the period 2005-2007. Our lab has been treated nicely and most of what was applied for has been granted. Unfortunately however, funds for personnel have not been increased. This may hurt our chances of hiring new people anytime soon, which could be a pity.

September 30, 2004 - Changes of personnel in the Eicosanoid Lab. On Sep 1, Mercedes Alonso, a Research Technician of the Spanish National Research Council, temporarily joined the ranks. On an opposite note, Roberto Melero left the building. We wish him well in his future endeavors.

October 9, 2004 - The 2nd International Conference on Phospholipase A2 was held in Berlin, Germany. Our lab could not miss such an event. Only one pic, and not particularly good, sorry.

October 23, 2004 - The people of the International Bibliographical Centre are, no doubt, persistent. After distinguishing us with the "International Health Professional of the Year 2004" award (see July 16 entry above), they are naming us "Leading Health Professional of the World 2005". Thank you very much, but we are not buying any commemorative item this time either.       

November 15, 2004 - Today is St. Albert the Great's day, patron saint of chemists all over the world (or at least the Catholic world). Great day today to learn that our favorite toy is on its way home. More on this later.

December 2, 2004 - This was a long time coming. We open today a new section, called Schemes. As the name implies, this section houses miscellaneous material related with eicosanoid research. (With regret, this section was removed on Jan 9, 2009).

December 14, 2004 - Another new member for the Eicosanoid Lab, Alberto Sánchez Guijo. He is a Research Technician of the Spanish National Research Council, and will be working in the confocal microscopy facility.

December 22, 2004 - We celebrated today our traditional Annual Christmas Luncheon. This year, Italian cuisine. Last year it was traditional Castilian, and the previous one, Chinese.

 

2005

January 4, 2005 - Happy New Year, folks. Last April, Jon Arm and co-workers published a paper in JBC describing the group V phospholipase A2 null mice (Satake et al., JBC 279: 16488-16499, 2004). These animals exhibit decreased eicosanoid production in response to stimuli of the innate immune response, thus providing genetic proof to the work that we and others were conducting during the 90's in in vitro systems. This is the article we distinguish as the most influential in our area of research for the last twelve months and, therefore, select as Paper of the Year 2004.

January 10, 2005 - More people for the the Eicosanoid Lab: Olimpio Montero, a Project Scientist of the Spanish National Research Council, and José Pindado and Violeta Ruipérez, graduate students. Olimpio will be in charge of our spanking new mass spectrometry facility. By the way, our current designation as 'Eicosanoid Laboratory' is about to be changed soon.

January 18, 2005 - The Contact page has been refurbished with pics of some singular buildings of Valladolid (churches, of course, we are in Castile). Our old friend Pablo de Valladolid, who was with us from the beginning, had to go. Gotta think where to place him now.

January 21, 2005 - Javier Casas, a graduate student, officially joins the Eicosanoid Laboratory today. He comes from another lab in the institute, as his previous supervisor moved away.

February 1, 2005 - Effective today, the Eicosanoid Laboratory is no more. It has been split into two, one headed by Dr. Jesús Balsinde, and the other by Dr. María Balboa. These two research labs constitute the new Eicosanoid Research Division. In accordance with this exciting news, a nice new banner was created, and some minor adjustments to the look of the site have been introduced, i.e. slight variations in the scheme of colors, and setting Arial as the default font. This is site version 4.1.

February 2, 2005 - An inconsequential addition to yesterday's entry. This is for the nostalgic. The old banner and front page layout can be found here.

February 3, 2005 - “iPLA2, more than simply a terminator”. This is the apt title for a commentary on our latest JBC paper that appears in the Dec 2004 issue of the Spanish Biochemical Society Bulletin. Something in our work must have caught the editor's attention, since we did not submit any information or were asked about this. We thank the Society for the free exposure.

February 4, 2005 - Sometimes it looks as though news pile up one on top of another, as this is the fourth entry in four straight days. Our long awaited toy (see Nov 15 entry) is finally a reality: a Bruker esquire6000 ion-trap mass spectrometer equipped with electrospray and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization sources, and interfaced with a Merck LaChrom Elite high-performance liquid chromatograph. We are going to have much fun with this instrument.

February 11, 2005 - In the coming months the Institute is set to move to its own building, situated close to our present location in the Health Sciences Building, and also to the University Hospital. The building is still under construction. This picture was taken last week by our grad student Javi Casas. The laboratories of the Eicosanoid Research Division will be located in the upper floor along the building's longer side that is shown in the picture. The main entrance is in the opposite side.

February 19, 2005 - The 2005 Official Group Picture of the Eicosanoid Research Division is here... incomplete, as not everyone was around at the time of taking the photograph. A complete pic may eventually follow.

March 3, 2005 - Members of our division designed a mini-brochure for the Institute, to be used as our presentation card for some upcoming fair-like event. Not clear how long will the brochure be in use after said event, but that is okay; it was fun.

March 22, 2005 - It now appears that this humble website generates more interest among certain people than we ever expected. This entry is especially dedicated to them. Olimpio Montero and Alberto Sánchez Guijo are not lab technicians. They do not prepare buffer solutions, clean up glassware, or perform any other kind of technician service for us, almighty faculty personnel of the Eicosanoid Research Division. Olimpio and Alberto are in charge of equipment that lends service not to a few chosen ones, but to the whole Institute. However, destiny has it that the pieces of equipment that Olimpio and Alberto operate ultimately depend on the faculty personnel of the Eicosanoid Research Division. It is as simple as that. Everything else is gossip and distortion.

March 25, 2005 - Good Friday, huge thing here in Valladolid. Returning to the place this section should have never abandoned, a.k.a. science, we would like to highlight the recent work by Adam Sapirstein and co-workers demonstrating that cytosolic group IVA phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) regulates cyclooxygenase-2 expression in mouse brain. These studies take advantage of the cPLA2 knock-out mice, and thus provide genetic evidence for the sequential model of regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 induction by cPLA2 products that we proposed a few years ago.

March 28, 2005 - The two research labs of the Eicosanoid Research Division have entered into a strategic alliance with four other groups of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics. This has resulted in the creation of the Innate Immunity & Inflammation Unit (I3U), which will soon incorporate as a research department of the Spanish National Research Council in Valladolid. A website for the I3U is in progress.

April 19, 2005 - Another facelift for the site, version 4.2. The front page has been re-designed in a much less verbose manner. The previous front page has morphed into a new section, Introduction, which can be accessed from the navigation menu on the left. Instead of the classical arachidonate and prostaglandin G2 structures, the front page now features a rotating arachidonate molecule, courtesy of our grad student José Pindado.

April 20, 2005 - Following up on the March 28 entry above, the I3U website is finally on-line. Any similarity of that site with this one may not be purely coincidental. Usual lurkers please note that the I3U site is primarily intended as a CSIC people thing. A link to the I3U website has been placed on the bottom of the Introduction page. (Note added on Jan 9, 2009 – The I3U website was taken offline in Oct 2006 after a website for the IBGM was created).

April 28, 2005 - The bothering issue of dead links in the Publications section has been on-going for several months. This was due to a problem with the server where the files were stored. The files have now been moved to the much more reliable I3U server, which should put a definitive end to this matter.

April 29, 2005 - These two panels are from the superb 'Asterix and the Great Crossing' comic book, and reflect quite well some recent events. But the decurion is right, 'anger is a brief madness'...

May 2, 2005 - The following is an excerpt from the beautiful Pixar short film Boundin', which may or may not have something to do with our institute and its circumstance: "sometimes you're up and sometimes you're down. When you find that you're down, well, just look around, you still got a body, good legs and fine feet, get your head in the right place and, hey, you're complete". We earnestly agree that it's nice to know that there are Jackalopes around.

May 5, 2005 - The newspaper El Mundo made public its annual appraisal of the best Universities in Spain. Universities from Madrid and Barcelona dominate the ranking, with the Autonomous University of Madrid taking the hot spot. No surprise there. What may result a bit surprising for some is that, for all its past glory, the University of Valladolid did not make it to the list. Food for thought.

May 6, 2005 - Coda to yesterday's entry: despair not, ye olde folks, for our Division counts with the talents of two people, María Balboa and Violeta Ruipérez, who received their degrees from Spain's #1 University!

May 24, 2005 - Just another facelift to the site, version 4.3. The front page has been re-designed again, and different sets of images have been added to every section. Following up on the Jan 18 entry, one could well say that a bright spot was finally found for Pablo de Valladolid the most astonishing piece of painting ever done, according to Edouard Manet, in the Introduction page.

May 27, 2005 - It took time, but we all finally got together for the complete 2005 Eicosanoid Research Division Group Picture. Take a look at it here.

June 22, 2005 - The new IBGM building was inaugurated yesterday by the Minister of Education and Science. Many big fishes of the scientific and local scene, including the President of the Spanish National Research Council and the Rector Magnificus of the University of Valladolid, attended the event. Everything was so pretty, but the building is to remain unoccupied for at least one more month. Getting on to the important stuff, food was scarce.

July 15, 2005 - It was twenty years ago today Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play... In our case it was twenty years ago today since graduating from college, and this is something we once drew to raise funds for the magical mystery end-of-college tour.

July 19, 2005 - Move of the Eicosanoid Research Division to the new IBGM building was completed today. People say they love the new facilities.

August 17, 2005 - We just received communication that two private foundations, Fundación Mario Losantos del Campo and Fundación La Caixa, have resolved to fund our lipidomics research for the next three years. As Col. Hannibal Smith so eloquently put it, we love it when a plan comes together.

September 1, 2005 - We welcome David Balgoma, a graduate student, as a new member of the Eicosanoid Research Division.

September 24, 2005 - The 46th ICBL Meeting was held in Corsica, France. Great conference, great venue, and also a great opportunity to meet old friends we had not seen in a long time.

October 3, 2005 - The local newspaper El Día de Valladolid published an interview with Jesús Balsinde about Alzheimer Disease and prostaglandins (in Spanish).

October 4, 2005 - We've got Eicosanoid Baby #3! Yesterday, Yolanda gave birth to a baby boy, her second child. The baby's name will be Héctor.

October 19, 2005 -  A mini-symposium titled "Atherogenesis and Metabolic Disorders. From Genetic Alterations to Pathogenic Mechanisms" was held here in Valladolid, as a part of the XXIV Meeting of the Spanish Society of Clinical Biochemistry and Molecular Pathology. Since there is always a first time, or so they say, we spoke about lipidomics.

November 2, 2005 - Today, Martín Valdearcos joins the Eicosanoid Research Division. Martín is our first non-Castilian grad student, as he hails from Andalusia.

November 10, 2005 - The research support history of our division, past and present, has been added to the site. This info is accessible from a link on the bottom of the Research page. (This pdf document was replaced with a true html page in Dec 2011). 

November 11, 2005 - A new banner presides over the site. This banner, more in the spirit of older ones, uses a sea dawn image for the background (thanx for the pic, Bill). The previous banner featured the Madrid night sky, and can be found here.

November 29, 2005 - The Eicosanoid Research Division website moves today to a new webhost. Our previous host, Retecal, will shortly go out of business. It is fair to acknowledge that Retecal provided an outstanding service for the three and a half years we were with them.

December 23, 2005 - Christmas time is here again, and with it, our famous Annual Christmas Luncheon. This year it was Brazilian food. Tasty.

December 26, 2005 - In the fourth centennial of Don Quixote, we send you Christmas greetings from the foot of the windmills.

 

2006

January 5, 2006 - It was no easy task to decide on which paper to pick as Paper of the Year 2005. In the end, our decision was to select the paper that Takao Shimizu and co-workers published in the July 1 issue of JBC. In this paper, three new murine phospholipase A2 enzymes with homology to group IV members were described. With these, the total number of genes encoding functional phospholipase A2 proteins in mammals reaches the whopping number of 22. One only wonders how many more PLA2s still remain to be discovered.

January 9, 2006 - It is customary in these lands for institutions, businesses, etc. to distribute small wallet calendars at the beginning of each year. Here is ours (Spanish National Research Council in Castile & León) for 2006.

January 17, 2006 - Group meetings resume after Christmas break. Winter 2006 schedule posted here for quick reference.

January 25, 2006 - Some pics of our labs. The pictures were taken shortly after our move to the new building (July 2005), and that is why the benches look so empty. The bosses are here.

February 1, 2006 - In the Jan 2006 issue of ASBMB Today, newsletter of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, there is an article giving some practical advice to people who just begin an independent scientific career in the US. This is very instructive reading. Too bad that the Spanish system works so different.

February 2, 2006 - The official 2006 Group Picture of the Eicosanoid Research Division can be found here. No lab coats this time.

February 16, 2006 - Some more pics of our labs, here and here. As these are very recent pics, the benches look closer to the organized chaos which every good mannered lab should be in.

February 20, 2006 - The good guys at The Free Dictionary utilize the following sentence to exemplify the proper usage of the expression "throw a tantrum": When you are a grown-up, you don't throw a tantrum if something offends you, you discuss it. Some people in the neighborhood could browse the Free Dictionary more often.

February 24, 2006 - Never ever give up! Not entirely clear whether this is referring to the frog or the stork, but what is definitely clear is that when hit comes to raal right mass spectrometrin' in Valladolid, 't ain't no easy thing to do.

March 1, 2006 - Clarification: the sentence in italics in the entry right above this one is evidently adapted from a verse from Paul Laurence Dunbar's When Malindy Sings.

