November 22, 2017 - Old conventional wisdom uses to say that sapienic
acid is a very abundant fatty acid of human sebum, skin and nails.
Given our recent editorial experiences with this fatty acid, one
could say as well that there may be much of it also in blood, sweat
and tears. By the way, sapienic acid is also present at significant
levels in phagocytic cells; go to your favorite eicosanoid
library to check it out!
November 21, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #37: "A muleteer told
me that you do not have to get there first, you just have to know how to
get there.” (José Alfredo Jiménez, Mexican king songwriter).
November 20, 2017 - Back from Brazil, where we attended the 11th
International Congress of Pharmaceutical Sciences, held at
São Paulo state. As usual, we enjoyed the warm brazilian hospitality
at its best.
November 7, 2017 - What is better to science, the paradox or the
prejudice? If we ignore the fool on the hill who counts the falling
tears that fall before his eyes, we must conclude that it has to be
October 31, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #36: "It is better to
be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not”
(André Gide, Nobel Laureate in Literature 1947)
October 25, 2017 - The Annual Meeting of the Spanish Biochemical
Society is being held these days in Barcelona in association with
the French and Portuguese societies. Surrounded by one hundred and
fifty-five rumors of agitation, lipins
enjoyed their fair share of exposure
October 13, 2017 - Yes, we all know that Magneto was mad, the
Titanium Man too, and the Crimson Dynamo just couldn't cut it no
more, but the most obnoxious of the trio is by far, the man in the
middle. The only man, the fool of a man in the middle.
October 11, 2017 - Amidst the blowing of increasingly stronger
scipol winds, we have learned that according to the IUPAC, 'cholesteryl
ester' is wrong. It should be 'cholesterol ester'. The term
cholesteryl should be used when referring to particular species
only, e.g. cholesteryl hexadecenoate, cholesteryl palmitoleate,
cholesteryl sapienate, etc. Thanks to the Lipid Web for that one.
September 28, 2017 - What is science policy? You ask me while
you rivet into my pupil your pupil of blue. Science policy? And
you're asking me? Science policy... it is not you, it is to forge out
laws furtively in hidden rooms (with thanks to Gustavo Adolfo for
September 25, 2017 - "It is a pleasure to be able to quote lines
to fit any occasion" (Abraham Lincoln, President of the U.S.). Fall 2017 group meeting schedule
September 20, 2017 - An unexpected role for ethanolamine
plasmalogen hydrolysis in lipopolysaccharide priming of macrophages
for enhanced arachidonic acid mobilization, coming soon to your
local eicosanoid library (a.k.a
Publications, there on the left hand side menu). By the way,
this is going to be our first paper in an Open Access journal.
September 14, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #35: "There is
no harm in repeating a good thing" (Plato, Greek philosopher).
It also works the
other way around.
September 8, 2017 - We just learned of the death of H. Alex
Brown from the Sep issue of ASBMB Today. We met Alex in the 90's
when, finished his postdoc, he came to San Diego for a job
interview. Alex Brown was one of the most recognizable names in
phospholipase D research, a stagnant field not so long ago that he
helped revitalize with his chemical biology approaches. He also did
a lot of glycerophospholipid analysis by mass spectrometry, and we
read his papers with true devotion. Sadly, there will be no more
September 5, 2017 - Wikipedia defines illusory superiority as a
cognitive bias whereby a person overestimates his or her own
qualities and abilities in relation to the same qualities and
abilities of other persons. A rather frequent demeanor in the
neighborhood, the real problem
with it is that we all end up
losing. Ignoring this problem does nothing more than make it worse.
August 7, 2017 - This cartoon
was published around 2010, when the economic crisis threatened to
wipe out our beloved institution. Today, more than seven years after
and despite so many promises, there is still the impression that we will be
stuck in the three still for a long time to come.
August 1, 2017 - Does the treatment of titanium surfaces with
argon plasma improve its performance? Does it
change macrophage activation properties? And, more importantly, what
does this have to do with lipid signaling and metabolism in
inflammation? Time might tell.
July 25, 2017 - As a follow up on the topic discussed in the June
23 entry, looking over the WoS journal list for the field of
Immunology, we have noticed that some influential journals such as
the Journal of Leukocyte Biology or the European Journal of
Immunology are, and have been for a while, in Q2. The Journal of
Immunology is not, but it is getting closer. No one can say it
better than Blasa: Oh Lord, take me with You soon!
