The ISTT journey: from Barcelona to Guangzhou, now it is time for China! The TT2013 meeting

The ISTT journey: from Barcelona to Guangzhou, now it is time for China! The TT2013 meeting
The ISTT journey: from Barcelona to Guangzhou, now it is time for China! The TT2013 meeting

The International Society for Transgenic Technologies (ISTT) was founded shortly after the Transgenic Technology (TT) meeting in Barcelona (TT2005). Since then, the ISTT family has been fortunate to visit several countries, every ~18 months. In 2007 we went to Brisbane (TT2007). In 2008, we visited Toronto (TT2008). In 2010 we returned to Europe and held the TT2010 meeting in Berlin. For 2011 we visited the USA for the first time, and organized the TT2011 meeting in St Pete Beach (Florida). And, now, the next TT meeting (TT2013) is planned for China, in Guangzhou. This has been one of our aims and challenges, since the foundation of the ISTT, namely, holding a TT meeting in Asia, in China. Now it has become a reality. The 11th Transgenic Technology meeting (TT2013) will be held in Guangzhou (China), on 25-27 February 2013, organized by Prof. Ming Zhao (Chair) (Southern Medical University, Guangzhou) and his Organizing and Advisory Committees, immediately after celebrating the Chinese New Year of the Snake. More than 30 speakers have confirmed their participation, to discuss about ES cells, iPS cells, targeted nucleases (ZFNs and TALENs), cryopreservation and reproduction techniques, running a transgenic facility, mouse genetics, epigenetics, ethics and animal welfare, transgenesis in other vertebrates, animal models of disease, etc… among many other interesting topics. At the TT2013 meeting, the ISTT will award the 9th ISTT Prize for outstanding contributions to transgenic technologies to Prof. Allan Bradley, Director Emeritus of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WTSI), in Hinxton (UK), and leader of the Mouse Genomics Team at WTSI.

In addition, a 3-day hands-on practical workshop (28 February-2 March 2013) will be offered in Guangzhou after the TT2013 meeting, addressing basic microinjection techniques, piezo injection, laser-assisted application, non-surgical implantation, mouse colony management and other interesting topics. This workshop is organized by Wenhao Xu (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA), Chair, Ming Zhao (Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China), Jing An (Cancer Institute, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China) and Liangping Li (Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China).

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear the latest advances in animal transgenic by world experts! Time is going fast and first deadlines (15 October 2012), for registering at reduced fees, for submitting abstracts, for applying for ISTT registration awards and for nominating candidates for ISTT Young Investigator awards are rapidly approaching.

See you all in China!

Structural and Functional Concepts in Current Mouse Phenotyping and Archiving Facilities

Structural and Functional Concepts in Current Mouse Phenotyping and Archiving Facilities
Structural and Functional Concepts in Current Mouse Phenotyping and Archiving Facilities

Anyone interested in building, modifying or renewing an animal (mouse) facility, with the aim of using it eventually for archiving (cryopreservation) and/or phenotyping purposes might find interesting reading the following article, which we prepared through the execution of the European Project INFRAFRONTIER.

Structural and Functional Concepts in Current Mouse Phenotyping and Archiving Facilities. Kollmus, Heike; Post, Rainer; Brielmeier, Markus; Fernández, Julia; Fuchs, Helmut; McKerlie, Colin; Montoliu, Lluis; Otaegui, Pedro J.; Rebelo, Manuel; Riedesel, Hermann; Ruberte, Jesús; Sedlacek, Radislav; de Angelis, Martin Hrabé; Schughart, Klaus . Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, Volume 51, Number 4, July 2012 , pp. 418-435(18).

Abstract from JAALAS journal web page:

Collecting and analyzing available information on the building plans, concepts, and workflow from existing animal facilities is an essential prerequisite for most centers that are planning and designing the construction of a new animal experimental research unit. Here, we have collected and analyzed such information in the context of the European project Infrafrontier, which aims to develop a common European infrastructure for high-throughput systemic phenotyping, archiving, and dissemination of mouse models. A team of experts visited 9 research facilities and 3 commercial breeders in Europe, Canada, the United States, and Singapore. During the visits, detailed data of each facility were collected and subsequently represented in standardized floor plans and descriptive tables. These data showed that because the local needs of scientists and their projects, property issues, and national and regional laws require very specific solutions, a common strategy for the construction of such facilities does not exist. However, several basic concepts were apparent that can be described by standardized floor plans showing the principle functional units and their interconnection. Here, we provide detailed information of how individual facilities addressed their specific needs by using different concepts of connecting the principle units. Our analysis likely will be valuable to research centers that are planning to design new mouse phenotyping and archiving facilities.