March 15, 2006 - It's always nice to meet old friends you had not seen in years. Yasu Shirai from Kobe, Japan, crossed half the globe to pay us a visit here in Valladolid. Needless to say, it was such a great time.

March 21, 2006 - "Springtime has come, and no one knows how it happened" (Spanish proverb). In Spanish, that rhymes. Spring 2006 group meeting schedule here.

March 28, 2006 - In the March issue of the newsletter of the Spanish Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology there is a comment on our recent paper in Molecular Biology of the Cell. This is the second time that one of our papers deserves the attention of the editors (see Feb 3, 2005 entry). We thank again the Society for the free exposure.

April 4, 2006 - In the latest issue of JBC there is a paper from George Carman's lab identifying the gene encoding a magnesium-dependent phosphatidic acid phosphatase enzyme in S. cerevisiae. Interestingly, this gene turned out to be a homolog of the mammalian gene LPIN1, which encodes lipin, a protein involved in adipogenesis. This paper represents a major breakthrough for the lipid field, since of all enzymes involved in phospholipid biosynthesis in eukaryotic cells, magnesium-dependent phosphatidic acid phosphatase was the only one that remained to be described at a molecular level. As the JBC highlights in an editorial, the lipid synthesis story is now complete.

May 4, 2006 - Days of agitation and excitement for the University of Valladolid, as the run for the Rectorial Chair rages on. Since our employer is the Spanish National Research Council, not the University, this election stuff is a lesser issue for us in particular. Whether the same can be said for the Institute as a whole remains to be seen.

May 30, 2006 - Now that the election for rector of the University of Valladolid is finally over, we will just add that somehow, confusing times lie ahead.

June 16, 2006 - A one-day lipid workshop, gathering together scientists from Spain, France, and Italy was held in Barcelona. A nice initiative that deserves continuity.

June 20, 2006 - "Time is an awkward inconvenience between soccer matches" (Albert Camus, French writer). We agree. Summer 2006 group meeting schedule here.

July 7, 2006 - Albert Camus also said that all that he knew most surely about morality and obligations, he owed to soccer. It could be that soccer is not of much interest to some in the neighborhood.

July 14, 2006 - Yesterday, Rebeca Pérez successfully defended her thesis dissertation as a final fulfillment of the academic requirements for a Ph.D. degree from the University of Valladolid. Rebeca has been our first graduate student here in Valladolid, and we wish her well in her future endeavors.

August 1, 2006 - Some chaps are still bold enough to embark themselves (and their families) in a quest for new frontiers of knowledge a.k.a. sabbatical year. Our esteemed colleague Quique, former companion of so many beers since the golden San Diego days, is one of them. He and his family are currently in the "almost" step of their journey: almost bought a car, almost rented an apartment, almost found a school for the kids... However, all of these adventures take place in San Francisco, and that definitely pays for everything, whether or not you wear some flowers in your hair.

September 5, 2006 - As the old proverb says, "Men are masters of their silence but slaves of their words". Mary Ann Hogson-Curley and us thinking about it.

September 9, 2006 - Palm trees galore in Elche, Eastern Spain. Time for some cell signaling stuff under the auspices of the Spanish Biochemical Society.

September 18, 2006 - We welcome Alma Astudillo, a graduate student, as a new member of the Eicosanoid Research Division.

October 2, 2006 - The Fundación La Caixa Biomedical Forum Meeting was held today in Barcelona. Violeta Ruipérez presented our latest results on cyclooxygenase-2 regulation.

October 5, 2006 - "You do not know how the monkey sweats" (Ancient African proverb). Fall 2006 group meeting schedule here.

October 6, 2006 - After the "International Professional of the Year 2004" (July 16, 2004) and the "Leading Health Professional of the World 2005" (October 23, 2004) award nominations, today it was the turn of the "Man of the Year 2006" award. This one is from the American Biographical Institute and, according to them, reserved only for men who have significantly enhanced world communities and professions...

November 29, 2006 - After swift negotiations, the Eicosanoid Research Division has signed an agreement with the pharmaceutical company PharmaMar to study various aspects of lipid metabolism in cells treated with anticancer drugs. This is exciting news, and a big step in the right direction for us.

December 4, 2006 - More good news. We have been admitted into something called Thematic Networks for Cooperative Investigation, an initiative launched by the Spanish Ministry of Health to foster cooperation between groups working on similar areas of biomedical interest. What this means in layman terms is that extra money to hire personnel will be made available to us. We are included in the network "Diabetes and Related Metabolic Disorders".

December 20, 2006 - We celebrated today our highly-praised Annual Christmas Luncheon. Argentinian food (which is to say meat) was our pick this year. Pic of the event here.

 

2007

January 8, 2007 - Our Paper of the Year 2006 is a very recent one. It was published in the December issue of BBA Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids by Jon Arm and colleagues. In this paper, genetic evidence is provided for the existence of two mice phenotypes regarding the involvement of secreted group V phospholipase A2 in the production of cyclooxygenase-2-derived mediators. This somewhat unexpected finding may help clarify some poorly described aspects in this rapidly-moving field.

January 9, 2007 - "Wisdom pursues me, but I am faster" (Spanish proverb). Winter 2007 group meeting schedule here.

January 10, 2007 - No corporative pocket calendar this year. Instead, this one, so as to increase the cheesiness quotient of these pages.

January 12, 2007 - Eicosanoid Baby #4 arrived last week! On Wed 10, Montse Duque gave birth to a baby girl, her second kid. The baby's name will be Nerea.

January 19, 2007 - The eicosanoid research efforts of María Balboa have been recognized by the Diursa Prize and the Royal Academy of Medicine. Cool.

February 1, 2007 - A long time coming, we welcome María Alonso as a new member of the Eicosanoid Research Division. María is our first postdoc here in Valladolid.

February 16, 2007 - Today, an old friend of our latter San Diego days, Isabel Varela-Nieto, came to visit us and our institute.  As Mellencamp would put it, life goes on long after the thrill of livin' is gone, oh yeah.

February 19, 2007 - Heavy site maintenance over the past few days. Our URL is no longer a forwarding one. Among other things, this allows for a favicon to show in all and every page of the site. Most other things that have changed, generally more important than the favicon, run in the background.

March 2, 2007 - In the March 2 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry there is a paper by the Shimizu lab reporting, at long last, the cloning of lysoplatelet-activating factor:acetyl-CoA acetyl transferase, the ultimate enzyme in the pathway for platelet-activating factor biosynthesis (Shindou et al., JBC 282: 6532–6539, 2007). Interestingly, the enzyme possesses as well a very significant lysophospholipid:arachidonyl-CoA acyl transferase activity, suggesting that it may also play a role in phospholipid reacylation reactions. Who could have anticipated that?

March 13, 2007 - "It takes the same effort to work on an important problem as on a pedestrian or trivial one" (Julius Axelrod, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 1970). Spring 2007 group meeting schedule here.

March 14, 2007 - As a part of his touring of Castile & León, Juanma Zapata, another old San Diego friend, came over to our institute for a one-day visit. So many good memories, so little time.

April 13, 2007 - Cycloxygenase-2 expression regulated by products of group V secreted phospholipase A2 hydrolysis of phospholipids, coming soon to your local library! (The answer to a riddle that kept us busy for quite some time).

May 21, 2007 - More for the sake of fun than for anything else, we have placed a city tracker on the bottom of the front page. Yes, we too succumbed to the fashion... Let's see now who's watching us out there.

May 25, 2007 - The city tracker thing did not work out (city visits were tracked only for the most recent 24 h). Until we find another gimmick that better suits our tastes, a visit counter has been placed instead.

May 28, 2007  -  Another  city  tracker  sits  on  the  front  page.  Not  the  prettiest  thing  in  the  web  world,  but  it  seems  to get the job done.

June 19, 2007 - "Tres conejos en un árbol tocando el tambor, que sí, que no, que sí lo he visto yo" (Sir Paul McCartney remembering his formative years). Summer 2007 group meeting schedule here.

July 5, 2007 - Good winds for the Eicosanoid Research Division. The scores for our grant applications to various agencies are coming, all of them nothing short of excellent. That means we should be getting quite significant funding for the 2008-2010 period.

August 1, 2007 - A cytosolic phospholipase A2 / cyclooxygenase-2 pathway regulating nitric oxide synthase expression in macrophages, coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid site!

September 10, 2007 - We welcome Esperanza Esquinas as a new member of the Eicosanoid Research Division. Esperanza is our second Andalusian graduate student.

September 19, 2007 - "The skin I'm in is alright with me. It's not old, just older" (Jon Bon Jovi, American singer and philosopher). Fall 2007 group meeting schedule here.

October 11, 2007 - This is a pic of our grad student Javi Casas having fun while talking about phospholipases at the Annual Meeting of the Spanish Biochemical Society, recently held in Málaga. That is a great meeting.

November 15, 2007 - St. Albert the Great. A little pastime for a day like today: caption this pic. Of mice and women?

November 23, 2007 - It looks like that our search for a pot of professorial gold finally came to a successful end. Sometimes things got bad but things never got worse. And yes, we guess you know the tune.

December 19, 2007 - Somebody told us once that the building where the flamboyant Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research stands in Madrid could make for a very nice hotel. Who knows, maybe it was not even a joke...

December 26, 2007 - In the latest issue of JCI there is an essay, or a personal perspective, as they call it, on how to appropriately write a scientific manuscript (117: 3599-3602, 2007). Whether instructive reading or not, it is certainly entertaining.

 

2008

January 11, 2008 - "Flower power didn't work, so what? We start again" (John Lennon). Winter 2008 group meeting schedule here.

January 15, 2008 - Tommy Shaw used to sing about people with too much time on their hands. Case in point: the Bio-Rad people singing PCR to find out who the daddy is.

January 16, 2008 - Beginning this year, our division becomes part of something called Biomedical Research Center on Diabetes and Related Metabolic Disorders (CIBERDEM), a virtual network sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Health. This initiative supersedes the Thematic Network we were associated with for the past year.

January 21, 2008 - Pretty amusing that exchange of correspondence between the editors of some highly-reputed journals, and Thomson Scientific representatives (the creators and maintainers of that infamous impact factor thing), about... uh, impact factors (latest installment appearing in J. Exp. Med. 205: 260). Great if something comes out of this.

January 24, 2008 - An interesting commentary on the potential pitfalls of translating mouse studies to humans has been published in the Jan issue of Immunity (vol. 28, pp. 1-4). It is good that someone reminds us from time to time that, regardless of the many genetic similarities between mice and humans, a mouse is a mouse and a human is a human.

February 6, 2008 - We welcome Gema Pérez-Chacón as a new member of the Eicosanoid Research Division.

February 20, 2008 - In the Nov 30 issue of JBC, Olefsky an co-workers published a study demonstrating that free fatty acids can activate inflammatory signaling in macrophages via engagement of TRL2 and TLR4 receptors. This is the article we have distinguished as Paper of the Year 2007.

March 3, 2008 - Clara Meana, a postdoctoral associate, joins today as a new member of the Eicosanoid Research Division.

March 19, 2008 - "Science and religion are sisters: the one seeks knowledge of Creation and the other of the Creator" (attributed to Wernher von Braun, rocket scientist). Spring 2008 group meeting schedule here.

April 8, 2008 - Latrant et scitis estatint praetesquitantes estis. That is Latin, and summarizes quite well some recent happenings.

April 11, 2008 -  Here is the logo of CIBERDEM, the biomedical research network we belong to. Orange color is definitely an optimal choice and font looks somewhat familiar. Two thumbs up to the designer. CIBERDEM website here (in Spanish).

April 16, 2008 - After the last political changes in Spain, we now depend on the newly-created Ministry of Science and Innovation. This is the third change in the denomination of our ministry in five years. 

April 26, 2008 - The Second International Workshop on Lipid Mediators is on its feet, up and running. First announcement here.

May 5, 2008 - Sometimes for no particular reason, you get twice of something you were not expecting to have even once. It should be fun to be around so many distinguished scholars.

May 23, 2008 - So many things to do, so little time... to update this site. A bit more than a month ago, Magdalena Canali, a graduate student from the National University of Córdoba, Argentina, joined us for a short stay. She will remain with us til mid June.

June 4, 2008 - "Fed up of being fed up I got tired of asking the world why, why". That is from a Joan Manuel Serrat song, and reflects quite nicely the way we feel every time we are summoned to those national panels for the evaluation of grants, fellowships, etc., and are confronted with the argument that JBC is a lesser journal just because of its low impact factor. We have decided not to dispute anymore. Instead, we will translate this article into Spanish and distribute it among the unenlightened. Maybe it works, who knows.

June 16, 2008 - The Second International Workshop on Lipid Mediators was held Jun 12 and 13 here in Valladolid. It was much fun indeed. Some pics here.

June 23, 2008 - Today, Javier Casas brilliantly defended his PhD dissertation. Javi is our second student to graduate from the University of Valladolid. He will remain with us until December, when he moves to San Diego to receive postdoctoral training.  In the meantime, there is still much confocal microscopy to do!

July 1, 2008 - "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" (US President Harry S. Truman). Summer 2008 group meeting schedule here.

