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 Ribeirão Preto, 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 the former.

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 the inspiration).

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 here.

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 coming.

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 charlesbarkleys around.

July 6, 2017 - In JLR Papers in Press there is an interesting paper by Kuefner et al. showing that restoring the group IIA phospholipase A2 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 from.

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 here.

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 philosopher).

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 this.

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 Dowhan's Reflections.

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 sent.

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 (iPLA2g) 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 disorders.

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 here and here.

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 here.

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 and carrots.

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 b-oxidation with elongation reactions, human cells can make linolenic acid from sciadonic acid, and a-linolenic 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 no pity.

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 former.

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 Year 2016.

January 3, 2017 - "Doing an experiment is not more important than writing." (Edwin Boring, American psychologist). Winter 2017 group meeting schedule here.     .

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