The Blog

Fabrica Vitae and Vesalius Continuum in the New York Times

The upcoming Vesalius Continuum and Fabrica Vitae exhibit, which starts next week Sept 4-8, were mentioned today in the New York Times science section.

You may find the article here.



CRISPR-Cas9 for Genome Engineering

We recently worked with Patrick Hsu and Feng Zhang on images for their paper “Development and Applications of CRISPR-Cas9 for Genome Engineering“, which was published in Cell on June 5th, 2014. This new technology holds a lot of promised for modifying and editing genomes. Originally this system was discovered in bacteria and the engineered CRISPR-Cas9 system can be programmed to target specific parts of the genetic code. The Cas9 enzyme can be matched with a RNA guide that attaches to DNA targets. Thousands of such guide RNA sequences have already been generated and the CRISPR-Cas9 system can be used to target multiple genes at the same time.

One of the figures we created was an overview of genomic engineering applications. The CRISPR-Cas9 system has the potential to revolutionize genome editing and all current applications. It offers an unmatched degree of precisions and open up new doors for development of new therapeutic tools for genetic diseases.


Fabrica-Vitae exhibition throughout Europe

Sigrid will be participating in the touring exhibition about the fabric of life inspired by Andreas Vesalius. This exhibit will start with the AEIMS conference in Greece in September 2014 and travel throughout five different locations within Europe, amongst them the Museum of Medical History at the Charite, Berlin.

Three of the art pieces focus on human anatomy/pathology and the fourth one on biological implications of the mutation of LARGE on the entry of the Lassa virus into the cell. We’re very excited to be part of this phenomenal exhibit.

For more information, please visit:



Cholera cover for Science Translational Medicine, July 2013

We created a new cover for Science Translational Medicine on resisting an ancient scourge: Cholera.

Cholera is an ancient disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. This bacterium invades the small intestine where it produces a toxin that induces secretion of water and chloride, potassium and sodium ions into the gut lumen resulting in severe diarrhea and dehydration that is often fatal. Cholera remains endemic in many parts of the developing world, including the Ganges River Delta. A genome-wide association study of a population in Bangladesh living in a cholera-endemic area reveals positive selective pressure on genes encoding potassium channels involved in chloride secretion and components of the innate immune system. These findings shed light on the pathogenesis of cholera and identify factors that might increase resistance to cholera infection (Karlsson et al.)

Background photo: mslightbox/istockphoto


EDAR Cover in Cell, February 2013

We’re proud to announce a new cover in Cell on February 14th, 2013 on modeling human evolution in mice.

Based on genome-wide screens for adaptive alleles that arose during recent human evolution, Kamberov et al. (pp. 691–702) introduce into mice a variant of the human Ectodysplasin receptor, which originated in central China 30,000 years ago and leads to a single amino acid change. The mice exhibit altered hair thickness and mammary and sweat gland morphology, and these effects mirror differences observed in people according to their Ectodysplasin receptor genotype. A companion paper by Grossman et al. (pp. 703–713) presents a compendium of hundreds of potential adaptive variants as revealed from the analysis of data from the 1000 Genomes Project, providing a roadmap for understanding human biological history and modern day variability.

In order to visually translate this model, we used human footprints that merge into mouse footprints as they run across a map of Asia. Human chromosomes make up the background.