July 7, 2008 - Our little experiment with city trackers has come to and end after one year (see May 28, 2007 entry). Visitors from all over the globe, with the notable exception of Japan. The cities we received more visits from were, quite expectedly, Madrid, Valladolid and Barcelona, in this order. It was not that expected, however, to receive so many visits from places such as Omaha, Nebraska, Sunnyvale, California, Emeryville, also in California, and various Irish cities. Exotic places we received visits from include Bangkok, Hawaii, the Philippines, and Burkina Faso.

August 2, 2008 - This of applying for a research fellowship is getting more and more confusing... An old but amusing cartoon dealing with fellowships of the rings that we found in the science blog Sonicando.

August 28, 2008 - Also found in Sonicando, another comic strip to remember that the time is approaching for us to get back to doing our usual magic stuff..

September 2, 2008 - Young guns for the Eicosanoid Research Division. Graduate students Lucía Peña y Luis Gil de Gómez join our labs today.

September 21, 2008 - "The ideal of beauty for a he-toad is a she-toad" (Spanish proverb). Fall 2008 group meeting schedule here.

October 13, 2008 - Great lipidomic times for our division. Our first mass spec paper was just accepted for publication and, in addition, we have received confirmation that our application for the acquisition of a triple-quadrupole apparatus has been approved.

October 20, 2008 - The lipidomics field is definitely on the rise worldwide. LIPID MAPS, the American consortium on lipidomics led by Ed Dennis, has been awarded a $38 million renewal grant to continue research for five more years. This is great news for us for so many reasons. SDUT article here.

November 11, 2008 - Cryptic message: to think that you got something to report or not to think that you got something to report...

December 11, 2008 - Yesterday, Violeta Ruipérez defended her PhD dissertation, graduating with honors from the University of Valladolid.

December 17, 2008 - The  Eicosanoid  Research  Division  group  picture  of  the  year  2008  can  be  found here.

December 31, 2008 - Good news to end the year, coming to us in a very peculiar manner. See it here (that one was too brilliant to pass up).

 

2009

January 5, 2009 - "Hey Santa! Pass us that bottle, will ya?" (Ian Anderson, wise Scotsman). Winter 2009 group meeting schedule here.

January 9, 2009 - The article we have designated as Paper of the Year 2008 was published in the Sep 19 issue of Cell. In this paper, Hotamisligil and co-workers  identified palmitoleic acid as an adipose tissue-derived lipid hormone that stimulates muscle insulin action and suppresses hepatosteatosis.

January 15, 2009 - Heavy housekeeping in our site for the past few days. Practically all pages have been modified and/or updated. The front page has been changed to show a nice macrophage cell loaded with lipid droplets. Not without regret, the Schemes and Protocols sections have been eliminated. This is site version 4.4.

January 20, 2009 - Just for the sake of nostalgia, this is how the front page of v.4.3. looked like, with the old and the current banner.

January 22, 2009 - An evaluation of the scientific performance of our Institute and the research groups that are part of it was recently conducted by a panel of foreign experts summoned by the Spanish National Research Council. While the overall evaluation of the Institute was not positive, the Eicosanoid Research Division did receive favorable reviews. The only concern was that the research being conducted is at the risk of leaning too much on the conservative side of things. Interestingly, this is something that we ourselves had already acknowledged in the strategic plan that was submitted for the evaluation.

January 23, 2009 - In the December issue of the bulletin of the Spanish Biochemical Society there is an article by Sonia Armengou (IRB, Barcelona) where advice in the form of "Ten Commandments" is provided to all those women who want to succeed in science (shortened English translation here). While some of the points are obvious, overall this is quite entertaining reading and worth to keep in mind. On a last note, not clear why this decalogue was intended solely for women; it suits men just as well.

January 30, 2009 - On St. Bridget's day of 1593, King Henry IV of France declared that "Paris is well worth a mass". For the moment being, that is pretty much okay for us.

February 2, 2009 - That ingesting food rich in ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is very good for humans no one would dispute. What it is still unclear however, is whether ingesting extra amounts of ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids is harmless, harmful, or helpful. An interesting article on this topic that has spawned an even more interesting correspondence was published last year by Weaver et al. in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (issues of July, October, and November).

February 27, 2009 - It is with great sadness that we have learned of the decease of Mordechai ‘Moti’ Liscovitch from the February issue of ASBMB Today. In the early 90's we were doing things on phospholipase D regulation, and at that time Moti was one of the most imaginative researchers in the field. We met him at scientific meetings over the years. As we moved away from the phospholipase D field contact was lost, but we kept fond memories of that nice Israeli guy.

March 18, 2009 - The Third European Workshop on Lipid Mediators, a most exciting transpyrenaic enterprise, is just walking its first steps. More info coming soon.

March 23, 2009 - "One swallow a spring -or summer- does not make" (Ancient Greek proverb). Spring 2009 group meeting schedule here.

March 24, 2009 - We read in the March issue of the the Spanish Biochemical Society bulletin that "for some [Spanish scientists], research excellence means just their own research and that from their buddies" (p. 28). Some? Quite an understatement, indeed.

March 25, 2009 - "Toll signaling: next stop, arachidonic acid". Our latest paper in the Journal of Immunology was selected for inclusion in the journal's ImmunoCast of March 15. As indicated in the journal website, a small number of papers regarded by reviewers and editors as the top 10% in their field are highlighted in the ImmunoCast section. Sounds good (no pun intended).

April 3, 2009 - "Prossss-taglandins, the ei-co-sa-noids creating pain are the ones to blame - when you get inflamed and ouch! - they hurt inside your brain". So commences the Prostaglandin song, lyrics by Kevin Ahern to the tune of Oklahoma. More of Kevin Ahern's wildly popular metabolic melodies here.

April 30, 2009 - In the April issue of ASBMB Today there is a delightful letter to the editor talking about lipidomic initiatives in a rather unorthodox manner...

May 18, 2009 - More on journal impact factors. Some excellent points are made in a recent article in PNAS (106: 6883-6884, 2009). This is another of those pieces that would have to be translated into Spanish and distributed among the chaps that populate grant evaluation panels and promotion committees in this country.

May 26, 2009 - Update on former grad students. Javier Casas joined the Scripps Research Institute and Violeta Ruipérez will soon join Cambridge University. Nice.

May 29, 2009 - Here is the official website for the Third European Workshop on Lipid Mediators. So far, things are progressing well, and this promises to be quite an exciting meeting.

June 12, 2009 - "Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it" (Albert Einstein). Summer 2009 group meeting schedule here.

June 25, 2009 - Great news to end the academic year. Our application for the acquisition of a Q-TOF mass spectrometer has been resolved favorably. Our new toy will nicely complement the ion-trap machine  currently in service and the soon-to-come triple-quadrupole and GC/MS instruments. Now we can finally say that the ERD's Lipidomics Platform is a reality.

July 27, 2009 - Our lipidomics platform will not become a facility of the Institute we work in. Present conditions are not the appropriate. As for us, nothing changes.

August 11, 2009 - The idea that magnesium-dependent phosphatidate phosphohydrolase 1 (a.k.a. lipin-1) possesses signaling functions is gaining ground in the field. An interesting review article has just been published on the topic.

September 1, 2009 - Our latest paper in the Journal of Immunology was featured on MDLinx.com, a site which in the words of its editorial team is "the world's most up to date index of articles that matter in the daily lives of physicians and other healthcare professionals". A little free exposure is always welcome.

September 29, 2009 - Pic of Clara Meana talking about macrophages and phospholipases in Oviedo during the annual meeting of the Spanish Biochemical Society. Time for fun and old memories.

October 2, 2009 - "When your work is an extension of who you really are deep down inside, it is no longer a job or a career. It is a calling" (Tweeted by Lance Armstrong, 7-time Tour de France winner). Fall 2009 group meeting schedule here.

October 22, 2009 - Yesterday José Pindado became our fourth student to earn a doctoral degree from the University of Valladolid (... for life can be wonderful!).

October 25, 2009 - A piece of musical advice from the ERD staff to a few of those who lurk around here from time to time: Metallica's Nothing Else Matters. Interesting lyrics, particularly those of the refrain.

October 30, 2009 - Back from the Annual CIBERDEM meeting, held in Arnes, Tarragona. Friendly people, nice place, excellent premises, and superb organization. What else could we ask for? 2008 Annual Report (our part) here.

November 13, 2009 - A very instructive review on the advantages –and shortcomings– of the lipidomics approach has recently been published in Nature Chemical Biology. Highly recommended reading (unsure, however, that the number of arachidonate-containing glycerophospholipids in macrophages exceeds 100!).

November 28, 2009 - Not succumbing to the temptations of joint ventures used to be difficult in the past. Not anymore. Roger Glover, bassist and songwriter extraordinaire, had it written some time ago: going nowhere sitting in a dream...

December 10, 2009 - We were asked to contribute a review article to Inmunología, the official journal of the Spanish Society of Immunology. It is unlikely that this article will find an audience because Inmunología is not indexed by PubMed, but it was a nice lookback exercise anyway.

December 22, 2009 - There is no bad fifth (or so they say). Just one week ago, David Balgoma successfully defended his PhD dissertation, and the committee unanimously awarded him distinction. David will remain a member of the ERD for quite some time yet.

December 23, 2009 - Gema Pérez-Chacón just finished her tenure at the ERD.  While we are sad to see Gema go, we thank her for the hard and dedicated work, and wish the best for the future.

 

2010

January 8, 2010 - "After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same" (Paul Simon, American songwriter). Winter 2010 group meeting schedule here.

January 13, 2010 - The local newspaper El Norte de Castilla informed its readers a couple of days ago that, according to some sources, the University of Valladolid currently ranks 1,332 out of 2,000 centers in scientific productivity in Spain. Although none of our business, if true, this news is disturbing.

January 14, 2010 - The article that we have distinguished as Paper of the Year 2009 was published in the Feb 17 issue of PNAS. In this article, Ejsing et al. reported the use of a shotgun lipidomics approach to study the lipidome of the yeast S. cerevisiae. They identified and quantified 250 unique molecular species, belonging to 21 different lipid classes under various growth conditions. This is quite an achievement, not only from a technical perspective, but also from a cell regulation context. As pointed out in a commentary that accompanied the paper (PNAS 106: 2089-2090), genes and transcripts do not always predict the precise levels of active proteins/enzymes, and knowledge of the actual lipid metabolite levels is more predictive of metabolic implications.

February 20, 2010 - A necessary warning to bold navigators. It was not us who sank the idea of a dedicated lipidomics facility for the IBGM. Those who really know us, please do not be misled by the usual mermaid chants.

March 9, 2010 - We recently learned of the existence of something called CAMAG TLC-MS Interface. Nowadays the sciences advance at barbaric rates (that's a Spanish joke).

March 25, 2010 - "Wretched Castile, yesterday the dominating one, wrapped in her rags scorns all that she does not know" (Antonio Machado, Spanish poet). Spring 2010 group meeting schedule here.

March 27, 2010 - It is half-amusing half-flattering to receive proposals from time to time to insert commercial ads in our website. For obvious reasons we do not sell advertising space (and, for the same obvious reasons, our site's URL does not end in dot-com – the latter not that obvious for some).

April 30, 2010 - Our student David Balgoma has just left the building for the whiter pastures (...) of Stockholm, the Karolinska Institute, to pursue postdoctoral training in lipidomics. We wish him luck and success.

May 3, 2010 - "A weak institute in terms of quality and scientific output"; "a coherent and integrated research program does not exist"... Nice comments directly taken from the Spanish National Research Council's Action Plan for 2010-1013, Biology & Biomedicine Section, page 13, last paragraph. Nothing to worry about though, no one is going to do anything.

May 18, 2010 - Unrelated to science, we have just learned that Ronnie James Dio passed away on May 16. Only a few months ago we had been so amused at discovering a Dio poster in the lab of a very recent former president of the Spanish National Research Council. Following Dio's advice, we will not talk to strangers who are there to do us harm.

May 21, 2010 - We welcome graduate student Carlos Guijas as a new member of the Eicosanoid Research Division.

June 7, 2010 - The Third European Workshop on Lipid Mediators was a resounding success, with over 200 attendees, nice atmosphere, outstanding venue and excellent scientific content.

June 9, 2010 - Olimpio Montero, colleague, friend, and mass spec companion, has left the IBGM  and hence, the Eicosanoid Research Division. Better times await him in his new destination. He will be missed.

June 15, 2010 - "He who is born a square cannot die a circle" (Gennaro Gattuso, Italian fantasista). Summer 2010 group meeting schedule here.

June 21, 2010 - We welcome Julio Rubio as a new member of the Eicosanoid Research Division. Julio is a CIBERDEM postdoctoral fellow.

July 12, 2010 - Somebody once said that the important things in life are very few (entire quote to appear here shortly). Science may or may not be one of them, but certainly, winning the World Cup tops the list. Despite what others may say, this is cooler than publishing in any of the glamour journals, we tell ya.

July 26, 2010 - Everybody knows what genomics or proteomics is but, frustrating as it may be, not everybody knows what lipidomics is or, better, what lipidomics is good for. Hence review articles like this one by Shevchenko and Simons are always welcome, if only for the very high audience they target.

August 11, 2010 - The evaluation of CIBERDEM by external reviewers has concluded  and our group received accolades such as "very competitive, established expertise and excellent track record", "very good productivity in numbers and quality", or "topic of research timely and highly interesting". We dedicate this entry to the usual lurkers with all our affection. By the way, here is the CIBERDEM 2009 Annual Report (our part).