July 11, 2017 - Another quotation from that endless
well of wisdom
called Charles Barkley comes in very handy to describe recent
events: "You got to believe in yourself. Hell, I believe I'm the
best-looking guy in the world and I might be right." Still no
July 6, 2017 - In JLR Papers in Press there is an interesting
Kuefner et al. showing that restoring the group IIA
gene to C57BL/6 mice, which do not express this gene naturally due
to a frameshift mutation, protects the animals from obesity. The
effect is thought to be due to activation of mitochondrial uncoupling in brown adipose tissue. New
roles for an old enzyme.
July 5, 2017 - Another year,
another CIBERDEM Annual
Report. Things could get bad, things could get worse, we guess you
will know the tune.
June 29, 2017 - Another one from Aristotle that describes very
well our latest conundrum: "Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas"
(Plato is my friend, but truth is a greater friend). Dangerous people
those who intend to free us from things we do not want to be freed
June 27, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #34: "What is common to
many is least taken care of, for all men have greater regard for
what is their own than what they possess in common with others"
(Aristotle, Greek philosopher).
June 23, 2017 - It was only a matter of time, how the mighty
have fallen! The JBC has dropped to Q2. There it joins other
illustrious journals which had fallen down the precipice years before:
Biochemistry, Biochemical Journal or FEBS Journal. The immediate
consequence for us is that the journal that for years has been
the journal, the leading exponent of the best lipid science, is
another one to be avoided from now on. Otherwise our research would
fall out of the scope of that ethereal but undetermined concept
called 'stairway to excellence'. Most definitely, something is
rotten in the state of science.
June 13, 2017 - “If you cannot, in the long run, tell everyone
what you have been doing, your doing has been worthless" (Erwin
Schrödinger, Austrian physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics 1933).
Summer 2017 group meeting schedule
June 10, 2017 - The Merriam Webster dictionary defines double
talk as the language that appears to be earnest and meaningful but
in fact is a mixture of sense and nonsense. In other words, people
saying nothing with the largest number of words. Double talk is a
very frequent occurrence at those board meetings that, luckily, we
do not have to attend very often.
June 8, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #33: "You will do the
greatest service to your people if you raise not the roofs of the
houses, but the souls of the citizens" (Epictetus, Greek
May 31, 2017 - Is there a word to describe that feeling of being
surrounded by people who take it for granted that it is your job to
do everything in exchange for nothing? Maybe something like
May 24, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #32: "You have enemies?
Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your
life" (Attributed to Winston Churchill, British politician).
May 12, 2017 - To pick a topic in an evolving area that sets
one’s research apart from the crowd, JBC Papers in Press, William
May 10, 2017 - A recent article in
Nature states that "in Spain, the sexenio evaluation (a salary
increase based on productivity) depends heavily on rankings derived
from journal impact factors." True, and so many other toxic things
too. Interesting article nevertheless, but likely, completely
inconsequential. Still for years to come, reviewing panels will
continue adding up three
decimal impact factor figures.
May 4, 2017 - Never too late to do well. One year waiting for
the Explora awarding thing until it finally came out today. Now, there are some
very nice things we can do with money that we think was heaven
April 28, 2017 -
Emotional stability is not to be
shaken and stirred. Resentment, frustration or desperation cloud
one's mind and make it difficult to prepare an effective response.
Aggressive attitudes are almost always counterproductive. Little by
little, everything changes.
April 27, 2017 - In JBC Papers in Press there is a report
describing the involvement of group VIB phospholipase A2
in releasing oxidized fatty acyl chains from cardiolipin. The paper
explicitly acknowledges (and supports by appropriate citation) that
the selective inhibitor bromoenol lactone has many off-target
effects. Coming from where it comes, this is really a nice first.
April 25, 2017 - In science, sometimes it is not about making
the right decision, but just making a decision at all. We cannot
always make the right decision, but we can make every decision
count. By corollary, no objective decisions can be made without some
understanding of how science really works.
April 12, 2017 - Sometimes "compliance with the communication
and advertising rules, and future controls and audits", leads to
somewhat ludicrous situations, such as having to post
announcements of dubious interest "at
visible places of our department, laboratory or unit." Life goes on.
April 3, 2017 - A fine summary of our recent work on lipin-2 and... uhmm, inflammasomopathies, can be found
here in the context of the pathogenesis of autoinflammatory bone
April 2, 2017 - Update on former ERD grad students. Our
expatriates in California, Gema, Carlos and Martín, support the
theory that healthy eating habits of
Spanish inspiration contribute to greater impact factor expectancy.