ENCODE: The hidden part of our genome has been revealed

ENCODE: understanding how the genome works

The last issue of Nature (Vol. 489, Nr. 7414, 6 September 2012) includes the publication of a series of scientific articles from the ENCODE project, a major international collaborative effort started 10 years ago with the aim of understanding how genomes work and, in particular, how the human genome works. The published papers released today include additional manuscripts (up to 30 articles in 3 journals, all publicly accessible) from an impressive list of institutions and scientists that have worked, coordinately, and successfully, for this second big revision of the human genome, describing and deciphering the role and function of most of the DNA elements usually found between the genes, in the intergenic regions, which are rich in DNA regulatory elements that are fundamental for the correct expression of genes. As stated in Nature’s comment by Ewan Birney (EBI, Hinxton), the lead ENCODE analysis coordinator, the ENCODE project has built over the past 5 years “an encyclopaedia of functional DNA elements to be used as a reference for the scientific community“. Reading E. Birney’s comment is also an excellent manner to understand the complexities of the ENCODE project and how they managed to establish a structure and procedures to make such a large consortium a successful collaborative achievement.

The generation of transgenic animals with simple DNA constructs often results in suboptimal transgene expression. We also know that using genomic-type constructs (i.e. BACs or YACs) normally guarantees optimal transgene expression, because their larger size allows the inclusion of all/most DNA regulatory elements that are required for the correct expression of the gene/transgene of interest. ENCODE’s results list all these DNA regulatory elements. Whether enhancers, silencers, insulators, boundaries, repressors, binding sites for nuclear/transcription factors, etc… all these different types of DNA elements usually found in intergenic regions occupy most of our genome and, until recent years, had received less attention that the more famous coding regions. ENCODE’s results demonstrate the functional relevance of all these regulatory elements, often leading to human diseases when altered or mutated, and ultimately also explains why is so important to include them all, as many as possible, in our transgenic constructs, if we aim for optimal transgene expression, in order to recapitulate the expression pattern of the endogenous locus.

The release of ENCODE’s results represents a phenomenal advance in our understanding of the human genome and, likewise, provides the basis for the comprehension of other similar mammalian genomes, such as the mouse genome, as the animal experimental model commonly used in functional genetic analyses by other big consortia, aiming to define the function of mouse genes (and, hence, ours) by systematic knockout (IKMC) and phenotypic (IPMC) analyses.

The ENCODE project has primarily been funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute at the US National Institutes of Health.

Hands-on workshop on microinjection techniques in Lisbon

Hands-on workshop on microinjection techniques in Lisbon, 30-31 Ocotber 2012
Hands-on workshop on microinjection techniques in Lisbon, 30-31 Ocotber 2012

The Champalimaud Foundation & Eppendorf are organizing a workshop on microinjection techniques. This 2 day course will be held in Fundação Champalimaud (Portugal) on 30 and 31st October 2012. This program is designed for individuals interested in improving skills and acquiring new insights on micromanipulation/microinjection techniques in mice.

This is a hands on course that will count with the practical instruction of Eppendorf professionals and with the special participation of Nuno Costa (IVI Barcelona) and Moisés Mallo (IGC, Oeiras). The course will consist of lectures and laboratory practices. Participants must have basic experience working with mouse embryos.

Course Agenda: The. course will be held on October 30 and 31st from 09.00AM – 18.30PM.
500 Euro Registration Fee (includes course material, coffee-breaks, Lunches and workshop dinner on Tuesday)

– Pronuclear microinjection
– ES cell injection
– Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
– Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT)

Lecturers: Nuno Costa, IVI Barcelona and Moises Mallo, Instituto Gulbenkian da Ciencia, Oeiras

Download workshop flyer and the registration form. Deadline for application: October 12, 2012

Maximum number of participants: 8

For more informations please contact:

For registration , please complete the form attached and send it to