August 13, 2010 - Some good pieces of advice on how to prepare an oral presentation, liberally taken from the net. Perhaps some of our students, past and present, may find interesting to follow point #5 more often.

September 13, 2010 - The ICBL meeting always represents a great opportunity to meet colleagues and friends not seen in a long time. Also a great opportunity to enjoy Bilbao and the warmth of its inhabitants.

September 18, 2010 - Sun, horses, flamenco dancers... and lipids featuring prominently in the Spanish Biochemical Society Meeting recently held in beautiful Córdoba.

September 24, 2010 - "Never overdramatize things, as everything can be fixed; keep a certain detachment from everything, as the important things in life are very few" (Giulio Andreotti, Italian politician). Fall 2010 group meeting schedule here.

October 13, 2010 - Every once in a while, our beloved institute suffers from shattering identity crises in the form of elections for director. This time it should be fun to watch the bulls from the fence.

October 15, 2010 - We welcome Gema Lordén, graduate student, as a new member of the Eicosanoid Research Division.

October 30, 2010 - Back from the Annual CIBERDEM Meeting. This time it was held in Prullans, in the Catalan Pyrenees. Such a nice and friendly meeting. Now the fun starts at home.

November 18, 2010 - An introductory symposium for the expertomega3 platform was held yesterday in Madrid. From the data presented it looks like a good idea to increase our daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

December 20, 2010 - Nice little Christmas card to celebrate the season. The caption says "Enjoy Christmas with your family". Last Oct 28, the unthinkable and/or unexpected, depending on viewpoint, did happen. So yes, let's celebrate the season with our family.

December 23, 2010 - Another high profile lipidomics review was recently published, this one in the Dec 10 issue of Cell. Also, in the Leading Edge section of the the same issue there is a short report, titled "Lipids Out Loud", highlighting some recent key advances in lipid signaling.

 

2011

January 7, 2011 - "Beati Hispani quibus vivere bibere est" (Fortunate Spaniards, for  whom to live is to drink) (attributed to Julius Caesar, Roman emperor). Winter 2011 group meeting schedule here.

January 12, 2011 - The article we have selected as Paper of the Year 2010 was published in the Dec. 17 issue of J. Biol. Chem. by Dennis and associates. In this work the lipidomic response of the murine macrophage RAW cell line to LPS was described in terms of dynamic changes of lipid molecular species and concomitant transcriptomic measurements. This study is the first to provide a systems-level view of connections between lipid signaling and biochemical pathways that contribute to innate immune responses.

February 9, 2011 - We just learned that a heart attack took the life of an old friend from times past, J.G.M. Today, the quotation that opens the Introduction section of this website makes more sense than ever.

February 24, 2011 -  They came to burn our cabin once again. They forgot their matches were wet. How sad.

March 2, 2011 - Since yesterday, this site can also be accessed from the address http://www.mbalboa.es (also without the w's). No doubt this was a necessary move.

March 7, 2011 - Suzanne Pfeffer, ASBMB President, writes in her monthly column on ASBMB Today, Jan issue: "elite journals tend to seek out trendy science. That's okay; trendy science sells magazines, but a lot of excellence can be found elsewhere". Not  that obvious for many committees out there.

March 11, 2011 - Continuing on the same subject as the preceding entry, we find it quite disturbing that so many people fail to see a difference between "high impact journal" and "high impact factor journal".

March 16, 2011 - In remembrance of the Institute Board Meetings, we hereby introduce the Directorial Quotes. This is an affectionate attempt to summarize, using the words of others, some recent activities and/or overall feelings of our institute. Needless to say, this is intended for fun, nothing else. Directorial Quote #1: "With great power comes great responsibility" (Peter Parker, American photographer and wall crawler). Directorial Quote #2: "You can not rule me, you only want to hang around cos I am the one you love to hate" (Rob Halford, British metal god).

March 30, 2011 - "Envy is a declaration of inferiority" (Napoleon Bonaparte, French emperor). Spring 2011 group meeting schedule here.

April 15, 2011 - Today, Martín Valdearcos brilliantly defended his doctoral dissertation, and was awarded maximum honors. Martín will remain with us for some time yet, until he moves to the US for postdoctoral training.

April 18, 2011 - The E4 section of the Eicosanoid Research Division being on their own, with no direction home, like a rolling stone.

May 13, 2011 - Time for joy and celebration as our spanking new logo premieres today on the front page. Scents of Champions League.

May 17, 2011 - Our latest lipidomic paper was published in Endocrinology, and is a collaboration with the group of our CIBERDEM colleague Manuel Vázquez-Carrera, from the University of Barcelona. The article was highlighted in the News and Views section of the journal.

June 7, 2011 - Directorial Quote #3: "I don’t know the key to success, but I know that the key to failure is trying to please everybody" (Bill Cosby, American entertainer).

June 9, 2011 - Continuing with our marketing campaign, we proudly display our logo for everyone to see and admire.

June 15, 2011 - "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought" (Albert Szent-Györgyi, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 1937). Summer 2011 group meeting schedule here.

June 28, 2011 - Impact factor: who are you bullshitting? An interesting essay on the hottest topic of the scientific world that we found surfing on the net.

July 18, 2011 - Remember it well; it was July and it was a summer night... Antonio Agraz, seventy-five years ago on a day like this.

July 19, 2011 - Our chapter in the 2010 CIBERDEM Annual Report, the third one already, can be found here.

July 28, 2011 - Confocal, strong, important, future, complexity, details, sophisticated, social return, signs of quality, difficult times... and so on, equals to science mingling with politics.

July 29, 2011 - Alma Astudillo, defended today her PhD dissertation in a very brilliant manner and received maximum honors. Alma is our seventh student to graduate from the University of Valladolid.

August 18, 2011 - Our latest lipidomic paper was accepted for publication in JBC. For a variety of reasons, some obvious, others not, this is much like a breeze of fresh air in the midst of August doldrums.

September 1, 2011 - Martín Valdearcos has finally moved to the vicinity of Ashbury and Haight to initiate his postdoctoral training in the US. We are sure he's gonna meet some gentle people there and wish him the best (we are counting the days to his first paper in Nature).

September 27, 2011 -  Cell Signaling in Barcelona, Lipidomics in Bilbao and Eicosanoids in Seattle, making for interesting times.

September 29, 2011 - "Only the uninhibited use inhibitors" (anonymous adage). Fall 2011 group meeting schedule here.

October 4, 2012 -  One upon a long ago, the fashion was for certain ones to inaugurate dams; we, more modestly, inaugurate mass spec courses.

October 7, 2011 - Directorial Quote #4: "In a multicolored country a honey bee was born under the sun. She was famous in the place for her joyful nature and kindness" (author unknown).

October 16, 2011 - Many changes to the website. There should be a few more in the near future. This is version 4.5.

October 20, 2011 - Yesterday, after the dust had finally settled, the following thought stuck to our minds for no apparent reason: "What a good vassal if he only had a good lord!” (Poem of Mio Cid, Castilian Middle Ages). Pic here.

October 23, 2011 - The 4th Workshop European Lipid Mediators, again a trans-pyrenaic enterprise, is walking its first steps.

October 25, 2011 - Yesterday we had the pleasure of receiving the visit of Makoto Murakami, old friend, colleague and former competitor. Great science and great time too.

November 5, 2011 - One of our pictures of macrophages full of lipid droplets was chosen as the image for the Diabetes Awareness Campaign of CIBERDEM. Good.

November 17, 2011 - Eugene P. Kennedy, one of the biggest icons of the lipid field, passed away last September at the age of 92. He will be remembered as the discoverer of the de novo biosynthesis pathway of major glycerophospholipids. In a way, Eugene Kennedy was our scientific grandfather, since he mentored our mentor in lipid research. Also, he communicated one our postdoc papers to PNAS.

November 18, 2011 - Juan Pablo Rodríguez, from Corrientes, Argentina, joins today the Eicosanoid Research Division as a postdoctoral research associate.

November 24, 2011 - Another poem of the Spanish Middle Ages to illustrate some recent happenings: "Abenámar, Abenámar, Moor of the Moorish land, on the day you were born there were mighty signs. Calm was the ocean and full was the moon. A Moor who is born under these signs ought never tell a lie..."

December 1, 2011 - Times of crisis are said to be the best to stimulate creativity and inventiveness. Working on a sextuple quadrupole approach to lipidomics.

December 7, 2011 - Directorial Quote #5: "I'm pretty tired... I think I'll go home now" (Forrest, Forrest Gump).

December 17, 2011 - A little nice page listing our grant support history was added today. It will be permanently available from a link on the bottom of the Research page.

 

2012

January 2, 2012 - New year, new government in Spain. And with it, once again, the Spanish National Research Council moves to another ministry. This time it is the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (whatever that means to basic science). While updating letterheads and so on, we wonder what the shortened name of the ministry will be.

January 4, 2012 - "They laugh at me because I’m different; I laugh at them because they’re all the same" (Kurt Cobain, American icon). Winter 2012 group meeting schedule here.

January 11, 2012 - In the September 2011 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, Norris et al. published a comprehensive study of the eicosanoid profile and protein and gene expression of enzymes of eicosanoid metabolism in various types of macrophages responding to bacterial lipopolysaccharide. This work establishes a near-complete view of the differences in various macrophage phenotypes regarding arachidonic acid metabolism, and is the one we have selected as Paper of the Year 2011.

January 12, 2012 - Following up on the previous entry, a Paper of the Year page was added today to the site. The idea is to have together in the same place all the articles that deserved distinction.

January 21, 2012 - The image showing the structures of arachidonic acid and prostaglandin G2 that featured in the Home/Intro pages since the site's inception is now gone. Its place was taken by a 3D representation of our logo. Inspired by the chorus of a song by Madrid's rock and roll legends Topo, we could well say that we live in the era of brand identity (Note added on January 15, 2014 - The 3D logo would last until May 2013, when it was replaced by the IBGM seal. In turn, the seal would be removed altogether in Dec 2103).

February 9, 2012 - Hot off the press: lipin-2 as a novel anti-inflammatory enzyme, coming soon to your local library!

February 22, 2012 - Only two weeks on-line in JBC Papers in Press, and our paper on lipin-2 is garnering more interest than any of our recent publications. The potential pathophysiological implications of lipin-2 seem to be catching the eye of people out there.

February 23, 2012 - Still playing the police and thieves game around here. Hence, no better time than this one to bring back to memory a couple of songs from the Clash (here and here). Lyrically speaking, nothing to do with anything that happened here, but who cares, it's fun and it's good old times. On a more scientific note, the information in the Introduction and Research pages has been (at last) updated. Older version of the Research page here.

March 5, 2012 - The official 2012 Eicosanoid Research Division Group Picture can be found here. As usual, we could not manage to get all the chaps together.

March 8, 2012 - Directorial Quote #6: "Nothing really matters, anyone can see, nothing really matters to me" (Freddie Mercury, British musician).

March 10, 2012 - In an MBoC editorial, David Drubin, Editor-in-Chief, states the following: "Rarely is it possible to predict a manuscript’s future impact (...) Although we do not ask reviewers to predict a manuscript’s impact, MBoC has published its share of citation classics. Anyone surprised by this fact is missing the important point: good science gets noticed wherever it is published". In our humble opinion, "anyone" equals to "most people" in this country.

March 18, 2012 - Ringo Starr uses to sing that drumming is his madness. Contrary to what this photograph might suggest, playing keyboards is not our madness. Full story here.

March 20, 2012 - We are celebrating 10 years of our website being on-line. So many things have happened along the way that it is not easy to highlight only a few of them. Let's just say that a Google search for the terms "eicosanoid" and "research" ranks our website 4th out of about 687,000 results.

March 22 2012 - "Scientific criticism is not personal; everything is on the table" (Eugene Kennedy, American Biochemist). Spring 2012 group meeting schedule here.

April 13, 2012 - Most fatty acids are best known by their trivial names. While some of these names are just that, trivial, others are not so. Hence the usefulness of this little nice table.

April 30, 2012 - Sapienic acid (16:1n-10, cis-6 hexadecenoic acid) is quite an interesting fatty acid. Among hair-bearing animals, sapienic acid is unique to humans (hence its name), and is thought to be unique to sebum, hair and nails, being not found anywhere else in the human body.

May 2, 2012 - SciBX (Science-Business eXchange) is a publication that, in its own words, provides "timely, concise and understandable analyses of the scientific content and commercial potential of the most important translational research papers with the potential to transform human therapeutics and diagnostics". They have just published a note on our recent lipin-2 JBC paper. Free exposure is always welcome.

May 21, 2012 - Quite enlightening review on prostaglandins and inflammation that was published in ATVB just one year ago (that journal usually falls out of our radar). Highlights are the discussion on prostaglandins of the J series and most of the section entitled "Prostaglandins in Translation".  .

June 2, 2012 - Passionate plea liberally inspired by Mark 10:14 and Matthew 19:14: "Let the next generation of youngsters come to science, and do not hinder them, for the future belongs to such as these."

June 7, 2012 - Talkin' lipidomics in Tarragona, very close to the Mediterranean shore, a stunning amphiteater, and a pretty flag.

June 9, 2012 - A (necessarily) cryptic message, borrowed from John Waite of Bad English and Babys fame, to Mary Ann Hogson-Curley: "Sometimes I wonder if I'd ever make it through. Through this world without having you, I just wouldn't have a clue..."