March 30, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #31: "What we believe to
be the motives of our conduct are usually but the pretexts for it"
(Miguel de Unamuno, Spanish writer and philosopher).
March 29, 2017 - Back from the 4th Madrid Meeting on Dendritic
Cells and Macrophages. Fun as usual plus that nice feeling you get
when you surround yourself with top Princess scientists... Pics
March 23, 2017 - “The best way to have a good idea is to have a
lot of ideas” (Linus Pauling, American biochemist, Nobel Laureate in
Chemistry 1954 and
Peace 1962). Spring 2017 group meeting schedule
March 22, 2017 - It is the same old uninspiring questions which
you find discussed by newcomers to arid morning meetings,
which you find talked lazily about by old timers to unresponsive staff. What
is to be done? The only solution that can be found is what you know
about changing things so everything can stay the same.
March 11, 2017 - The problem with placing sentiments as the main
criterion for moral judgement is that sentimental reasons and
reasoned thoughts are seldom like Forrest and Jenny, that is, peas
March 7, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #30: "All truths are easy
to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover
them" (Galileo Galilei, Italian polymath).
March 1, 2017 - Sciadonic acid (20:3n-6; Δ5,11,14) and
juniperonic acid (20:4n-3; Δ5,11,14,17) are fatty acids from the
plant kingdom. Because humans lack Δ8 desaturases, sciadonic acid
and juniperonic acid cannot be converted directly to arachidonic
acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, respectively. However, by combining
with elongation reactions, human cells can
make linolenic acid from sciadonic acid, and
acid from juniperonic acid. This is somewhat reminiscent of the
strategy the cells follow to make
7-hexadecenoic acid from palmitic acid.
February 22, 2017 - Trying to find innovative ideas to regain
that first place lost by crumbling support and lack of
motivation? The road is only one. Money makes the world go round,
and the scientific enterprise is no exception.
February 20, 2017 - Meet the ERD mascot,
Felisa the rat. The rat that squeals
and squeals is a weekender, shameless rat, and reckless at the same
time, which *strives* against the living rockage.
February 15, 2017 - Palmitvaccenic acid or cis-11-hexadecenoic
acid (16:1n-5), another isomer of palmitoleic acid, is quite
abundant in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, to the point that its
detection in plant roots has been regarded as an indicator of fungal
contamination. Virtually nothing is known about palmitvaccenic acid in
mammalian cells, yet we have detected it at low levels in human
macrophages. For quick reference, here
is our very nice fatty acid list.
February 10, 2017 - The proteins of the lipin family are
phosphatidate phosphatase enzymes required for glycerolipid
biosynthesis. How lipins work and what they do in an innate immunity
context is the research subject of the E2
family of scientists at the ERD.
February 8, 2017 - Anything can be done when the drive, the
passion and, most of all, the support are there. The 2017 Eicosanoid
Research Division Group Picture here.
February 7, 2017 - Sometimes, cells arrange themselves to
simulate unexpected shapes; others, a helping hand is used to create
the structure of an inflammasome from
lipin-2-EGFP-stained cells, plus some DAPI blue. This time we did
not make it, but we will keep trying.
January 27, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #29 "Pain is temporary,
quitting lasts forever" (Lance Armstrong, American pretender).
January 24, 2017 - Ain't no bad lipids in the heart of the city,
ain't no bad lipids in the heart of town... Talking about
lipins in Majorca island is sure nuff
January 20, 2017 - Several interpretations have been made to the
Francisco de Goya's etching called "The
Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters." At some point of an
intellectual effort, a man seems to have been overcome by fatigue,
and so fell asleep. Then, creatures of the night appear and surround
him... perhaps threatening him or coming to his aid? We bet the
January 17, 2017 - Michael Eskin's
lipid rap back again in this section: cholesterol, cholesterol
gets the bad attention, without you there would be no lipid
digestion... nor that nice purple color in our test tube...
January 13, 2017 - It is habitual that politicians visit things
during election campaigns. But, when not in campaign, what would be
the use for these visits? Inquiring minds want to know.
January 4, 2017 - In September last year,
Tabas and colleagues published a study in Nature Communications suggesting that an
imbalance between omega-6-derived pro-resolving mediators and
omega-6-derived leukotrienes is a causal factor of instability of
atherosclerotic plaques. This paper provides a new angle of insight
to a seemingly never ending but most stimulating controversy, and is
the one we have selected as Paper of the
January 3, 2017 - "Doing an experiment is not more important than
writing." (Edwin Boring, American psychologist).
Winter 2017 group meeting schedule