June 21, 2012 - Directorial Quote #7: "I am firmly convinced that Spain is the strongest country of the world. Century after century trying to destroy herself and still no success" (Otto von Bismarck, German statesman).

July 6, 2012 - Esperanza Esquinas successfully defended today her PhD dissertation titled "Localization and Function of Lipin-1 in Macrophages." Congrats to her for an outstanding performance

July 12, 2012 - "Some people believe soccer is a matter of life and death, but I can assure you it is much, much more important than that" (Bill Shankly, he'll never walk alone). Summer 2012 group meeting schedule here.

July 18, 2012 - Amidst all of the somber news about the state of our national economy, in comes the CIBERDEM 2011 Annual Report (our part here).

August 10, 2012 - We welcome Elbio Leiguez, a visiting graduate student from Sao Paulo University, Brazil, who is going to spend the next six months in our lab.

August 23, 2012 - Bengt Samuelsson, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 1982, concludes in a recent article, that his contributions demonstrate “the power of research that is not targeted to a specific disease but rather focuses on understanding the structures and functions of the molecules constituting the human body.” Here in these lands, if what you are doing has no immediate socioeconomic or strategic consequences (whatever that means) for some awe-inspiring Commissioner for Science and Technology, you are toast, dude.

September 7, 2012 - Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Thudichum was a German biochemist who first described, among many other molecules, phosphatidylethanolamine and the sphingolipids. After Thudichum died exactly 111 years ago today, an obituary in the British Medical Journal stated that the relevance of his work did not correspond to the time and money it cost. Another obituary in Nature predicted that Thudichum's research would produce little in the way of practical applications. Although time has completely disproved those statements and Thudichum's contributions have received the acclaim they deserve, it is unfortunate that when it comes to awareness of the importance of basic (lipid) science, we still are not very far from what was thought 111 years ago.

September 9, 2012 - Heat, fried fish, some more tapas, some cell signaling too, meeting old friends... and all this going on in Seville.

September 18, 2012 - Directorial Quote #8: "(In Spain) of every ten heads, nine ram and one thinks" (Antonio Machado, Spanish poet).

September 19, 2012 - "It's nice to be first but it's better to be right" (Anonymous adage). Fall 2012 group meeting schedule here.

September 29, 2012 - Back from Paris, from the 4th European Workshop on Lipid Mediators. Everything went so smooth, and Carlos took the young session award home! Another nice pic here.

October 2, 2012 - Stray picture from the previous post. Rainy day women in Paris, or an evening of rain-soaked memories.

October 11, 2012 - A reminder of our recent visit to Pamplona, here is a couple of pics of David before and after a 2-year visit to the United States. .

October 12, 2012 - Our recent JLR paper about lipid droplets and phospholipase A2 has been selected as one of only 5 research highlights of the November issue. As we always say on these occasions, free exposure is always welcome.

October 29, 2012 - Back from the CIBERDEM meeting in Barcelona with a lot of changes; let's hope they're for good. Lipins got their share of attention this time as well.

November 1, 2012 - Vertigo is a type of dizziness usually caused by an imbalance in the inner ear. Maybe somewhat familiar if you happen to work in the upper floor of a research institute.

November 7, 2012 - Great when things finally come along and the University of Valladolid joins the list of institutions sponsoring our work for the next four years!

November 27, 2012 - Directorial Quote #9: "When men of honor are on the battlefield there is no room for hate or rancor" (Spanish Col. José Ximénez de Sandoval at the funeral for José Martí, May 1895).

November 30, 2012 - Regarding the recent use of the Spanish idiom "capear el temporal" in here, a few words of wisdom from Hughes and Turner: "A world of trouble, betrayal and deceit. Hiding in the shadows, there's terror in the streets. It came without warning, no one heard the call. Ride, ride the storm."

December 3, 2012 - In the December issue of ASBMB Today there is an article about dietary recommendations for ω-6 fatty acids in the U.S. Some experts, notably ones affiliated with the American Heart Association, recommend a relatively high intake of ω-6 fatty acids. On the other side of the fence, a number of illustrious lipid biochemists contend that this a huge mistake. Not difficult to guess which side of the debate we are in.

December 12, 2012 - Glory days well they'll pass you by, glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye... The E4 section of the Eicosanoid Research Division here (sans Carlos, it seems there is no way to get us all in a photo!).

December 14, 2012 - Good news, especially from a political point of view. The top 10 ranking of research institutions in Spain with the highest percentage of publications in the first quartile has been recently made public, and CIBERDEM is included for the first time in 9th place, with a respectable 79.5% of publications. Nice.

 

2013

January 8, 2013 - Simon & Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound", Beatles' "Get Back", Ozzy's "I'm Comin' Home"... and our former student Javier Casas talking about immune synapsis at the IBGM.

January 10, 2013 - "Errare humanum est, sed perseverare diabolicum" (to err is human, but  to persist -in the mistake- is diabolical; Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman philosopher). Winter 2013 group meeting schedule here.

January 11, 2013 - Sooner or later, everything comes in life. So better be patient, for patience always pays off. And patience, everyone knows, is the mother of lipid science.

January 20, 2013 - Our Paper of the Year 2012 was published by Shimizu and co-workers in the Aug 3 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The authors found that palmitoleic acid induces cell proliferation and seems to accumulate in phosphatidylinositol species in response to hormones and growth factors. These studies define new biological roles for a fatty acid that is taking the hot spot in lipid biology as well as novel pathways for lipid mediator production in mammalian cells.

January 26, 2013 - Yesterday, Luis Gil de Gómez brilliantly defended his doctoral dissertation titled "A Lipidomic Study of the Mobilization of Arachidonic Acid Associated to Innate Immune Responses". Luis is our ninth student to earn a doctoral degree from the University of Valladolid, all of them summa cum laude. Nine doctorates in eleven years ain't no bad thing at all.

February 13, 2013 - Sebaleic acid (18:2n-10, 5,8-octadecadienoic acid), a desaturation and two-carbon elongation product of sapienic acid, can be used for the synthesis of oxylipins, some of which may act as leukocyte chemoattractants. Like sapienic acid, sebaleic acid is present in human sebum and skin. For quick reference, here is the latest revision of our very nice fatty acid list.

February 14, 2013 - This is a bit oldie but extremely goldie. Swedish researchers reported some ten months ago that humans developed a unique genetic variant for more efficient production of ω-3 and ω-6 fatty acids. This variant is not found in Neanderthals or in our living primate relatives chimpanzees and gorillas. This genetic adaptation may have likely enabled a unique brain development and better survival in environments with limited food availability.

February 17, 2013 - In the current issue of JBC (Feb 15) there is a Reflection article by H. F. Bunn, where he refers to the lipid biochemistry field as an arcane world. According to Dictionary.com, arcane means "known or understood by few; mysterious, secret, obscure, esoteric." Well, well, well...

February 18, 2013 - Find here the official 2013 Eicosanoid Research Division Group Picture. As usual, not everyone was around at the time of taking the picture.

March 14, 2013 - Directorial Quote #10: "Life's like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get" (Forrest Gump's momma).

March 18, 2013 - Recent reports have suggested that discrete molecular species of phospholipids may act to directly regulate gene expression. A very recent study, coming hot off the press suggests that discrete molecular species of phospholipids may also act to regulate innate immune responses. And you read it here first.

March 27, 2013 - "There... are... four... lights!" (Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, da man). Spring 2013 group meeting schedule here.

April 15, 2013 - From the Lipid Library blog we learn that former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher received training in her youth as a lipid chemist, and even published a paper (as M. H. Roberts) before getting into politics. Since much of what is going on today in world economics we owe to her and her transoceanic friend, some people regret that she did not find saponification reactions interesting enough.

April 25, 2013 - In a Nature editorial titled "Reducing our irreproducibility", we are informed that the journal has come to the conclusion that forcing the authors to cut the methods section of their manuscripts to ludicrously short lengths was such a bad idea. It is noteworthy that the glamour journal par excellence has taken so long to realize that detailed methodological descriptions are key to ensuring not only reproducibility but also credibility.

May 25, 2013 - Back from the 5th Conference on Phospholipase A2, held in New Orleans. Great time to meet old friends, make new ones and enjoy Southern hospitality at its finest.

May 27, 2013 - While in New Orleans, we learned about the Peter's Laws (from Peter Diamandis; not to confound with the Peter Principle). Some of these laws are quite sharp, others seem to be in the list just for the sake of being there. Fun to read anyway.

May 29, 2013 - We were saddened to learn of the untimely death of Quique Pérez Payá, one of our bestest friends in this business of science, back from those golden San Diego days. His enthusiasm, charm and candid ways will always be remembered. We can imagine him riding his motorcycle on a sunny day along the seaside, just listening to any Siniestro Total or Rolling Stones song.

June 7, 2013 - Not as cryptic as it may seem, but higher instances requested that our 2013 ERD Group Picture be changed. Thus we tried again, here. Not everybody was available this time either.

June 10, 2013 - "The line must be drawn here! This far, no farther!" (Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, da man). Summer 2013 group meeting schedule here.

June 13, 2013 - We just got notice that the Lipid Library blog mentions our latest JI paper on diarachidonoyl-glycerophosphoinositol. The Lipid Library is a website owned and managed by the American Oil Chemists' Society, and contains lots of useful information for both the senior and the wannabe lipidologist. Their blog is quite entertaining.

June 18, 2013 - Directorial Quote #11: "There is no road towards peace; peace is the road" (Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi).

June 20, 2013 - The latest paper from the LIPID MAPS consortium has just been published in the Journal of Lipid Research. Careful mass spec determinations under lipopolysaccharide stimulation show, once again, that for studies on arachidonic acid mobilization and metabolism, thioglycollate-elicited macrophages are anything but good.

June 22, 2013 - Having a good time in Bilbao talking about sphingolipids, and remembering the Louis Armstrong song "You say tomato and I say tomato".

June 28, 2013 - Not necessarily unexpected, but still sad to realize that no matter what you do or how hard you try, some people --primarily the young ones-- place in between you and them insurmountable barriers for no apparent reason. The strangest thing of this all is that they actually do not realize how much they are losing with such an attitude.

July 2, 2013 - The following was taken verbatim from a masters degree thesis draft: "the ion trap can be regarded as a genetically-modified quadrupole." Why bother with minor details...

July 10, 2013 - Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say, can't you feel the fears I'm feelin' today? And you tell me over and over and over again, my friend, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

July 12, 2013 - In our humble ignorance we always saw the Faculty of 1000 (F1000) as little more than a popularity contest between authors and those who recommend their papers. The thing is that our latest JI paper on PI(20:4/20:4) has just been selected for inclusion in F1000prime for being "of special significance in its field." Nice.

August 1, 2013 - Silly joke about the future of science in this country: three scientists in a pub. One is from Germany, other from the UK, and the other from Spain. The Spaniard asks the others: "what do you want to drink, sirs?"

August 2, 2013 - According to an information that appeared in the prestigious newspaper El País, our institute has lost 43% of its contracted personnel for the past 18 months, which makes us second in an infamous list of CSIC centers confronted with shrinking human resources. We must add that things are going to get even worse. At the end of this year that figure will have increased significantly.

August 12, 2013 - A few wise words by Bob Dylan that may be somehow related to the Jun 28 entry: "gonna change my way of thinking, make myself a different set of rules; gonna put my good foot forward and stop being influenced by fools."

September 7, 2013 - There is something called the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, which stresses the need to improve the way scientific research is evaluated. It suggests the adoption of a number of practices in research assessment, and reminds us that the scientific content of a paper is what matters, not publication metrics or the name of the journal in which it was published. Will the policy makers of certain evaluation agency of this country take notice of this declaration and act accordingly? For the good of Spanish science we hope they do, the sooner the better.

September 16, 2013 -  "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate" (author unknown). Fall 2013 group meeting schedule here.

September 17, 2013 - Musical background for recent times: "Oh-oh, yes I'm the great pretender, pretending that I'm doing well. My need is such I pretend too much, I'm lonely but no one can tell."

September 20, 2013 - Directorial Quote #12: "The unbelievable about Spain is that, with such an inept political class, the country still exists" (Otto von Bismarck, German statesman).

September 24, 2013 - The scholarship, mother! Finally I have been granted the scholarship! See it my son? Perseverance, faith in oneself and... behold the power of garter belts!

September 28, 2013 - What is it that we do at the IBGM? Bio-chemistry, bio-logy and bio-medicine at your reach. Or so...

October 11, 2013 - An improbable addition to our list of sponsors is the Spanish Association Against Cancer, Valladolid Province. Full story here.

October 28, 2013 - In a similar vein as the previous post, another unexpected but much relieving addition to our sponsors list is the Education Department of the Regional Government of Castile and Leon.

November 11, 2013 - 'Only the uninhibited use inhibitors' is an old adage that we, as biochemists interested in the mechanisms of enzyme inhibition by small molecule compounds, always have on our mind. Our latest paper in JI provides an excellent example of this.

November 13, 2013 - "Last year, researchers at one biotech firm, Amgen, found they could reproduce just six of 53 landmark studies in cancer research. Earlier, a group at Bayer, a drug company, managed to repeat just a quarter of 67 similarly important papers." How science goes wrong, The Economist, October 19th issue.

November 29, 2013 - Nice schemes of fatty acids drawn by our associates that may eventually find their way into a future publication, here and here.

December 1, 2013 - 'Get Closer to Our Scientists' is a scientific divulgation section of the Spanish Biochemical Society website whose title is pretty much self-explanatory. This month, lipids and lipidomics.

December 5, 2013 - In the light of recent studies, it would not be unreasonable to equate the anti-inflammatory effects of ω-3 fatty acids with the ancient Chinese concept of yin and yang - complementary opposites. On one hand, ω-3 inhibition of inflammasome activation could be exploited to find treatments for highly prevalent diseases with a marked inflammatory component such as atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, or arthritis. On the other hand, ω-3 inhibition of inflammasome activation could impair pathogen clearance during acute infections by decreasing host resistance, thus resulting in detrimental health outcomes. Something to (really) think about.

December 11, 2013 - This report describing our research interests and activities from the start of the lab to now is/was intended for publication someplace else. Until that happens, we post it here for the sake of convenience.

December 12, 2013 - Directorial Quote #13: "Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again" (André Gide, Nobel Laureate in Literature 1947)

December 13, 2013 - This letter to Nature by David Colquhoun (of DC's Improbable Science blog) is already ten years old, but its content remains as current today as it ever was. The evil it exposes keeps growing and growing with no signs to stop. We especially love this bit: "any selection or promotion committee that asks you for impact factors is probably a second-rate organization." The accompanying letter by icon lipidologist Robert Michell is pretty enlightening too.

December 20, 2013 - We were surprised but delighted to find the Spanish National Research Council in the 8th place of the Scimago Institution Ranking Global 2013. Ranking is based on scientific output for the period 2007-2011. This pleasant news reminds us again that things go well when properly planned and carried out. Due to the severe funding cuts that our institution has recently undergone, it seems unlikely that this position can be maintained for long. Anyway, this is very good news to end a worrisome year.

 

2014

January 3, 2014 - "There is no better pillow to sleep than a clean conscience" (Aristotle, Greek philosopher). Winter 2014 group meeting schedule here.

January 7, 2014 - In the Oct 15 issue of the Journal of Immunology, Hwang and colleagues described the inhibition of interleukin 1β production by docosahexaenoic acid in human monocytes responding to palmitic acid. The ω-3 fatty acid was found to prevent dimerization of Toll-like receptor 2 with Toll-like receptor 1. This insightful paper is the one we have selected as Paper of the Year 2013.

January 9, 2014 - A little later than usual, here is the CIBERDEM 2012 Annual Report (our part), five years and counting.

January 10, 2014 - Most people, perhaps even all people, would agree that science outreach is important. It helps promoting public awareness and understanding of science, and makes valuable contributions to science education. Especially in times like these, when our beloved institute is depopulating at an alarming rate, we keep doing our bit.

January 17, 2014 - The poster announcing the upcoming ASBMB meeting in San Diego is so beautiful and brings back so many memories that we could not resist the temptation of posting it here.

January 20, 2014 - Cholesterol, cholesterol we need you real bad, without you we wouldn't be a mom or dad... "Lipids Get a Real Bad Rap: It's Just Not Fair", by N. A. Michael Eskin.

January 31, 2014 - The recent proposal of an eicosanoid storm as the unexpected consequence of inflammasome activation in peritoneal macrophages is a very interesting concept. Whether other fatty acids in addition to arachidonic acid participate in this storm remains to be seen.

February 6, 2014 - Searching for metabolic fingerprints that make it possible to detect colorectal cancer in its earliest stages... or something to that effect while in a press conference.

February 8, 2014 - Margaric acid (n-heptadecanoic acid, 17:0) is a saturated fatty acid that occurs in low amounts in the fat and milkfat of ruminants. Individuals who consume dairy products in abundance contain readily measurable amounts of this fatty acid in their blood cells. For quick reference, here is our very nice fatty acid list.

February 13, 2014 - Caring for our image outside this website, we finally found time to update our research summaries at the IBGM website, here (en) and here (es).

February 18, 2014 - The CIBERDEM secretariat moved from Barcelona to Madrid earlier this year. Hence from now on our affiliation in papers should indicate this fact. What this means is: our papers used to come from Valladolid (IBGM) and Barcelona (CIBERDEM); now they must come from Valladolid and Madrid. It is these tiny details that get people so confused at times.

February 19, 2014 - Talking about "Time Management" in an interview requested by the All Results Journals (in Spanish).

February 28, 2014 - There is some confusion as to whether the fatty acid designations n-x and ω-x mean the same thing, so here is our take on the matter. In a strict sense both designations refer to different concepts; however, from a practical point of view the difference is so slim that people generally use both interchangeably. n is a magnitude (number of carbons), ω is not; n-x is a subtraction, ω-x is not. n-x gives us the position of the last double bond counting from the carboxyl group, which is, incidentally, the proper way to count fatty acid carbons. ω-x indicates, counting from the terminal methyl group or omega end, the carbon at which the first double bond occurs. Let's take arachidonic acid (20:4) as an example: it is an n-6 fatty acid because its last double bond is located at C14 (20 minus 6); it is an ω-6 fatty acid because if we look at the molecule from the terminal methyl group, the first unsaturation occurs at the sixth carbon.

March 4, 2014 - "How Academia and Publishing Are Destroying Scientific Innovation: A Conversation with Sydney Brenner", King's Review – Magazine. Long, but worth reading. Especially love this bit: "And everybody works for these journals for nothing. There’s no compensation. There’s nothing. They get everything free. They just have to employ a lot of failed scientists, editors who are just like the people at Homeland Security, little power grabbers in their own sphere."

March 14, 2014 - Nature Medicine publishes an eye-catching paper suggesting that a blood test may predict whether a healthy person will develop symptoms of Alzheimer's disease within two or three years with 90% accuracy. By using mass spec-based lipidomics, the work identifies ten lipid metabolites in plasma that distinguish healthy people from those with signs of cognitive impairment. These are PC(36:6), PC(38:0), PC(38:6), PC(40:1), PC(40:2), PC(40:6), PC(O-40:6), LPC(18:2) and two acyl carnitines (AC3 and AC16:1-OH). Interesting as it may look, the study has been strongly contested here and here (the second link reproduces the first, but adds some nice animations). Statistics say that the findings, as reported, actually indicate that "the probability that you are ill, given that you test positive is a mere 8%. And even for 60-year olds and above, the value is only 32%, so two-thirds of positive tests are still wrong."

March 25, 2014 - "Don’t waste clean thinking on dirty enzymes" (Efraim Racker, Austrian-American biochemist). Spring 2014 group meeting schedule here.

March 26, 2014 - In JBC Papers in Press there is a paper by the Turk group describing the role of group VIA phospholipase A2 (iPLA2β) in the removal of oxidized fatty acyl chains from cardiolipin in insulinoma cells. In the last paragraph of Discussion it is stated that "this proposed role for iPLA2β (...) represents a special case of the originally proposed function of the enzyme in phospholipid remodeling and is consistent with the observations that oxidation of membranes accelerates iPLA2β-catalyzed fatty acid release from them." Coming from St. Louis, these comments constitute an unexpected but pleasant novelty.

March 28, 2014 - Directorial Quotation #14: "Off with the old, on with the new" (English idiom). In a coincidental but unrelated note, elections for Rector of the University of Valladolid will be held shortly. Fun ahead perhaps.

April 6, 2014 - Come to think about it, Sherlock Holmes' father, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was really a smart bloke. Examples: "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth”; "There is nothing as deceptive as an obvious fact”; "The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes”; "I have learned never to ridicule any man's opinion however strange it may seem.”

April 18, 2014 - No evidence that Juvenal Urbino, MD, was ever interested in lipids in particular, but somebody in the lipid world did care about the whereabouts of her wife's unrequited lover. That is why we wanted to write this here on a day like today.

April 30, 2014 - Back from the 3rd Madrid Meeting on Dendritic Cells and Macrophages, a nice initiative that intends to strengthen national research on macrophages and dendritic cells, and to promote collaboration between the various research groups.

May 9, 2014 - Masters lipid biochemistry lessons early in the morning followed by doctorate lipid droplets in the afternoon make for a really foamy day.

May 20, 2014 - Another one million dollar lipidic question: is palmitoleic acid (16:1n-7) pro-inflammatory, anti-inflammatory or neither? There seems to be opinions for all tastes, but results could be highly dependent on the species considered. A recent study has found a positive correlation between circulating palmitoleic acid levels and markers of inflammation in young healthy Canadians.

May 23, 2014 - Long time ago, back in '96 or '97, there was a conversation at a Rubio's Fish Tacos restaurant in sunny La Jolla between a group of lipid scientists, a French guy, an Israeli guy, and a Spanish guy. That day, the Spanish guy confessed to his colleagues that he had the dream of seeing his beloved Real Madrid soccer team being crowned again as Kings of Europe. Although the Spanish guy's table companions dismissed that dream in a rather snobbish manner, truth is that from that day until today Real Madrid have won the Champions League not once but four times, which is more than any other team. The last one a few hours ago.

June 2, 2014 - Tailwinds for the Eicosanoid Research Division again. Good weather returns and a brighter horizon opens for us for the next three years.

June 16, 2014 - "The terrible beauty of Spanish football is that someone, somewhere, hates your guts and will always be delighted to demonstrate this when your team comes to town" (Phil Ball, British sports writer). Group meetings will resume in Fall.

June 21, 2014 - We would never have imagined that chorizo was so popular in Trondheim, Norway. Phospholipase A2 is popular there too.

June 24, 2014 - Directorial Quotation #15: "Years waiting for England to play like Spain. We finally do!" (tweeted by a fan after England's second straight defeat in WC'14).

July 8, 2014 - We read in the newspaper El País that the late Alfredo di Stefano, one of the best footballers to have ever graced a soccer pitch, was quite fond of bawdy rhymes. That is why he used to refer to former footballer and current philosopher Jorge Valdano as Jorge Valdini, just to avoid a rhyme that most Spanish speakers would immediately figure out. Valdano also rhymes with "zimosano", a sui generis translation of zymosan into Spanish that we have recently heard.

July 23, 2014 - Here is our 2013 CIBERDEM Annual Report, the sixth in the series. This time a quite restrained one.

July 24, 2014 - A nice recent piece of ERD memorabilia, with passing resemblance to a somewhat distant past.

July 26, 2014 - We are proud to congratulate Lucía Peña on an excellent and successful defense of her PhD thesis yesterday. Lucía's thesis is titled "Role of Group IVA Phospholipase A2 in Adipocyte Differentiation and High Fat-induced Obesity."

July 28, 2014 - Our dearest superiors wasting their time and, what is worse, ours in... um... yes, self-praising.

August 12, 2014 - An intriguing report that just appeared in JLR Papers in Press suggests that in mast cells, a major pathway for eicosanoid synthesis involves adipose triglyceride lipase. This enzyme acts to mobilize, directly or indirectly, arachidonic acid stored in lipid droplets. This is visibly at odds with current wisdom regarding phagocytic cells, where a major role for triglycerides as precursors of free arachidonic acid has not been found. Clearly, further exploring is warranted.

August 19, 2014 - Thanks to a recent request to review for a BMC journal, we learned about their "re-review opt-out and painless publishing" policy with which we wholeheartedly agree, and wish more journals would adhere to, so as not to be exposed to unnecessary and/or ludicrous reviews anymore.

August 28, 2014 - Hot off the press: lipin-1 linking lipid metabolism to TLR4 activation in macrophages, get it here!

September 16 2014 - "Spain, Spain, Spain, two thousand years of history did not suffice to give you a shape" (Eugenio de Nora, Spanish poet). Group meetings postponed til next year.

September 19, 2014 - Cardiolipin is a peculiar phospholipid that in eukaryotic cells is only present in the inner membrane of mitochondria. It has been hypothesized that exposure of cardiolipin towards the cytosol due to mitochondrial damage constitutes a danger signal that activates the NLRP3 inflammasome. In other words, lipids acting as endogenous pathogen-associated molecular patterns.

September 23, 2014 - Randy Schekman, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 2013, interviewed by people from the University of Valencia. Highlights: "we have a young scholar here at Berkeley who has taken a very strong position against the «glamour journals», and he's never published in them. And nonetheless he's had a very bright and successful career, he's become an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. One doesn't need to play that game in order to publish important work."

October 1, 2014 - Directorial Quotation #16: "No good deed ever goes unpunished" (attributed to many people; also one of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition).

October 6, 2014 - With regard to the importance of statistics in biomedicine, one must always keep in mind the wise words of those who have been wise, e.g. Ernest Rutherford, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1908: "If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.”

October 14, 2014 - Everything and anything you ever wanted to know about phospholipase A2 enzymes and lipid droplets (and probably some more), you can find it here.

October 27, 2014 - Asia on one side lies, Europe on the other, and there in the front... novel lipid mediators of innate immunity arise... in Istanbul, naturally.

October 29, 2014 - This cartoon, which appeared recently in the newspaper El País, sums up very well the current state of the Spanish Research Council in general, and the IBGM in particular (an Ebola virus thanking the Spanish government for the drastic reduction in funds for science).

November 2, 2014 - In the absence of official confirmation, which will occur in a couple of days, it seems likely that our highly regarded directorial quotations will continue gracing this section for the next four years.

November 7, 2014 - Extra Directorial Quotation to commemorate current events: "This is the way I enjoy sports: zero uncertainty" (Abraracourcix, Gaulish chieftain).

November 18, 2014 - Back from the 50th Meeting of the Argentine Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology held in Rosario, Santa Fe province. Friendly country, warm people, and tons of lipids to speak about. Lotsa alfajores for the return too.

December 6, 2014 - Tumultuous recent days. Politics and science definitely do not mix well, and things may get to the worst when there is people around with the intention of messing up with everyone and everything. Luckily we always have Bilbao and the world of lipids to end the week on a high note.

December 12, 2014 - Directorial Quotation #18: "Down in the alley is where I hunt, all is quiet on the eastern front" (Dee Dee Ramone, punk rocker).

December 14, 2014 - How soon this life is past and gone, and death comes softly stealing on; swiftly our pleasures glide away, but, after recalled, they give us pain; how in our opinion, any past looks as if it was much better than the present...  

December 15, 2014 - With the return of Clara and Carlos from their extended stays in New York and Denver respectively, and the impending homecoming of Alma, our division will soon be firing again with all cylinders.  

December 19, 2014 - More good news to end the year: the Education Department of the Regional Government of the Basque Country joins our list of sponsors for the next four years.

 

2015

January 4, 2015 - "Science knows no country because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch that illuminates the world" (Louis Pasteur, French scientist). Winter 2015 group meeting schedule here.

January 15, 2015 - In the Oct 9 issue of Cell, Kahn and co-workers described  a new family of lipids with anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects. These lipids are branched fatty acid esters of various hydroxy fatty acids. This exciting paper is the one we have distinguished as Paper of the Year 2014.

January 19, 2015 - Directorial Quotation #19: "I feel tired... so tired!" (Abraracourcix, Gaulish chieftain and occasional philosopher).

January 27, 2015 - Group V secreted phospholipase A2 required for efficient phagocytosis by interleukin-1-treated human macrophages, coming soon to a library near you.

February 15, 2015 - Back from the 6th International Conference on Phospholipase A2 and Lipid Mediators, held in Tokyo, Japan. In terms of both scientific content and social interaction, one of the best meetings we have ever attended.

February 23, 2015 - Mead acid, 5,8,11-eicosatrienoic acid, is an omega-9 fatty acid that, unlike most other fatty acids, receives its name from the scientist who discovered it, James Mead. The elevated presence of mead acid in the blood is an indication of essential fatty acid deficiency. For quick reference, here is our very nice fatty acid list.

February 27, 2015 - In a few days will be the 104th anniversary of the birth of Jordi Folch Pi, arguably the most prominent Spanish lipid biochemist. Folch developed a procedure for the quantitative extraction of brain lipids using a chloroform-methanol mixture and a phase partition with water which resulted in quantitative extraction of tissue lipids and removal of water-soluble contaminants. This method continues to be considered the classic and most reliable means for quantitatively extracting lipids from tissue samples. The paper describing the procedure, published in JBC in 1957, ranks 9th in the list of most highly cited research papers of all time according to Thomson-Reuters' Web of Science.

March 12, 2015 - The official 2015 Group Picture of the Eicosanoid Research Division can be found here. Surprisingly enough, this year everybody was around at the time of taking the picture. There is always a first time for everything.

March 13, 2015 - Talking about palmitoleic acid, 9-hexadecenoic acid, 16:1(n-7), here in the University. A minor fatty acid in humans, palmitoleic acid is abundant in fish oils such as cod liver oil, where it is frequently accompanied by the 7- and 11-isomers. Owing to its possible anti-inflammatory effect, palmitoleic acid may be a beneficial fatty acid. Virtually nothing is known on the physiological function of the 7- and 11-isomers. A third isomer exists in humans, 6-hexadecenoic acid, 16:1(n-10) or sapienic acid, which is one of the most abundant components in human sebum lipids. Conventional wisdom tells that among hair-bearing animals, sapienic acid is unique to humans (hence its trivial name, deriving from the root sapiens) but we may have some doubts about that.

March 15, 2015 - This article posted to the ASCB blog, titled "The Glaring Paradox of Impact Versus Experience in Biology Journals", points to the obvious. Sadly, it is still a wasted exercise, those who have the power to make the change happen will not even listen.

March 20, 2015 - Our latest collaborative paper with CIBERDEM researchers has just been accepted for publication in JBC. It is work with Angela Valverde's group, from the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid, and shows that oleate and palmitate elicit opposite effects on insulin signaling in hepatocytes by differentially affecting macrophage activation.

April 6, 2015 - Catchy titles for the lipid sessions of the Annual ASBMB Meeting recently held in Boston: "multitalented lipids", "lipids meet chemistry", "lipids caught in action", "lipid magic: how do they do it?", "lipids, in vivo dynamics, protein partners and signaling."

April 7, 2015 - "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" (attributed to Benjamin Franklin, American polymath). Spring 2015 group meeting schedule here.

April 22, 2015 - Directorial Quotation #20: "As for me, I have a cauldron to fill" (Obelix, Gaulish menhir delivery man).

April 24, 2015 - When it comes to hiring new personnel, it is fair to acknowledge that the University of Valladolid is treating us quite nicely in recent times.

April 29, 2015 - Two recent impressive studies by the Tontonoz and Shimizu labs, both published in a journal with a funny name, demonstrate that LPCAT3 is a major controller of arachidonate levels in phospholipid membranes. The two studies also show that LPCAT3 is necessary for neutral lipid secretion and lipoprotein assembly in murine hepatocytes and enterocytes. Although not mentioned in either study, these data fully confirm our previous work suggesting that LPCAT3 regulates the formation of arachidonate-containing phospholipid pools in human monocytes.

May 8, 2015 - Just like there are classical and alternative macrophages, monocytes also appear to show a remarkable plasticity, being implicated not only as proinflammatory but also as reparative cells. There are classical proinflammatory cells circulating in blood and expressing high levels of CCR2 and Ly6C and low levels of CX3CR1, and locally patrolling alternative cells with high levels of CX3CR1 and low or absent CCR2 and Ly6C. As with the macrophages, there is likely a continuum of phenotypes in between these two profiles. It should be interesting to analyze the lipidome of these polarized monocytes.

May 22, 2015 - There blind kings fierce wars maintain for one more palm of land, when here I hold as mine whatever the hood embraces, to which no one imposed laws...

May 26, 2015 - "Lipids will give us answers about diabetes." Bombastic title for an atypical kind of interview, published in the magazine Diabetes FEDE.

May 29, 2015 - We found this bit here, and we liked it very much: "according to the Lindley’s paradox, when a study shows a very small effect, even if statistically significant, the results may actually favour more the null hypothesis (that no effect exists at all), rather than the alternative hypothesis (that some effect exists), especially if the alternative hypothesis anticipates a substantial effect."

June 11, 2015 - CRISPR for dummies: bacteria are far more sophisticated than anyone imagined. Another breakthrough that was simply born from curiosity for basic science.

June 15, 2015 - "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something, but I can't accept not trying" (Michael Jordan, American icon). Summer 2015 group meeting schedule here.

June 19, 2015 - Beautiful account of the discovery of essential fatty acids in the January issue of the Journal of Lipid Research: the living history of lipids.

July 14, 2015 - Mary Ann Hogson-Curley riding again, which is a very appropriate expression given the subject matter that motivated this entry. Not much to worry about, it is always the same old story.

July 17, 2015 - Some people may or may not agree, but for us, learning things about the endocannabinoid system did make for a very fun day.

July 21, 2015 - Directorial Quotation #21: "Football is like chess, but without the dice." (Lukas Podolski, German footballer).

July 31, 2015 - "Impact versus significance in scientific publishing." This time the complaints are coming from the European Journal of Immunology, a reputed and respectable journal which publishes original and significant work... but which would consistently be rejected for perceived lack of popularity by the glamour journals boasting high impact factors. The impact factor for this journal has recently dropped that much that it is now in the Q2 of Immunology. That means... well, we all know what that means, don't we?

August 3, 2015 - Can specialized pro-resolving mediators (i.e. oxidized derivatives of the long chain ω-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic) be detected in human fluids? Definitely one of the million dollar questions of the moment.

August 4, 2015 - The Education Department of the Regional Government of Castile and Leon has recognized us as a Consolidated Research Unit. Whatever this distinction exactly means we do not know, but in principle it would have to be taken into account when allocating resources from various European funds under the next Operational Program running until 2020. Let's wait and see.

August 25, 2015 - For the past two days our website was hacked and converted into a fake PayPal page. Fortunately, the problem was swiftly fixed and now everything works smooth again.

August 26, 2015 - Hitting the bull's eye: "Public Library of Science (PLoS) appears to be just like the proliferating 'not-for-profit' hospitals, motorists’ associations, charities, etc., that serve mainly to provide lucrative employment to innumerable people doing things that don’t particularly need to be done."

September 14, 2015 - Albert Einstein is generally quoted as saying: "Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former." Today we have attended a magistral demonstration of infinite human stupidity by some pretentious big fish from the Faculty of Sciences of this university.

September 18, 2015 - Having gotten over the hump of final oral presentations for BS and MS degrees, it is time for relax and celebration, and also for laughing at these petty things that occurred up along the way.

September 22, 2015 - “Publish quickly with any new inhibitor because its specificity decreases rapidly with time.” (Efraim Racker, Austrian-American biochemist). Fall 2015 group meeting schedule here.

September 24, 2015 - What drives these troubled young men? How do otherwise unremarkable guys fall, slowly but steadily, into self-destructing behavior?

September 26, 2015 - The three great distinctive advantages of Google Scholar over giants Scopus and Web of Science: (i) Google Scholar is free. (ii) Google Scholar is free, (iii) Google Scholar is free. Additional advantages: Google Scholar (i) is updated way more often, (ii) is not biased towards publications in English, and (iii) has a much wider coverage. The latter has also been seen as a weakness, as Google Scholar indexes almost everything that its engines come up with. However, when citation metrics is not an issue, and it is not most of the times, Google Scholar is by far the way to go.

October 1, 2015 - Spanish Biochemical Society's "Get Closer to Our Scientists" part deux here: lipins, lipid metabolism and disease (part one was here).

October 7, 2015 - After learning the value of hard work by working hard, it only takes a little something extra to realize that the only difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary is the extra bit.

October 8, 2015 - Directorial Quotation #22: "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." (Stephen Covey, American businessman).

October 18, 2015 - Twenty-five years ago today, a still naive young graduate student defended his PhD dissertation. Twenty-five years is long enough for many stories to be told and radical changes to recall, and no, we are not talking about changes in physical appearance.

October 21, 2015 - Social Councils as consultative bodies of universities that may or may not make decisions on academic and economic affairs. What are they good for? Time will tell... or not.

October 26, 2015 - Here is our 2014 CIBERDEM Annual Report, the seventh in the series. This year we finally got it right about space constraints.

November 11, 2015 - We learned from the Nov issue of ASBMB Today of the decease of John A. Glomset. An HHMI investigator and NAS member, Glomset is recognized for his discoveries of the enzyme lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT), platelet-derived growth factor, and the covalent modification of proteins by prenylation. Later in his career he became interested on why mammalian cells make so many different phospholipid molecules, varying in headgroups and fatty acyl chains in such a fascinating variety of combinations, and purified and cloned a most intriguing phosphatidic acid-preferring phospholipase A1.

November 12, 2015 - People say that success stems from persistence, effort and, above all, desire to succeed. But when it comes to success, there is always the chance to turn the cards on, because what matters in the end is the value of things, not the things that have pat-on-the-back value. Which leads us to the key question: is success the key to happiness or is it the other way around?

November 23, 2015 - In the same vein as Newton's "standing on the shoulders of giants" or Pasteur's "science as a patrimony of humanity", mathematician Alan Turing contended that "the isolated man does not develop any intellectual power. It is necessary for him to be immersed in an environment of other men, whose techniques he absorbs. He may then make a very few discoveries which are passed on to other men. From this point of view the search for knowledge must be regarded as carried out by the human community as a whole, rather than by individuals.” This said, it is a waste that some human communities have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to make outstanding contributions to scientific progress, but they do not because they are denied the means.

November 26, 2015 - On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, Jürgen Renn, director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science writes in the newspaper El Mundo that Einstein's achievements epitomize the value of basic science as a cultural project to understand the world, not just as knowledge for technological development. Would the science policy makers of this and other countries please listen?

November 27, 2015 - The three golden rules to publish an outstanding paper according to JBC: (i) ask an important question, (ii) work with smart people, and (iii) choose a productive environment.

December 1, 2015 - An old woman and an old man are going to Albacete, and halfway he sticks his hand into the pocket and reaches for a ticket...

December 3, 2015 - Many things in life have their abc's, group IV phospholipase A2 for example. The Spanish National Research Council's ruling guys have decided that our institution also has to have its own a's, and b's, and c's, but the way they wanted to implement the scores is awkward, to say the least. No matter what they say, apples are apples, and oranges are oranges.

December 13, 2015 - Dozens of storks perched on the roofs of the Health Sciences Building of the School of Medicine. The University Hospital is just across the street, so who knows whether the storks are resting up there after delivering the babies.

December 18, 2015 - When you thought you had seen almost everything about bizarre behavior in research, there goes the all-time freakiest show on Earth in the form of doctoral dissertation defense.

December 22, 2015 - The future is decided in the laboratory: four researchers from the IBGM highlight the role of scientific research in social development. Cool, but...

 

2016

January 11, 2016 - "No me moleste mosquito, just let me eat my burrito; no me moleste mosquito, why don't you go home?" (Krieger, Densmore & Manzarek keeping it psychedelic). Winter 2016 group meeting schedule here.

January 13, 2016 - In the May 29 issue of FASEB Journal, Maridonneau-Parini and colleagues reported on the cellular and molecular components of the resolution phase of microbe (zymosan) and non-microbe (thioglycollate) induced inflammation, with emphasis on eicosanoid and docosanoid production. Their results provide elegant demonstration that resolution of inflammation may be shaped in a stimulus-specific manner, and that the tissues surrounding the inflammatory site may also contribute to the process. This is the article we have selected as Paper of the Year 2015.

January 15, 2016 - May you grow up to be a scientist, may you grow up to be a big one. May you always know the bioscience, and see the experiments surrounding you... Senior high school students visiting the IBGM (some help from Bob Dylan in preparing this entry greatly appreciated).

January 25, 2016 - Remembering those ole college days; take advantage of the Wittig reaction to make dirt cheap monounsaturated fatty acids.

February 1, 2016 - Sometime ago the Lipid Library ceased to host a very entertaining and educational lipid blog. No intention of commenting on sensitive matters here, but it looks as though there was some kind of acrimonious split, and the blog is now located at a new website called The LipidWeb. Good to have it back on-line.

February 2, 2016 - After much searching, we finally came out with the trivial name for cis-7-hexadecenoic acid (16:1n-9). Well, not exactly for that one, but for its trans isomer, which is listed as hypogeic acid in the LIPID MAPS database. Thus in complete analogy with vaccenic acid (a trans fatty acid) and its cis isomer, called cis-vaccenic acid, it may seem wise to refer to cis-7-hexadecenoic acid as cis-hypogeic acid from now on. By the way, here is the latest version of our very nice fatty acid list.

February 3, 2016 - Directorial Quotation #23: "Spain is the only country in the world where two times two does not make four." (Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, British soldier).

February 10, 2016 - Extra Directorial Quotation: "In like a lion, out like a lamb" (English proverb, one month earlier yet so fitting for today).

February 12, 2016 - Determination, clear objectives and attention to detail, not numbers, is that which matters for a group of people to make the difference... or not? The 2016 Eicosanoid Research Division Group Picture here.

February 27, 2016 - Impact factor mania, a variation of the economic theory known as the “tragedy of the commons,” in which scientists act rationally in their own self-interests despite the detrimental consequences of their actions on the overall scientific enterprise.

March 2, 2016 - In anticipation of important events that will be upon us shortly, we bring here a sentence that always takes us back to past times with good company. The sentence closes the foreword to vol. 14 of Contemporary Topics in Immunobiology, and is authored by Lewis Thomas, at the time Chancellor of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City: "If you are interested in how cells work qua cells, in how extraordinarily intelligent a single cell can be, and how marvelous, nothing in the world is as engrossing as a leukocyte."

March 10, 2016 - In recent weeks the number of search engines crawling over our site has increased so much that we have started to experience some serious bandwith problems. Until we put into effect a satisfactory solution, the site may have to shut down from time to time.

March 13, 2016 - As our acting Prime Minister would say, we'll explain it and you'll sshee that you undersshtand: "the greatest discoveries in the history of science were not made by scientists trying to solve a problem. What motivated them was sheer curiosity." Daniel Zajfman, president of the Weizmann Institute talking to the Spanish media (use a language translator, the hassle is worthwhile).

March 18, 2016 - Congratulations to Carlos Guijas for an impeccable doctoral dissertation defense, titled "Regulation of Lipid Droplet Formation by Arachidonic Acid in Human Monocytes: Importance of the Fatty Acid 16:1n-9." Well earned. Well done. Well deserved. Well proud.

March 19, 2016 - Despite the red badges, not a workers trade union meeting, just the dissertation committee members for yesterday's defense.

March 28, 2016 - “The ball is an essential part of the game. If you have the ball, the opponent does not have it." (Johan Cruyff, Dutch footballer, second to none). Spring 2016 group meeting schedule here.

March 31, 2016 - A solution was finally found to the bandwith problems that plagued our site lately. Let's see how long it lasts.

April 2, 2016 - What are the best universities in Spain? The newspaper El Mundo publishes a list of Spanish universities ranked according to teaching quality, research excellence, and innovation and technological development. The University of Valladolid ties with 8 others for the 38th place out of 61 universities listed.

April 8, 2016 - Homeostasis is, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a relatively stable state of equilibrium or a tendency toward such a state between the different but interdependent elements or groups of elements of an organism, population, or group. Fits with arachidonic acid and its unstimulated circumstance.

April 13, 2016 - The newspaper El País publishes an article of opinion authored by our old friend and colleague Ismael Mingarro, titled "The end of the middle class, also in science" (original article in Spanish, use the translator). Resorting to the commonplace, it can be said louder but not clearer.

April 15, 2016 - You've got to explore all possibilities and opportunities that come your way. You know, there in the very place where you are least expecting it, jumps the hare, and you take home the gold medal. When that happens, seize the day and don't worry if the gold medal is actually gold plated. The first is always the first.

April 18, 2016 - Extra virgin olive oil is the unrefined oil derived from the first pressing of the olives and has the most exquisite flavor. Here is our own analysis of a sample of extra virgin olive oil, Picual cultivar. We may have done this just for fun... or maybe not.

April 25, 2016 - Charles Gerhardt, Felix Hoffmann, Bernardo Houssay, and Miguel de Unamuno being mentioned in a newspaper article about the IBGM makes us feel important somehow.

April 28, 2016 - cis-7-Hexadecenoic acid, an unusual isomer of palmitoleic acid with marked anti-inflammatory activity, coming soon to your local library! P.S. We seem to be good at finding unusual fatty acids.

May 5, 2016 - Beautiful account of the history of arachidonic acid in the Journal of Lipid Research. Impressive fact: the correct structure of the fatty acid was first published in 1940 by Ida Smedley-Maclean and co-workers while German bombs were ravaging London during World War II.

May 24, 2016 - Back from the 7th International Conference on Phospholipase A2 and Lipid Mediators held in our second home, sunny La Jolla. Great to meet so many companions from the big old days, and to learn that they are all doing very well; David, Ray, Wenhong, Yasu, Suzanne, Tina, Michelle, Lisa, Leigh... plus many others from different periods of the Dennis lab, older and younger, that we met for the first time. Uncle Paul was also around. Conference group photo here.

May 27, 2016 - Studies on the involvement of cytosolic group IVA phospholipase A2 in adipocyte differentiation and obesity coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid research library!

May 31, 2016 - These lyrics, taken from an old song by rock and roll legends Leño, remind us so much of those glamour research centers built in Madrid that, in truth, amount to no more than a big fatuous demonstration of sheer opportunism: "uncontrolled times have come, let's take advantage of them before they're gone; give one and take ten, it is a bargain..."

June 15, 2016 - "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” (Confucius, Chinese philosopher). Summer 2016 group meeting schedule here.

June 17, 2016 - No more sitting by the sideline afraid of getting it wrong; if you wait, the only thing that happens is that you get older. The E2 section of the Eicosanoid Research Division here (sans Javi, there is always someone missing).

June 23, 2016 - Directorial Quotation #25: "When a fool walks along a road and the road ends, the fool keeps on walking” (Juan Carlos Monedero, Spanish political scientist).

June 24, 2016 - Our recent paper in Cell Chemical Biology dealing with cis-7-hexadecenoic acid is highlighted by the Editors in the section In This Issue and discussed in detail in Previews. Ah, and the paper is also selected as a Free Feature Article and can be accessed directly from the journal's home page. The journey seems to start well.

June 29, 2016 - Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going, and the eight installment of our CIBERDEM story can be found here.

July 6, 2016 - You may call him Bobby, you may call him Zimmy, you may call him as you wish, but it is fair to acknowledge that the University of Valladolid is treating us quite well in recent times. Noblesse oblige.

July 9, 2016 - As is the case every time we visit Bilbao, great lipidomic times and so much else. Plus, it did not rain.

July 11, 2016 - Congratulations to Gema Lordén for an outstanding and highly successful defense of her PhD thesis, titled "Regulation of NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation by Lipin-2 in Macrophages."

July 12, 2016 - Directorial Quotation #26: "The worst part of ingratitude is that it always wants to be right" (Jacinto Benavente, Spanish playwright, Nobel Laureate in Literature 1922).

July 13, 2016 - Another DQ for free: "I have seen many priests in their preaching despise money and its temptations, but in the end, when they smell that a rich man is about to die and hear his money starting to tinkle, for who has to take it they begin to quarrel" (Juan Ruiz, Archpriest of Hita, medieval Castilian poet).

August 10, 2016 - Is it possible to get everything done on time without ever being in a hurry? Success or failure is ultimately your own responsibility, so make the necessary adjustments to what you do or how you do it, and do not shy away from advice. Giving up is not an option.

August 24, 2016 - Click chemistry strategies using alkyne analogues of fatty acids has proven to be useful to identify cellular components that physically interact with such fatty acids. However, whether cells use these synthetic fatty acids in the same manner as their naturally occurring counterparts remains to be fully established. In this regard, recent data suggest that caution should be exercised when using ω-alkynyl arachidonic acid as a surrogate for the study of cellular arachidonic acid metabolism.

August 30, 2016 - Lipid signaling, enzymes and mediators of inflammation, an emotional journey through forty-plus years of phospholipase A2 research.

September 9, 2016 - The LipidWeb blog mentions our recent Cell Chem. Biol. paper on cis-7-hexadecenoic acid, a fatty acid "that is often ignored, overlooked or misidentified by analysts." It can't be said better.

September 13, 2016 - "You could sequence 150,000 people with cancer and it's not going to cure anyone. The solution is good chemistry. We have a world of cancer biologists trained to think genes, but they don't think chemistry at all." (James Watson, American biochemist, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 1962). Fall 2016 group meeting schedule here.

September 16, 2016 - After overcoming that final hurdle called oral defense, all that remains is to take a deep sigh of relief before joy and celebration.

September 17, 2016 - A fine end to an enjoyable JLR minireview by Robin Irvine on the history of inositol lipids: "... if there is one lesson for us all, it is that almost all of the discoveries described above were made with no clear aim or practical endpoint other than the uncovering of knowledge. How many of the studies described above would be funded now? No matter how many times we tell those who try to direct science that much of it cannot be directed, they don’t seem to listen."

September 29, 2016 - Once more aided by friendly winds, the eicosanoid ship cruises through brave waters on its course to novel lipids, lipases and signaling pathways. Love it when our hard-fought grant money comes along.

October 4, 2016 - Directorial Quotation #27: "The only truth is psychological warfare" (Monosabius, Roman legionnaire).

October 13, 2016 - While this blog is primarily concerned with scientific stuff, much of its content is genuinely inspired by the spirit of rock and roll. Bob Dylan in particular is a big influence. And, since we do not work on molecular machines or autophagy, all our congratulations to Bob Dylan on winning the Nobel Prize in Literature 2016.

October 14, 2016 - When you only have a few bullets, wasting them shooting at ghosts in the dark does not seem to be the wisest thing to do. Funnily enough, not many people in the neighborhood realize this.

November 4, 2016 - Back from Brazil, where we visited the University of Sao Paulo at Ribeirão Preto, and attended the Brazilian Society of Immunology meeting, held at Campos do Jordão. A lot of moments to cherish and remember.

November 11, 2016 - Just within a matter of weeks, two of our brightest students, Gema Lordén and Carlos Guijas, have left the eicosanoid building. Coincidentally, both have taken the very wise decision to move to La Jolla for postdoctoral training. We wish them well.

November 12, 2016 - Yet another name change for the Ministry we depend on. This time a minor change, but a change after all: Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Competitiveness. The best part is the acronym: MEICOMP. MINECO sounded funny, but the new one tops the list.

November 17, 2016 - A key role for lipin-2 in regulating interleukin 1b production via activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid library!

November 23, 2016 - Directorial Quotation #28: "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in" (Leonard Cohen, Canadian poet and songwriter).

November 24, 2016 - Random thoughts about selfies and French authors. Self-criticism is not motivational; self-compassion is, for self-compassion helps develop emotional resilience. A little self-doubt is normal and sometimes desirable to avoid self-confidence but, as André Maurois noted, nothing is so discouraging to subordinates as a chief who hesitates. Firmness, said Napoleon Bonaparte, prevails in all things.

December 1, 2016 - Titanium disks, calcium phosphate, wound healings, the sound they make is not muzak to our ears. We must have learned something in all those years.

December 12, 2016 - An old saying that seems quite appropriate for a day like today: better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt. On a separate but related note, Charles Barkley, always an endless fount of wisdom, said once that he always laughed when people asked him about rebounding techniques: "I've got a technique. It's called just go get the damn ball." Not so nice to know there are no charlesbarkleys around.

December 16, 2016 - A few years ago, Brown and Murphy suggested that the difficulties in reproducing quantitative lipidomic data could be indicative that the population of lipids within cells is very dynamic, and that cells can sustain critical reactions with many different lipid compositions rather than a single composition. If we speculate a bit further, maybe it is that when the different lipid classes and subclasses interact to form a biological membrane, not all concentrations of each species are possible or permitted. Quantum states of the lipid matter? Quantum lipidomics has a nice ring to it.

December 17, 2016 - Faithful to their annual rendezvous with the School of Medicine, storks start to gather in increasingly large numbers on the roofs of tall buildings around our beloved institute. Time for us to update a few reports, research activities and grant support history.

News